Bristol City opinion: Lucas Joao could add finesse to the Robins’ attack
According to Bristol Live, Bristol City have been credited with an interest in Sheffield Wednesday centre-forward Lucas Joao, with the report claiming that Robins boss Lee Johnson is looking to bolster his ranks even further ahead of the upcoming campaign.
Bristol Live understands that the Robins are one of the several clubs to be in the race to sign the 25-year-old Portuguese international, who is believed to have handed in a transfer request at Hillsborough.
It has already been quite a busy summer at Ashton Gate so far and things are expected to heat up over the next couple of weeks as the deadline in August draws closer.
Bristol City have already struck permanent deals for Chelsea loanees Tomas Kalas and Jay Dasilva, as well as goalkeeper Daniel Bentley, who has arrived from Brentford this summer.
They have also snapped up Rene Gilmartin on a free transfer from Colchester United to cover for the departure of shot-stoppers Frank Fielding and Stefan Marinovic.
To add to that, Sammie Szmodics and Tommy Rowe have also arrived on free transfers to add more depth to the midfield. The most notable transfer activity at Ashton Gate, though, continues to be the big-money sale of left-back Lloyd Kelly to Premier League outfit Bournemouth.
That, however, might change over the next few days, with towering Sheffield Wednesday centre-forward Lucas Joao reportedly on the Robins’ radar, as manager Lee Johnson looks to aims to break the top-six lock in the Championship next season.
Bristol City finished 8th in the standings this past season, with an agonising gap of just four points separating the Robins from final playoff spot holders Derby County.
However, the fans at Ashton Gate will be hoping that the new arrivals can hit the ground running next term and propel the club to a much-awaited promotion to the top-flight.
To put things into perspective, Bristol City’s interest in Lucas Joao sounds totally justified, given the lack of depth and variety in the club’s current striking options.
Famara Diedhiou topped the scoring charts at Ashton Gate the last term with 13 goals, while Andreas Weimann also chipped in with 10 goals and 5 assists operating in multiple roles in the final third.
Those returns, however, weren’t good enough to guide the Robins to a playoff spot and they would probably need to bring in a prolific striker to spearhead the attack and give themselves a better chance of securing a top-six finish.
Lucas Joao, who made his move to Hillsborough from Portuguese top-flight side Nacional back in the summer of 2015, has plied his trade in the Championship to a decent level of success over the past few seasons.
A tally of 28 goals and 13 assists in 126 appearances doesn’t look eye-watering on paper and can’t be labelled as prolific by the Championship standards but, in all honesty, the 25-year-old could add another dimension to the Robins’ attack and increase competition for places.
The 2-cap Portuguese international can be a real menace to the defenders with his imposing 6ft. 4-inch frame and supreme aerial ability, whilst he is also more than capable of contributing to the attack with his smart hold-up play.
As a matter of fact, Joao’s excellent footwork, technical abilities on the ball, slick link-up play, natural finesse and general nous of getting into the right positions inside the box could make him an upgrade on Famara Diedhiou in some aspects of the game.
He is often mischaracterized as a one-dimensional target man sort of striker due to his large frame but those who would have watched him play would probably have a better knowledge of his overall skill set as a forward.
Matty Taylor showed a lot of promise in a back-up role the last term and Bristol will need all their players upfront to fire on all cylinders next season if they are to make it to the playoffs.
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To sum it up, Lucas Joao isn’t the prolific frontman that the fans at Ashton Gate are likely to look forward to but that marginal gain of bringing him to the club this summer could help the Robins break the top-six lock next term.