After Gerard Deulofeu’s return, our second 17-18 signing is Nelson Semedo, who’s been my favorite pick for our RB spot since I sat down to analyze the available names.
We paid 30mi euros, plus variables, for this 23 year old player, who’s been playing for Benfica for the last 5 years, and has also featured for Portugal’s NT.
Semedo is a very fast and strong (for his stature) RB, who besides having a great eye for creating chances (had 12 assists last season), also is intelligent and skillful enough to combine with midfielders and attackers who are close to him.
Being 1,77cm tall, he is good enough to hold his own when facing aerial duels, especially during corners. His others defensive traits are his tackling, which he knows when and where to use; and his interceptions, where he uses both his intelligence and superior pace to beat the opponents before they can even reach the ball.
After 16-17, a season where we had NOT EVEN ONE PROPER RIGHT BACK in our squad (Roberto is a midfielder and Aleix is a winger), Semedo’s signing is great news for our club, and our future.
Not only did we not sign Bellerin, who’s been more of an obsession in resigning former catalan Masia players then trying to bring a player that could actually strenghten our team; but we’ll also have a player that will compete with Aleix for the starting RB spot, and will allow Roberto the chance to shine in our midfield, since both Rafinha and Denis Suarez have failed to do so (up until now).
Messi himself will also be happy to have Semedo around, since is calm on possession and rarely gets dispossessed. Nelson has the skills to combine in closed spaces, which is something Leo likes to do at all times, but can also overlap and make crosses and assists from very acute positions. Besides that, Semedo has been known to lay out passes for players that are invading the area, which is another thing Messi adores receiving (just ask Alba and anyone at the Bernabeu).
While paying 30+ mi for a 23 year RB who isn’t a “star” shows, once again, that our club now looks first to what the market has to offer before trying to promote Masia players (like Palencia, who’s had a great 16-17 in the B team), Semedo’s overall qualities, and his potential for growth are worth the investiment and the risk.
And even though he’s represented by Jorge Mendes, the player is the real deal. I prefer to sign Mendes’ players than to ever invest in random brazilians, like we did with Henrique, Keirrisson and Douglas (and now Paulinho, for whatever reason).
Overall, Semedo’s signing has pleased me greatly, and I’m certain we’ve signed a young and talented player that can defend well enough and is calm when under pressure; will provide more options when we are trying to create chances from the middle, but also be a threat in the final third, especially when cutting back to look for players invading the area.
Here are some videos to better understand Semedo’s qualities: