Reservations behind Marcelo Djalo: Explained

23rd June 2017

As Fulham seemingly edge closer to signing CD Lugo defender Marcelo Djalo it appears that his potential signature could cause a rift between the coaching staff and scouting department at Craven Cottage.

Despite La Segunda playing a vital part in shaping some of Spain’s brightest talent, particularly within the last 5 years, including Marco Asensio among others there should certainly be some reservations around the league. Despite La Liga haemorrhaging some of it’s bigger clubs in recent years the level of Spain’s second tier hasn’t risen as high as expected and remains a league largely formed of journeymen, failed Primera players with a sprinkling of ‘B’ team academy players.

Ultimately, La Segunda and La Trecera Divisions act as experimental leagues for those clubs with clout big enough to field B & C teams in order to develop their younger players away from the settings of a plush academy playing meaningless games. The style of play tends to be slower, tactically lacking at times and often hugely physical as journeymen battle to pay their mortgage on a weekly basis.

One of Djalo’s clear weak points as that he isn’t the quickest in world and with Fulham currently playing a very high line with the two central defenders often exposed, having decent pace is going to be a box that certainly needs ticking.

As for Lugo, they finished a respectable 9th last season improving on 14th from last season. However, as a smaller provincial club from Galicia, they are more known for their outlandish kit designs than they are for their style of play. Consistently bouncing around the second and third tiers in Spain, they now seem to have found their footing in the mid-table uncertainty that every Segunda side has. The reported €800K fee would be massive for them and a club record to boot.

The final Spanish Segunda División Table in 2016/17

 

Defensively, Lugo were not the soundest club recording a grand total of 12 clean sheets from season spanning 42 games. However, Lugo did possess the league’s top scorer Joselu (no not that one) whose 23 goals somewhat saved them on a number of occasions. Interestingly enough, Djalo only played in 23 of those games, and his inclusion only coincided with 4 of the aforementioned 12 clean sheets.

As a Spanish centre-back stereotype would define that Djalo would be good on the ball with an air of grace, but his passing stats and video footage do suggest otherwise. In a Jokanovic system a ball playing centre-back has to be a priority for building through the thirds, having one that can’t pass won’t help that. What Djalo can do is anticipate what the attacker is trying to do and does possess some good traits especially in one on one duels and in the air. However, whilst being 6”3 and just 24 years old does have its advantages one of Djalo’s clear weak points as that he isn’t the quickest in world and with Fulham currently playing a very high line with the two central defenders often exposed, having decent pace is going to be a box that certainly needs ticking.

Djalo is a somewhat confusing character who was born to Guinean/Spanish parents in Barcelona, before playing for Real Madrid then Juventus (reserves) via spells at Granada B and Murcia who also play in the second tiers. Whilst that career patch seems somewhat impressive, ultimately the player in question doesn’t quite live up to the hype.

Based on league and player standard, it is quite clear to see why there could be some amount of division behind the scenes at Fulham. However, the signing of Djalo feels like it could be a project for Fulham and it wouldn’t be surprising if he ultimately ended up being sold for a tidy profit.

Listen to the Fulhamish End of Season Review

In our final podcast of 2016/17 we looked back at Fulham’s memorable season, with a small nod to what proves to be another interesting year in the Championship.

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Ben Jarman

Fulhamish contributor on the airwaves and the web. Has had work published by the Italian FA, Evening Standard & Fulham FC. Try to look at things from a different standpoint. Love Spanish football.