Diego Laxalt – Scout Report
An exclusive report in Italian outlet Tutto Mercato Web claims that Liverpool are one among the several clubs that are interested in signing Genoa’s versatile winger Diego Laxalt. The 24-year old Uruguayan, who can operate as a left winger or as a left-back, has been monitored by fellow Serie A side Fiorentina and Bundesliga outfits Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund as well, according to the report.
Laxalt finished the 2016-17 campaign with a solitary goal and 4 assists from 36 Serie A appearances as Genoa finished 16th in the standings. With strong interest from bigger clubs, it is very likely that he will be on the move ahead of the upcoming season.
So, who exactly is Diego Laxalt? What has gotten Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool interested in his signature? Let’s find out.
Born on 7 February 1993, in Montevideo, Uruguay, Laxalt began his footballing career by joining the academy of local club Defensor Sporting. Having come through the youth ranks at Defensor, the left-sided midfielder broke into the first team in July 2012. Having made his debut for the club in September that year, he went on to make 15 appearances, in which he managed one goal in his first season.
In the summer of 2013, Serie A side Inter Milan came calling and a move was agreed. However, Laxalt wasn’t in the plans of then Nerazzurri manager Walter Mazzarri and as a result he was shipped out on loan to fellow Serie A side Bologna. He made a total of 15 appearances for the Rossoblu in which he found the back of the net on two occasions.
He was then sent out on a temporary spell to Empoli for the 2014-15 season, where he was having an average campaign (7 games, 1 goal). But Genoa came in and signed him up on an 18 month loan deal in January 2015, cutting his spell at Empoli short. In the second half of the campaign, Laxalt made 8 appearances for his new club, registering a single assist.
In the 2015-16 season, however, he became a first-team regular for Genoa and went on to clock a total of 36 appearances, scoring thrice and setting up 4 more, which prompted the Ligurian club to sign him on a permanent deal in July 2016. Till date, he has garnered a total of 83 appearances for Genoa, in which he has managed to score 4 goals and register 9 assists.
Laxalt has represented the Uruguayan U-20 national side in the 2013 South American Youth Championships and the FIFA U-20 World Cup also held in the same year. He made his senior debut for the Uruguay team in October 2016 and has made 3 appearances as of now.
Style of Play
A versatile operator, Laxalt can operate anywhere on the left-flank and can play through the middle as well. The Uruguayan international has heavily been used as a left winger, but can play as a left-sided full-back as well, which is something that will have peaked Liverpool’s interest in the player, considering the dearth of options in that position at their disposal.
Not the biggest in terms of physical stature, the 24-year old more than makes up for it with his speed, stamina and endurance that allows him to hare up and down the flank all day long. He possesses a strong left-foot and has the ability to play his teammates into dangerous areas from out wide. Last season, he managed a total of 36 key passes in the Serie A.
Another strong facet of Laxalt’s game is his exemplary defensive contribution. Always a willing runner for the team, the 24-year old is never shy of tracking back and is an excellent tackler too, which enables him to make crucial interventions. In the 2016/17 season, he attempted a total of 122 tackles, which is a pretty high number for someone who played most of his games as an advanced winger.
His crossing is something that needs some work. Last term, he just averaged a lowly 0.9 crosses per game, which is a pretty low number for a wide player.
What Does The Future Hold?
Laxalt has been gathering serious attention from several quarters mainly due to his versatility. Also the fact that he has just one year left on his current deal with Genoa will be an appealing factor for the suitors.
Liverpool need reinforcements on the left-flank both in advanced areas and in the full-back position. The Uruguayan international would turn out to be a smart option to have in the ranks as he would provide manager Jurgen Klopp with several options. However, they will need to act quickly in order to beat Klopp’s former team Borussia Dortmund.