Scout Report – Tobias Figueiredo
There have been a number of reports doing the rounds of late that Leeds United are targeting a move for Sporting CP defender Tobias Figueiredo in the January transfer window. The 23-year old is set to be made available for a transfer by the Portuguese outfit, for a fee worth £2.6million, as per reports from Portuguese outlet A Bola (h/t the Express) and the Whites are keen on getting a deal done for the player.
Figueiredo has been on the fringes of the first-team with Sporting this term and has hardly got enough playing time under his belt. With him not being in the scheme of things under manager Jorge Jesus, the club are willing to let him go and here we take a close look at who exactly Tobias Figueiredo is and what he would add to this Leeds side if they do manage to sign him in the winter.
Born in Sateu, Portugal, on 2 February 1994, Figueiredo started off his footballing journey with SC Penalva do Castelo in 2004, before joining the youth setup of Sporting CP in 2006 as a 12-year old. Having progressed rapidly through the youth ranks, the defender broke into the reserves side in 2012 and made his debut in August that year.
Figueiredo became an established member of the Sporting CP B side over the next year and was loaned out to Spanish side Ruis Deportiu in January 2014 for a six-month spell, where he once again impressed and became an undisputed starter in the team. Upon his return to Sporting, the defender was promoted to the first-team in January 2015 and he made his debut in the same month, in a 4-2 win over Rio Ave in the Portuguese Primeira Liga. He went on to make 20 first-team appearances that term and signed a new contract extension with the club until 2021.
However, he featured only 6 times the subsequent season and was loaned out to Nacional ahead of the 2016/17 campaign. He has been used sparingly in the ongoing campaign. So far this term, Figueiredo has made only 4 appearances for the senior team.
The 23-year old centre-half has represented the Portugal national team at all youth levels starting from the U-15s to the U-21s and was also a part of the Portugal U-23 side for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, where he played in all games as his team made it as far as the quarter-finals. He is yet to make a senior bow for the national team.
Style of Play
An out and out old-school centre-half, Figueiredo is known for his physical approach and style in the heart of the defence. Possessing great physical strength, he has the ability to go toe to toe with strikers and tough it out, and also possesses the awareness and concentration levels that enable him to stay alert at all times. Standing at a little over 6ft 2in tall, the 23-year old is also quite strong in the air, while at the same time being more than an able tackler on the ground.
Known to be a touch aggressive at times, he does tend to lose discipline on occasions and isn’t the best passer of the ball either. But, given his robust physicality and no-nonsense approach to defending, he could be a decent fit in the EFL Championship.
What Does the Future Hold?
It is clear that Figueiredo doesn’t have a future at Sporting and will be forced out in January, despite having more than three years left on his current contract.
While Leeds have enough firepower in their backline in the form of Pontus Jansson, Liam Cooper, on-loan youngster Matthew Pennington who they want to sign on a permanent basis and academy graduate Conor Shaughnessy, the Whites haven’t been all that convincing at the back and have often been deemed as “soft”. Amidst reports of Premier League sides circling a move for Jansson, bringing in another centre-back like Figueiredo would be a strong move by the club.
The 23-year old may not have been able to establish himself under Jorge Jesus at Sporting, but has enough potential to make an impact, if he is snapped up by the Elland Road outfit in January.