Malcom Oliveira is one of Barcelona’s newest recruits this season and adds his name to the ever-growing list of Brazilians to play at the Camp Nou. The winger packs a punch, but what will he bring to the table? Does he have what it takes to start important fixtures and can he possibly embed his name in the A-team list? Let’s find out.
It’s no secret that Malcom was expected to be Monchi’s latest addition at Roma but a turn of events landed him in the Barcelona jersey. It’s not often that players look certain to join a particular club but then move elsewhere at the last minute. That being said, Malcom is definitely not a panic buy like Ousmane Dembele was (maybe), but whether it was a planned move is difficult to say.
He featured for Bordeaux 84 times, scoring 20 goals and setting up 13 which speaks volumes about his style of play. Malcom is an out-and-out winger who likes to take daunting runs across the flanks and cut inside, much like Eden Hazard does down the left at Chelsea. That is not to compare his skillset with the humongous talent Hazard possesses, but Malcom too, has an eye for goals and has scored some absolute beauties. Take a look at his goal against Dijon in a 3-2 defeat last season, an absolute banger from miles away which proves he likes to take shots from range.
Depending on his style and Ernesto Valverde, Barcelona can make the most out of their young and dynamic winger. Primarily playing through the right, he brings the typical Brazilian flair to the setup. He may even remind some of you of another Brazilian show-stopper currently plying his trade with PSG, but he’s different and that’s another story. He likes to dribble, has an impressive stat of around three key passes per game (as of 2017/18) which is really nice for a winger, rarely gets caught offside even with such blistering pace. Most importantly he is a continuous threat even without the ball. He also has a keen interest in layoffs, something Jordi Alba would be proud of.
Some factors though, hamper his profile. Barcelona is known for seamless, accurate distribution of the ball which makes passing the most crucial asset. A passing success rate of around 80 per cent can get you anywhere but Barca, so he has to step up his passing game. He works from the flanks and his defensive contribution is not up to scratch which can soften his credentials if Valverde decides to go with 4-4-2.
Truth be told, it will be a test for Valverde to fit Malcom in his plans. With a world class set of attackers already at his disposal, the best Valverde can do is experiment with formations and rest the A-team players whenever required. Maybe that’s what Abidal and Co. were thinking all this transfer window: clear the deadwood and buy utility players for maximum performance. Arthur, Clement Lenglet, Malcom and now Arturo Vidal - Barcelona have been busy buying quality players who have the skillset to push for the top spot. It will be interesting to see how Valverde experiments with his squad.
Maybe he can build a 4-2-3-1 with Messi playing the CAM role; a 4-3-3 with Messi as false-9 and Dembele and Malcom through the wings; quintessential 4-4-2 with Malcom filling up the RM spot: the plans are endless. Maybe with such a bench, Messi can finally be given a day off. It didn’t go well the last time they did (at Levante), but things might change this time around.
With all things said, Malcom is indeed a great buy and can set the game on fire with his dazzling moves and goals. He brings goals, dribbles but most importantly a crystal-clear style of play to the team. Let’s hope he does what he’s capable of and Barca will have a future star in the making.