Recording more minutes than any other Paris Saint-Germain player this season, Lucas Moura has become an ever-present member of the team’s attack since Unai Emery’s arrival last summer. The increased playing time has contributed to his solid performances on the pitch. In ten league matches, the Brazilian has scored five goals, second only to Edinson Cavani.
The former São Paulo FC man’s hardworking nature has won him a lot of points with Emery, displacing the likes of new boys Jesé Rodriguez and Hatem Ben Arfa to keep his spot. While he’s made tremendous improvements in terms of his goal output, he still struggles to carry a constant threat in build-up play. This has been Lucas’ achilles heel since arriving in Paris and why many fans are largely underwhelmed by his performances. Well, that and the ridiculous bald spot behind his head that appeared at the start of the season without explanation.
Lucas is an incredible talent and was ranked by many to be in the same bracket as Neymar in terms of talent when both plied their trade in Brazil but he’s never quite lived up to those expectations at PSG and is overlooked when it comes to the national team. Meanwhile, Neymar is in Barcelona and has become one of the best players in the world for both club and country. At 24-years-old, Lucas is no longer consider a “youngster” and supporters may have to accept him for the play he is becoming rather than what he could have been.
Lucas has gradually evolved from a player who dribbled almost senselessly in his first season without any real end product to a player with more of an eye for goal. While he still needs a lot of work in this regard, Lucas has gained a lot more awareness off the ball, getting into dangerous areas in the box more frequently and his finishing has clearly improved.
Last season, Lucas recorded his best goalscoring tally of his career with 13 goals in all competitions. As it stands, the speedy winger already has more than half of that (7) and we’re not even halfway through the season yet. Lucas has been crucial to sharing the goalscoring burden left behind by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Speaking to Canal+ earlier this season, Lucas said:
My aim is to score more goals. How many? As many as possible but certainly more than last season…I got a lot of criticism because I do not score enough, so I am looking to find the net more often, to be more effective and more decisive for the team.”
While it’s normal to expect a lot more from Lucas given the promise he came to Paris with and the hefty fee paid upon his signing, his sheer determination and work-rate is admirable and deserves to be appreciated. Lucas may never become the player who can pick up the ball and tear apart a defense like Neymar, but he’s more efficient in front of goal than he’s ever been before. If he can hit double figures in both goals and assists this season it will go a long way in helping Paris Saint-Germain reach their goals.