To everyone’s surprise, Olympique de Marseille announced on Monday evening that they had reached an agreement with Granada for the transfer of Luis Suarez. The 24-year-old Colombian striker will undergo his medical examination with the Marseille club in the coming hours and sign his contract. A powerful and versatile striker, Suarez had already been tracked by OM two years ago.
For a few seconds, Olympique de Marseille supporters wondered if “El Pistolero”, one of the best strikers of the last decade, was really going to join the Marseille club. OM had just announced that they had reached an agreement for the transfer of Luis Suarez… but with the Granada club.
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The nationality of the striker who should join OM in the next few hours, after having passed his medical examination, is therefore Colombian and not Uruguayan. The Luis Suarez who is about to recruit the Marseille club is ten years younger (24 years old) than the one who made a name for himself at Ajax Amsterdam, Liverpool and FC Barcelona.
But what about his talent? Last season, with Granada, Luis Suarez scored eight goals and provided four assists in 37 league games, making him the club’s second top scorer after Jorge Molina (10 goals). Honest statistics for the striker’s second season in La Liga, but far from being those of a great goalscorer.
Villas-Boas wanted it two years ago
His best statistical season actually dates back to the 2019-2020 financial year when, on loan to Zaragoza, he scored 19 goals in the Spanish second division. The Colombian international (4 selections), then under contract with Watford, was on his third loan in three seasons. His good performances had attracted the attention of several European clubs… including OM.
André Villas-Boas, the coach at the time, had placed Luis Suarez’s name on a list of potential targets in attack, before seeing Pablo Longoria finally opt for Luis Henrique. A player ultimately unable to evolve to the position of striker. Unlike Luis Suarez, a versatile attacking player.
The 24-year-old Colombian can indeed play at the forefront of the attack but also on one side. His athletic qualities make him a good overflow player, able to pass a defender thanks to his kidney shot. It remains to be seen whether this profile will stick to the three-defender system wanted by Igor Tudor.
A margin of progress in the finish
The Croatian coach should appreciate the commitment of Luis Suarez, capable of repeating the efforts, especially in the laundry. Almost 25 years old (he will celebrate them on December 2), Suarez still has room for improvement, especially in finishing. Last year, he finished the season with a deficit in expected goals (1.46 goals scored less than expected).
In addition to a goal scored against Real Madrid, Luis Suarez has especially been talked about this season because of a completely missed penalty against Getafe on October 28 in La Liga. The striker then designated the lawn at the penalty spot to justify this miss. But in reality, the Colombian is a regular miss in this exercise. Of his eight penalties attempted in his career, Luis Suarez has only scored three. Too little for an attacker.
The Colombian also lacks experience at the top level. He has only played eight European Cup games, in the Europa League last year with Granada. More generally, Luis Suarez should occupy a second knife role within the Marseille workforce, as an understudy for Arkadiusz Milik or a left winger. Unless he makes himself indispensable by becoming a serial scorer, like his Uruguayan namesake.