Sunday, August 9, 2020

Scouting Report: Who Is Luciano Acosta, PSG and Manchester City’s Latest Target?

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Unless you’re an avid MLS follower or a Boca Juniors supporter, the name of Luciano Acosta shouldn’t ring much of a ball. Until yesterday, that is. Out of nowhere, the talented playmaker emerged as a potential PSG signing. Manchester City also entered the race to acquire him. Something that NO ONE really expected a few days ago.

That seems a bit odd, isn’t it? To see a player from MLS getting that much attention from top clubs, and basically out of nowhere. Things got out of hand so quickly, that Acosta left DC United’s training camp. He subsequentely travelled to Europe in case he needed to complete a medical in the upcoming hours. Some sources said he was PSG-bound, while others declared Manchester City were close to sign him.

The one thing that’s clear is that Acosta will leave DC United for a sum that is inferior to a $10 million. That’s quite a bargain for an attacking midfielder who’s yet to reach the 25-year-old plateau. But as stated above: there’s not a lot to know about him unless you followed him closely during the 2018 MLS season. Last year, Acosta had a breakout campaign for DC United and was quickly ticketed for a move aboard, much like Miguel Almiron – who joined Newcastle United from Atlanta United during Deadline Day.

But where – and how – does Acosta play? And is he ready to make the jump from MLS to one of Europe’s top leagues? Especially considering the kind of teams he would be joining? The scouting report will tell us everything we need to know about him.

How Does Luciano Acosta Play?

First of all, it’s fair to say Acosta never had much of a chance at Boca Juniors. He was quickly loaned to Estudiantes LP in 2015, and later to DC United in 2016 before making the move a permanent one the following year. But in his three seasons on American soil, Acosta went from being a talented playmaker to an absolutely dominant player.

Capable of playing all over the attacking third, Acosta is at his best when running at top speed against defences. He can create havoc both in the middle or through the flanks, so that versatility is a plus. However, Acosta is at his best when moving on the left wing. Acosta also possesses an accurate right foot and is no slouch when finishing plays, either. Often scoring all sorts of goals for DC United during this past few years, Acosta’s quality and intelligence in the final third quickly separated him from the rest of his MLS peers.

2018: A Star Is Born In Washington

As stated above, the 2018 season was one Acosta will never forget. Aside from the fact he got the chance to play alongside Wayne Rooney, Acosta showcased the best of his bag of tricks. He was instrumental in DC United’s impressive comeback, one that saw them go from the bottom of the standings to earning a playoff berth in only a few months.

Acosta played a huge role within that run since he finished the year with 10 goals and 17 assists – the second-highest mark in the league. He also finished seventh in the 2018 MLS MVP voting. This further evidences his importance not only on the team, but in the league as a whole. His numbers with DCU also confirm he’s been constantly on the rise: three goals and 11 assists in 2016, five goals and five assists in 2017, and 10 goals with 17 assists last term. That’s progress. And furthermore, that’s a sign that he’s ready to make the jump to a higher level.

Where would he fit better? PSG or Manchester City?

At the moment, it seems PSG lead the race to acquire Acosta; the Ligue 1 giants see the 24-year-old as a short-term replacement for Neymar, who will be out for more than two months due to injury. And while earning playing time with Les Parisiens might be tough, Acosta has enough talent to make an impact in the Ligue 1. He’s quick on the ball, has pace, and can get past defenders with ease. All those traits should make his transition easier. He could also have the chance to play a big role in the UEFA Champions League tie against Manchester United, where Les Parisiens are favoured 4/9 to go through the next round.

The Premier League might be more difficult for him, mostly because he’s only 5’3”. But Manchester City could easily loan him out elsewhere in case they sign him. The talent is there, but the playing time might not due to the abundance of attackers at the Etihad Stadium.

Final words: Acosta must leave MLS right now

There’s no other way to say it. Acosta seems ready to make the jump to a bigger, more competitive environment. And the fact that both PSG and Manchester City are after him shows just how good he’s been. But most importantly, how good he can become if he reaches his ceiling.


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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