FM Scouting: Rafael

Ah, it's that time of year again, isn't it? When we all huddle round our laptops trying to read the digital tea leaves swirling in pixelated YouTube clips. But we have a better resource available to assess guys who are little more than names, nationalities, and positions, don't we? We have Football Manager and the Sacred Database.

Welcome to my wheelhouse.

Initial Impressions

Here's our boy...

click to enlarge

At first blush he seems to be a pretty decent all-around forward -- not excellent at any one thing, but decent across the board. Good levels of fitness and determination will endear him to Benny, while yours truly likes the look of that generous flair rating combined with reasonable physical characteristics, good off the ball movement, and fair finishing.

All in all, a pretty balanced player, though he doesn't look like he's up to much when it comes to defending or leadership. But you'd hope those wouldn't be characteristics you're looking for in a 20 year old forward, right?

Consult the Coaches!

So what do the coaches at his current club think of him in the virtual world?

click to enlarge

Current ability wouldn't get him much of a look with his current top-flight Brazilian side, but he's got the potential to be a starter and a key member of the squad. As per the first impressions, he's an athletic player, but the coaches don't seem to be particularly impressed with his ability to read the game. Of course, that's probably a significant weakness for most 20 year olds without first-team experience.

A quick peak beneath the hood (to the FM Editor we go!) reveals a current/potential ability split of 107/140. That puts him firmly in MLS starter territory right now with the potential to be an All Star down the line. I know that Goff has characterized this as a minor signing, but if these ratings are at all accurate, his current ability puts him in the same territory with the likes of Pajoy, Najar, and DeLeon and his upside is higher than Pontius.

Comparison Shopping

But what about direct comparison with the guys he'll either be competing with for playing time or replacing? Here's a look at how Rafael stacks up against Santos, Salihi, and Pajoy.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Save for his inability to defend (also a weakness identified in "real life" when it comes to our other loanee Brazilian), he stacks up pretty well against Santos and Pajoy, though he's a fair shout short of Salihi's technical and tactical qualities.

The other thing the sharp-eyed amongst you might have noted from these screenshots is this dude's size. Santos is a pretty beefy forward at 6'1", 174 lbs, but Rafael is listed at 6', 185 lbs. Why is that significant? Simple. MLS is a physical league, and Rafael doesn't look like he'll be easy to push around. Couple that with a bit of flair and technical ability and this virtual first look seems promising.


A bit more poking around in the editor reveals a relatively high level of professionalism as well, which leaves me pretty optimistic in general about this signing. If the FM database researchers can be believed (and yes, I'm taking this all with a heavy dose of salt, thank you very much), Rafael will be challenging for minutes immediately and looks a pretty competent replacement for Santos with the added benefit of probably being younger/hungrier and having a higher ceiling.

He's not a poacher or a guy who's going to unlock defenses with pace, but seems to fit the mold of an Olsen forward: determined, physical, technically solid, with a splash of guile to boot.

No comments:

Post a Comment