Mainly playing as a left-sided centre-back, Lucumí is also capable of playing left-back in a pinch. He has been with KRC Genk for 2 seasons, where they were league winners in the 18/19 season and Belgian Cup winners in 2020; valued at around £7.2m, there don’t appear to be any transfer rumours circling for him.
Having made his competitive debut for Colombia, Lucumí has played 2 friendlies and 1 competitive game on the international stage.
Lucumí at KRC Genk
KRC Genk have mainly favoured 2 formations so far this season. They played a 4-2-3-1 45% of the time and a 4-4-2 20% of the time; playing several other formations sporadically throughout the rest of the season.
Lucumí has featured in 74% of available minutes, appearing in the starting XI of nearly every game he has played. As can be seen in his heat map below, Lucumí has played the majority of his games at left centre-back.
It would appear from his heat map that Lucumí doesn’t often venture forward; the furthest forward he seems to advance is just past the halfway line. This would make it seem that he prefers to sit back and focus on the defensive aspect of his game.
Playmaker from the back
Whilst he may not get forward often, that doesn’t mean Lucumí is not involved with build-up play for KRC Genk.
He has displayed a good range of passing for his team, with great success. He averages 44.21 simple passes per 90 minutes, with 93.7% accuracy. This doesn’t necessarily take into account the pressure he was under for these passes. It’s obviously easy to make a successful pass when passing it around the back under no pressure at all; however, a pass accuracy rate of above 90% cannot be ignored.
A large majority of Lucumí’s passes are forward passes, of which he is accurate 92.4% of the time. This would make it appear that his pass accuracy rate is not artificially inflated with passing around the back; displaying that Lucumí really does have a talent when it comes to passing.
As can be seen in the above image, Lucumí doesn’t only make short passes out from the back; he is more than capable of sending a long ball forward, with relative success as well. Lucumí attempts on average 5.09 long passes per 90 minutes, accurate to 78.7%. This is impressive in itself, however, when broken down, there are some even more impressive figures.
Lucumí’s most common types of long pass are across the pitch, and forward; of which he is accurate 84.7% and 73.2% of the time, respectively. Again, pretty successful and respectable figures. However, when we look at his long passes that are through passes, or to the opponent’s box, he is accurate 100% of the time! Admittedly, he hasn’t attempted either of these passes as much as the others; but it’s incredibly impressive and reassuring for your teammates to know that you are capable of making these sorts of passes with a very high success rate. Further to this, these 2 types of passes are arguably the most difficult to complete, especially into a crowded penalty area, and so to have a 100% accuracy rate no matter the number of attempts is very promising.
Lucumí stands at 6’1, so relatively tall, but certainly not the tallest player on the pitch. Obviously, for a defender, being good in the air is pretty much a necessity, so the question is how does Jhon fare in the air?
Well the answer, some work needs doing, if I’m honest.
He only averages 2.29 aerial duels per 90 minutes, which shows that he isn’t proactive in the heading department; and in the aerial duels that he does attempt, he is only successful 49.4% of the time.
It may be that heading isn’t really part of his game and that he is an effective defender without needing to win aerial battles; however, if he was to move to a more physical league, it may be something that he would need to focus on in training.
The most important thing for a defender is, naturally, can they defend?
From his stats, Lucumí seems to be reasonably strong defensively. It seems as though he takes more of a passive style defensively, similar to how Virgil van Dijk defends; preferring to jockey the opposition and only make a tackle when there is a high chance of him winning. This is shown in the image below, where he makes a recovery, but waits for the perfect opportunity to tackle.
He averages 6.78 defensive duels per 90 mins. This isn’t incredibly high or particularly low, it’s somewhere in the middle. The main thing is that Lucumí doesn’t lose these duels very often – only losing 33.5% of his defensive duels attempted.
Not only is he very good at winning the ball back, but he is also good at stopping opposition attacks. He averages 6.34 interceptions per 90 minutes, with 71.5% of these being interceptions of opposition passes. This ability to break up attacks is very desirable in the modern defender and can be useful in stopping teams who want to pass the ball a lot, such as Manchester City.
As shown in the image above, Lucumí has displayed his natural strength and athletic ability. He has proven that he is not a defender who can be bullied and will hold his own during physical battles.
This is obviously extremely important for a defender, the ability to win physical battles with the forwards is paramount; especially if he was up against more physical strikers in bigger leagues such a Diego Costa or Romelu Lukaku. He would certainly struggle with a move to a larger league if he did not possess this physical trait.
A rogue goal threat?
Sometimes you find defenders who seem to have an unusual knack for scoring a lot of goals, Sergio Ramos springs to mind as an example. Lucumí is not as free-scoring as Ramos by any means, however, he has popped up with a couple of goals this season, both in the league and cup competitions.
He has scored 2 goals in 29 appearances so far this season, one coming in the league and the other coming in the Champions League. As I say, he’s not a prolific scorer, but for a centre-back to get a few goals a season is never a bad trait to have.
One of the main worries for defenders is that they pick up bookings and spend half the season unable to play due to suspensions. Lucumí is certainly not one of those players, having only picked up 3 yellow cards in all 29 of his appearances in all competitions so far this season. In fact, he has only been sent off once in his whole career, at U17 level, while playing for Colombia. I think we can give him the benefit of the doubt on that one, and chalk it up to inexperience!
The fact that he is seemingly so disciplined is a great aspect of his character as a player. It means his manager and teammates can rely on him to not leave them in the lurch, a man down in an important game, and it certainly adds something to his worth to any prospective club looking at him.
To conclude, Lucumí is a strong, powerful, centre-back who is capable of defending in a very solid manner. There are some aspects of his game that may require some attention should he move to one of the more physical leagues, such as his heading ability, however, he would certainly be able to hold his own in any battles he might have.
At 21, he is still incredibly young, especially for a defender; who hit their peak much later than most positions, and so he has plenty of time to gain experience, learn and develop as a player.
With the first division experience, and having international and Champions League experience under his belt already, he would absolutely be a solid signing for most mid-table Premier League teams; even if he was to be initially used as a back-up, who would grow into the first team.
Being valued at around £7.2m, he would likely be available in the region of £10m-£15m, which is very affordable for a player of his current ability, and the potential ability that he certainly possesses.