Lyon have long been lauded as one of the most efficient and effective talent developers in French football. The list of French footballers who have developed at the club’s academy before going on to achieve success across European football is extensive.
The latest player off of the Lyon production line appears to be the 19-year-old right-back Malo Gusto. Although a right-back, he started out as an attacking midfielder in the youth setup, and this is evident when he is in possession of the ball.
Let’s take a look at who he is, how he plays and where he should go.
Full name: Malo Gusto
Date of birth: 19 May 2003 (age 19)
Place of birth: Décines-Charpieu, France.
Height: 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
GUSTO’S EARLY AND PERSONAL LIFE
Malo Gusto was born in Décines-Charpieu, and of Portuguese and Martiniquais decent. Gusto was a midfielder in his youth and was lured to his hometown side at Under-13 level after being spotted playing for local team Bourgoin-Jallieu.
Although encouraged by his father to play Rugby, he instead chose to play football and pursue his dream to become a professional footballer.
Not much is known about his personal life at the moment. Like many other players his age, the media exposure will tell all in due time.
PLAYING STYLE AND POSITION
Gusto embodies the modern fullback in every way possible. In an interview with Onze Mondial, when asked about his playing style he said: “Rather attacking, punchy, powerful, fast, technically adept. Those are the qualities that a modern full-back should have today”. He added: “”I am a player who likes to go forward, who makes an effort, who likes to tackle and defend too, even though I have to keep working on that. I am generous both defensively and offensively”.
He is comfortable in the attacking phase of the game and can attack down the outside to provide width in the attack. He can also play inverted to create balance and occupy the half space. Coupled with this, he is extremely capable in the defensive phase and his ability to win 1v1 duels for his side before starting the attacking transition has really stood out so far since Gusto has broken into the Lyon first-team.
Timal as he is sometimes called has not been played as a wing back, but his abilities indicates that he would thrive in that position.
STATISTICS AND WHAT IT MEANS
This pizza chart shows Malo Gusto’s data from this season so far compared to all other fullbacks who are playing in Ligue 1. The data is from Wyscout and the raw per 90 data is converted into percentile rankings by totalfootballanalysis.
So far this season, Gusto’s data has been largely excellent. He is in the 78th percentile for goal contributions and the 88th percentile for expected goal contributions. He sees a lot of the ball for Lyon and is in the 98th percentile for passes per 90. Crucially, though, he is very good in terms of using the ball when making those passes. He is in the 96th percentile for dangerous passes and the 97th percentile for progressive actions. Gusto also gets the ball into the area effectively and he is in the 95th percentile for area entries.
He has also, however, impressed in the defensive phase of the game and at the time of writing, Gusto is in the 95th percentile for defensive duels per 90, but only the 50th percentile for the % of defensive duels won, and the 80th percentile for positioning (blocks and interceptions).
- Composure in possession
- Ariel duels
- Defensive duels
A tactical look at the player shows similarities to Trent, with the physicality of Reece James and the composure of Joao Cancelo.
Please, believe the hype, Malo Gusto is a star already!
WHERE SHOULD MALO GUSTO GO?
Gusto has been linked majorly with Manchester United and recently Chelsea. With rumours emerging that he has agreed personal terms with the London club.
Besides these, Juventus, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Arsenal, Spurs, Inter and PSG have all been credited interest in the 19-year-old at some point, with every single one of them having sent scouts to watch him over the past two years.
At Chelsea, he would have to contend with Reece James and sometimes, Azpilicueta for the right wingback spot. Reece James as the starter can slot comfortably into RCB and form an amazing partnership with Gusto at RWB to good effect. However, at Manchester United, he will contend with a resurgent duo of Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Both players have improved in recent times, but in terms of natural ability, Malo Gusto will oust both players in the long term.
In my opinion, he will be best suited to a wingback role, and Chelsea manager Graham Potter who is an expert of 3 at the back formations, will get the best out of the sensational teenager.