Do you remember reading Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy for the first time? There was an impending sense of doom looming at every corner of the re-imagined universe that the late Douglas Adams created, bounded by only the out-stretched reaches of his wondrously-cheery imagination. The unassuming Arthur Dent, AKA The sandwich-maker-monkey-man from the suburbs of London, found himself haplessly flung far, far, away, where no man has gone before. The reality of the situation reared its ugly head in many anthropomorphic shapes and forms, the displeasurable face of honest-adversity looking to burst his happy-go-lucky-to-be-alive bubble.
There are parallels, I think, to the subject at hand. Honest, unassuming Wolves fans find themselves flung in a parallel dimension where are they rubbing their squinted, sleepy eyes in disbelief, as they wake up to the reports that their bid of an astronomical €25 million for an absolute out-of-the-worldlie, has been accepted.
Anderson Talisca is perhaps one of the most sought-after names in European football. The likes of Juergen Klopp’s Liverpool, and Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United have been monitoring rise the 22-year-old Brazilian from Benfica, whose signature style of play has drawn comparisons to Kaka. Our man for the task, Srijandeep, takes a look as to why, like Ham the astrochimp, the first hominid to be catapulted into orbit, you as a Wolves fan should be bouncing off the walls.
The boy’s left foot should be kept in a silo – it’s an absolute weapon. Set-piece specialist and a long shot merchant, opponents are careful to snub out any sight of goal when he’s poised with the ball at his feet. The closer he’s to the goal, the better, as Benfica manager, Rui Vitoria found out playing Talisca as a second striker for most parts of last season.
His Swiss-knife like adaptability to any of the forward roles would make him infinitely hard to peg down by rudimentary means of man-marking. Out wide, the probability of him zipping in a cross or zapping in a shot remains 50-50. The use of his uncanny physicality, standing at a height of 6’2”, has helped him be shoe-horned into most attacking templates. Left-footed, Talisca is most productive playing on the inside-right channel, where he uses his burst of acceleration to slalom past challenges with his periscopic strides.
It’s not like he materialised from a sensual samba of space dust and gravity – prior to his headline grabs with Benfica, he earned that move on the back of being arguably the most enterprising young sprout, playing for Esporte Bahia in 2014 edition of the Brasileirao.
Perhaps, his most noted appraisal would be of his mentality which he has shown, always looking to take on the responsibility of making things happen with or without the ball.
His versatility is not consolidated by his tactical understanding, but rather his technical ability. Most often he’s been facilitated with a free role behind the striker – with little defensive responsibility. His physical stature at times proves to be an impediment, as his long strides result in a loose touch when he’s running with the ball in full flight. While he has shown a glad readiness to accept defensive responsibilities, he’s been guilty of over-committing in his challenges which has earned him 4 yellow cards last season. While Talisca has scored nine goals, he has much to improve upon when it comes to keeping his head up in the final third, where he backs his own ability, despite his team-mates being in a better position to finish a chance off – just the one assist last season highlight this glaring deficiency in his game.
Blessed with pace, power, panache and persistence – Talisca seems like the perfect recruit for Wolves’ ambitious Premier League mission. He’s one of those players who likes to take the impetus upon himself, and for Wolves, could be the man who takes Premier League survival by the scruff of the neck. At 22, he needs regular football, a conducive, nurturing environment, with him being the focal point of attack – something the bright light of Liverpool and Manchester United would not guarantee, but Wolverhampton would.
There is, of course, the chance that the defensive demands and the tempo of the Premier League could prove to be a rude realisation of the reality Talisca would find himself in. However, the boy has shown enough character and happy habit to learn, in his time in Benfica, coming from the obscurity of Bahia, and then making everyone who is anyone in European football, stand up and take note. Ideally, all this potential can’t go amiss, and if this move goes through, Wolverhampton fans should fasten their seat-belts, because they are in for a ride.