Santa Clara have brought in right-back Nanu to strengthen their squad and add more quality to their backline. The 28-year-old joins his new Liga Portugal club on loan from parent club Porto for the remainder of the season. Prior to this, he enjoyed a loan spell with MLS outfit FC Dallas and featured regularly for the team during the 2022 season. From his time with Maritimo, the player has gained sufficient Liga Portugal experience. The Guinea-Bissau international might be surplus to requirements for Portuguese giants Porto, but he can turn out to be a key player for Santa Clara, who are amidst a relegation battle. With Nanu’s addition, Santa Clara will hope to improve their current position in Liga Portugal and attain a spot outside the drop zone. Below, we look at some stats for the player from his most recent season with FC Dallas.
Nanu played 29 matches for FC Dallas in the 2022 season of MLS. He started 11 matches and came on as a sub in 18. The above viz shows the percentile rank of the player’s stats in comparison to the other players featured as right-backs from the last MLS season. We can observe that Nanu possesses a high rank under various attacking and defending parameters like dribbles, opposition penalty area touches, defensive duels won, and aerial duels won. Another area where he has done well is in unlocking dangerous passes.
Gameplay from the right side
Nanu covers the entire right flank of the pitch as a right-back, but he can also feature as a right midfielder and winger. The two visuals above portray the player’s heat and pass maps from the last MLS season. He provided two assists while playing for FC Dallas. Looking at the passing aspect of his gameplay, Nanu passes the ball roughly 38.7 times per match with a pass completion rate of nearly 81%. He also makes 0.7 shot assists each game, which leads to chances being created. Nanu also averages 0.51 shots per match, and his xA output currently stands at 0.11 per match.
Nanu possesses certain offensive traits, which makes him a very valuable asset to the team. His tendency to attempt dribbles in the final third and midfield causes damage to the opponent. The above viz shows the player’s winger actions from MLS 2022. It can be observed that most of his intensity is on the right flank of the middle and final third, from where he attempts to dribble or delivers a deep or even short cross into the box. Currently, he attempts 3.57 dribbles per match with a 55.4% success rate. Furthermore, his tendency to take frequent crosses and his ability to deliver them successfully are also demonstrated by the 3.06 crosses he attempts per game with 33.3% accuracy.
The above viz shows the defensive territory of the 28-year-old’s right back. It indicates that Nanu is involved in defensive actions in the defensive and middle thirds. Overall, he has a win percentage of 63.2% for defensive duels and 45.5% for aerial duels per 90 minutes. He also makes interceptions inside the box as well as in his defensive third. Overall, Nanu makes 3.19 interceptions and 6.95 recoveries per match (38.5% in the opposition half). Additionally, he is capable of making high regains and counter-pressing recoveries, as shown above. Furthermore, he has contributed to six dangerous recoveries in the last MLS season.
Nanu’s role at Santa Clara
The above viz is a comparison between Nanu and Pierre Sagna. Currently, 32-year-old Pierre Sagna plays as a right-back for Santa Clara, and the team is short on options in this position as Tomas Domingos is sidelined with a long-term injury. It can be seen that Nanu has better numbers compared to Sagna in most of the stats. Notably, the Bissau-Gunean has an advantage in areas such as expected goal contribution, dribbles, opposition penalty area touches, defensive duels, aerial duels attempts, and various passing parameters.
Given his experience and versatility, Nanu will serve as a viable option for the right-back position in Santa Clara’s backline while providing serious competition for a starting role. Therefore, having Nanu join the team will be a huge boost for Jorge Simao’s side as they sit in the relegation zone, having shown fragility in the defensive department. The move to Santa Clara could also help the player personally by relaunching his career. Overall, the right-back is competent in his position and has the qualities to contribute to the team in a variety of ways.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine