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Frank Lampard transfer dilemma over £17m Brazilian defender compared to former Everton favourite

Liverpool Echo logo Liverpool Echo 07/06/2022 Chris Beesley
Udinese's Rodrigo Becao © Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images Udinese's Rodrigo Becao

Frank Lampard is on the lookout for a new centre-back this summer and Brazilian Rodrigo Becao has become the latest name for Evertonians to conjure with.

The Express cites Gazzetta dello Sport as claiming that the 26-year-old is “very popular” with Everton transfer officials with his club Udinese valuing Rodrigo at around £17million.

Owned by Giampaolo Pozzo, whose son Gino is managing director at Watford, the Serie A outfit often trade players with the Hertfordshire side – Rodrigo’s fellow Brazilian centre-back Samir made the switch to Vicarage Road in January – but the Hornets’ relegation from the Premier League obviously now makes that a less appealing prospect. Starting his career with Bahia in his home city of Salvador, Rodrigo first moved to Europe in 2018 with a season-long loan in Russia with CSKA Moscow before joining Udinese for €1.6million the following year.

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Although he’s been a regular in the Italian top flight for the past three seasons, the 6ft 3in stopper might not be a player who many Blues fans are overly familiar with though. A total of 10 bookings over the 2021/22 campaign show that Rodrigo is the kind of defender who likes to get stuck in but he’s also a leader and has worn the captain’s armband on nine occasions since February.

When using Comparisonator’s Similarity Comparison tool, West Ham United’s former Everton loan man Kurt Zouma is deemed to be the closest Premier League player in style to him with a match of 79%. While the Frenchman has subsequently hit the headlines for the wrong reasons while at the Hammers, with the furore over the online video that showed him displaying cruelty towards his pet cat, on the field, he was generally a solid presence at Goodison Park when farmed out from Chelsea in 2018/19 before returning to Stamford Bridge to play under Lampard the following season.

The only other player currently operating in the English top flight to have a match of over 50% to Rodrigo is Newcastle United’s 6ft 6in centre-back Dan Burn (52%). So just what kind of attributes does the Udinese man have in his locker?

When applying a virtual transfer to the Premier League and measuring Rodrigo against centre-backs already operating in the English top flight, his figures aren’t exactly eye-catching. Lampard has spoken about wanting his players to “enjoy the football” and as you might expect from a Brazilian, his most-impressive attribute appears to be in ball retention.

Rodrigo averages just 0.54 ball losses in his own half per 90 minutes which is second only to Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk (0.44), but perhaps surprisingly he’s way down on the charts when it comes to passing statistics and ranked at just 44 for passes (37.7), successful passes (31.83) and received passes (26.34). He makes the top 10 among his peers for defensive actions, coming in at eighth with 20.17 per game but drops to 18 th for successful defensive actions on 15.

In contrast, out-of-contract Burnley centre-back James Tarkowski, who has also been linked with a summer move to Everton, is sixth for defensive actions (21.47) – leader Mohammed Salisu of Southampton has 23.71 per game – and third for successful defensive actions (18.14), with Salisu in top spot again on 18.84. Tarkowski is also the leading performer in the Premier League for interceptions (9.22) a category in which Rodrigo would rank just 56 th with 5.06.

  • Comparisonator is a football data comparison tool from 271 professional leagues around the world which compares players and clubs by utilising over 100 different parameters. Click here for more details.
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