Football Features

Squawka Scout: Why Rodrigo De Paul could become Europe’s most-wanted midfielder

By Squawka News

Published: 12:00, 28 January 2021 | Updated: 11:00, 12 March 2021

Udinese’s Rodrigo De Paul is one of the most versatile creative midfielders in European football. Watch the video at the top of the article to find out more about his strengths, weaknesses and playing style.

Since joining from Spanish side Valencia in 2016, De Paul has undeniably been the star of an Udinese team that have struggled to make an impact in Serie A.

Despite playing centrally, either in a deeper or attacking role, De Paul has most of his fun on the right flank, utilising his wonderful right foot to get Udinese into good positions.

Rodrigo De Paul: Quick facts

  • D.O.B: 24.05.1994
  • POSITION: Midfielder/ attacking midfielder
  • NATIONALITY: Argentinian

Blessed with fantastic technique, the Argentine is relentless in his ball progression. When playing in a slightly more withdrawn No.8 role, De Paul can be seen driving his team into the final third from deep, often to the right where he can whip well-executed crosses and penetrative passes into the box.

He does this both through passing and dribbling, completing the second-most take-ons in Serie A in 2020 while also ranking highly for carries into the final third and carries into the penalty area.

In the calendar year of 2020, De Paul also ranked in the top three in Serie A for chances created, Big Chances created, passes into the area and passes into the final third. He also had the highest Expected Assist value in Serie A, despite only registering six assists, perhaps a by-product of poor finishing from his teammates.

He also has a similar impact on the team when playing more advanced as a No.10, though he does use his time in that role to stay outside the opposition box, instead looking to pass to teammates. But De Paul isn’t just brilliant in possession, he also puts in a shift for his team all over the pitch when looking to get the ball back whether playing as a No.10 or No.8.

Rodrigo De Paul’s future

Understandably, some believe De Paul is beginning to outgrow a struggling Udinese side and the Argentine is being linked with a move away, to a club where he will be allowed to flourish.

One such team is Inter Milan, whom he recently faced with Udinese in Serie A. According to reports, the Nerazzurri are interested in bringing De Paul to the San Siro, and the Argentine’s former academy coach has backed him to flourish.

“I don’t have the slightest doubt about him [De Paul] either, the Nerazzurri should sign him,” Manuel Fernandez said.

“Rodrigo has always been very talented. He has confidence in his own means and has now implemented his tactical skills.

“He has earned a call-up to the Argentine national team and is a player who can play for a top club.”

But it’s not just Italian clubs. In the summer of 2020, De Paul was heavily linked with a move to Leeds and he had tweeted of his desire to move to the Yorkshire club – before deleting. Leeds are, once again, being linked to De Paul though they do face increased competition.