Rangers are closing in on the capture of 21-year-old Benfica prospect Dalcio on a season-long loan. Here’s everything you need to know about the player.
He’s not a forward
It’s been widely reported that Dalcio is a striker, though this is not the case. He is listed as an “attacker” on his Soccerway profile and as a “forward” on Wikipedia, so it’s easy to see where the confusion has come from (it’s also been suggested he’s played as a striker at youth level). However, for Benfica’s B-team last season he was largely used as a midfielder, operating in the No.8 role where he would be expected to contribute to both attack and defence.
It should certainly make Rangers fans feel better about the impending signing, seeing as he’s netted only three times in 76 games across his numerous spells with Belenenses and Benfica II. Though it’s still not a great record for a midfielder, it’s still a lot more palatable than if he were a striker.
He’s a pacy midfielder
Dalcio has a certain amount of quickness to his game and isn’t afraid to move the play forward from deep. He’s got a fair degree of skill and can beat a man, but more often than not he’ll look to find a team-mate with a pass, acting as the link-man between defence and attack without making too much happen himself in the final third (he had three assists and one goal in the league).
His total of 1085 passes was the 17th most of any player in the Segunda Liga last season, and he sat in 11th for the most passes played in the final third, so he is someone willing to take chances and move the play forward. He’s also predominately left-footed.
He has limited experience at the highest level
Those numbers are all well and good in the context of the Portuguese second tier, but how will he handle things in the Scottish top flight? He’s made only 19 appearances in the Primeira Liga in his career thus far, with just nine starts.
Compared with some of the other midfielders Rangers have chased in this window, this looks the biggest gamble. Ryan Jack and Graham Dorrans are familiar with the Scottish top flight, while Carlos Pena is a Mexican international. If Dalcio completes his deal, his pedigree would suggest he’ll be a back-up.
16 of his top flight appearances came in his first spell at Belenenses, prior to his transfer to Benfica. It does seem like the switch has halted his career momentum and Caixinha will be hoping a change of environment, and the challenge of playing abroad, helps the player realise his early potential.
Played against England in Toulon tournament
Dalcio played four of Portugal’s five games at last year’s tournament as the Portuguese under-23 side finished in third place. This included the opening group game, where they lost by a single goal to an England side boasting several Premier League stars, including Duncan Watmore and Calum Chambers, who would go on and win the tournament. The Portuguese youngsters would bounce back, winning their next three games, but it wasn’t enough to qualify for the final as group winners.