This tactical analysis of Luis Abram in the form of a scout report will look at his key traits as a player. I will provide a comparison analysis with current Galatasaray and Bologna central defenders.
Luis Abram is a 24-year-old Peruvian international centre-back. He is currently being courted by European sides, most notably Galatasaray and Bologna and clubs in La Liga. His contract with Velez Sarsfield in Argentina has an eight million euro release clause.
Abram is a left-footed defender, most comfortable at centre-back, but also able to play at left-back. The Peruvian international has 17 caps and 1 goal, scored against Brazil in a 1-0 victory last year.
Firstly, we will look at how Abram competes in 1v1 defensive situations. Abram likes to get tight and not give strikers the chance to control the ball and turn towards goal.
As the long pass comes into the striker, Abram is able to get around him and get his foot onto the ball to knock it out of the striker’s control.
The following shows his ability to set himself when dealing with an attacker running with the ball. He arranges his body early to encourage the player wide of the goal. If the attacker decides to go in the other direction, Abram has his defensive partner ready to press and challenge.
The attacker chooses to knock the ball wide and run at Abram.
Abram uses his pace, and having been set early is able to beat the striker to the ball. He sets his body well and is able to run in the direction he is already facing. This means he has not needed to alter his stance before sprinting. The striker is unable to get past Abram who is able to position his body where the striker has to run around him.
In another example, Abram is caught in a 1v1 on the edge of his own box when midfield lose possession
Abram delays the striker to allow the midfield to add pressure and positions himself well to direct attacker away from goal. Being side on to the striker he opens his body up to show him the area he wants him to move into. Doing so, he is able to keep pace and not have to turn or change direction.
He is able to get a foot to the ball and direct it away from goal where the midfielder is able to collect the ball and clear for his side.
Abram compares well with the two central defenders of Galatasaray. He currently sees more defensive duels per 90 minutes than both. The percentage won is second to Donk, although, he has far less aerial duels on average per 90 minutes.
A key role for defenders across Europe is to be able to play the ball out from the back. Tactical analysis of Abram shows he is most comfortable as a left-sided centre-back in possession. This is a role he is used to in his club side as well as in the Peruvian national team.
Above we see him bringing the ball out. He continues forwards and invites the press. The opposition are set and organised in their defensive positions. They are comfortable where they are and Abram doesn’t have a teammate in enough space and with a safe passing lane.
Abram has continued to move and comfortable in possession, looking for movement from teammates and the opposition. Independiente have remained in their positions and blocking passing lanes.
As the striker begins to press, the midfield begins to close the space for Abram to move into. The left midfielder for Velez has remained very wide opening space for the striker to drop into the gap between the defence and midfield. This brings the defender with him to create more space out wide for the Velez winger. The Independiente right midfielder has had to block the passing lane out wide and is unaware of the striker coming into the gap behind him. Velez’s central midfielder also moves towards Abram to bring the midfield out, away from the defence to create this space. Abram sees the movement and reacts quickly to make a chipped pass out wide now the winger has space to control.
At Velez, Abram has been part of a side that likes to play out of defence. He will fit into a side that use their defenders to start attacks and build possession forward. As we can see below, Abram is the seventh highest passer in his position. His teammate Brizuela has the highest accuracy percentage in the league.
Abram has benefited from being in a side intent on playing the ball out from the back. He has superior passing stats compared with the Bologna players. This would be a positive addition to Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side. In contrast, Abram has similar passing stats to the Galatasaray defenders.
Abram is strong in air and here we can see him dealing with a long high clearance from the opposition goalkeeper. The striker drops in to challenge for it and Abram pushes up with him to compete for the ball.
As much as Abram has the height and strength to win the ball in the air, it is a side of his game he will need work on. Averaging 4.37 aerial duels per game, he only has a success rate of 57.21%. As we can see below this is a lower percentage than the Bologna central defenders this season.
Luis Abram has been used in a close, man-marking style at Velez. He will get close to the opponent and give him a little time and space as possible. Below we can see Abram closing his man down. The rest of the defence too are looking to mark closely. They do not show a set organisation as a defensive unit which would be more traditional in European sides.
The issue with this tactic is, that if the ball isn’t won, the defence is not organised for the second phase. Here we see the ball played out wide. The left-back has had to come inside to cover and left the winger chasing back. As a result, there is a large amount of space for the attacker to run into on the left side of the defence.
The wide attacker is able to get to the ball first and deliver a cross. Abram has maintained his recovery run and is in a good position to defend the cross, although he has his back to the attacker he earlier tried to close down.
As the cross comes in we can see below Abram has recovered well to win and clear the ball.
The organisation of the defence at Velez is often not of the quality of those in higher European leagues. As we can see below, when a long ball forward is played by the opposition, the defence is not set well and Abram is far too deep. He is allowing the opponents to put pressure on the right-sided centre-back knowing they can get goalside of him and still be onside.
As the ball is won and headed towards goal, we can see that the striker has the opportunity to run through on goal due to the poor defensive positioning.
In the Peruvian national side, the defence is more structured and organised. This shows he is able to adapt and change his game to different tactics. We can see below and attack coming down the defences left side. The right-back has come central and Abram and the right centre back and set together.
When setting himself for turnovers, Abram is able to use his pace well to set himself up in a positive position. Being quick to react, he looks to ensure he is not chasing the attacker. The following image shows his starting position for a counter attack.
As the play progresses, Abram keeps himself in a position where he can see the ball and keep track of his man. As can be seen, he ensures the attacker can’t get behind him and out of view to make unseen attacking movements. It would be too far to run around the back of Abram, and with his body shape, he can see if the attacker speeds up to get in front of him.
Ultimately the goalkeeper doesn’t keep hold of the ball. Abram has ensured he has stayed goalside of the attacker the whole time. Furthermore, he is able to react quickly and shied the ball from the attacker. Consequently allowing the goalkeeper to recover and collect the ball.
Future for Abram
With possible higher demand for his services, Abram will need to look for a side that will help him continue his development. As a key part of the Peruvian national side defence, manager Ricardo Gareca will be keen for him to find a club that will also develop him using similar tactics. Peru is a disciplined side with strong defensive organisation and composure on the ball.
Serie A may be the more illustrious league and Abram does hold an Italian Passport. Although Galatasaray will, more often than not, provide Champions League or Europa League experience.
From this tactical analysis, we have seen Abram has higher defensive duel and passing stats than that of the Bologna players. For this reason, Abram may be a strong upgrade in those areas to the current central defenders. Bologna also appears more willing to meet the release clause, though Galatasaray have reportedly made 2 failed offers so far.
Given these points, we will see what other options become available to Abram. Though it seems certain he will continue his progression in Europe soon.