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What will Nanu bring to the FC Dallas defense?

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The Guinea-Bissau international brings a different look to the Dallas defense.

Moreirense FC v FC Porto - Liga NOS Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

FC Dallasfirst major signing of 2022 came in the form of right back, Nanu, from FC Porto in Portugal’s 1st Division, known as the Primeira Liga. Nanu was signed on loan until December 2022, where they will then have the option to make the deal permanent.

The 27-year old started out his professional career with Beira Mar, before being signed on a free deal to Maritimo’s B side in the Portuguese 2nd Division during the 2015-16 season. He quickly worked his way up to Maritimo’s A side in the Portuguese 1st Division and debuted for them in the 2017-18 season, before really making an impact in the 2018-19 season.

Nanu clearly impressed Maritimo, as he only needed two seasons to earn an impressive move to FC Porto. During his 20-21 season with FC Porto, Nanu played over 1,500 minutes, including Champions League soccer.

With that said, in this article, I will attempt to take a dive into Nanu’s statistics and determine his strengths and things to improve upon during his time with FC Dallas.

Dribbling

If there is one thing that FC Dallas fans should know about Nanu, its that he will get forward and attempt to take on opponents. This is true throughout Nanu’s career. Keep in mind that some of these statistics are both well above the average for fullbacks.

  • For his career, Nanu averages just below 5 dribbles per 90 minutes and just above 10 offensive duals per 90 minutes.
  • Nanu ranked 14th in dribbles per 90 in Primeira Liga in (20-21) for fullbacks
  • Nanu ranked 8th in offensive duals per 90 in Primeira Liga in (20-21) for fullbacks
  • Nanu also averages slightly over 2.3 progressive runs per 90, which shows that when Nanu is on the ball, he can move it forward and potentially into a dangerous area
  • His 2.3 progressive runs per 90 are also above average for fullbacks
  • Nanu ranked 8th in progressive runs per 90 in Primeira Liga (20-21) for fullbacks

Because of his dribbling ability, Nanu also draws fouls often throughout the match, with slightly over 1.4 fouls suffered per 90. However, in his 20-21 season in the Primeira Liga, Nanu ranked 47th in fouls suffered per 90 for fullbacks.

Defensive Output

  • Over his career, Nanu has typically not offered much defensively
  • However, his most recent season in the Primeira Liga and 1st season with FC Porto, Nanu ranked 14th in Interceptions per 90 and improved his defensive dual percentage up to ~58% with slightly more volume as well
  • If Nanu is going to be a successful signing for FC Dallas, he will have replicate or better this defensive output

Passing

  • Throughout his career, Nanu has attempted an above average number of crosses per 90
  • In the 20-21 Primeira Liga season, Nanu ranked 16th for fullbacks in crosses per 90
  • However, Nanu completes this crosses at a very low percentage, ~24.4% throughout his career and only ~27.9% in his 20-21 Primeira Liga season, which ranks him 51st among fullbacks
  • Over Nanu’s career, he has been about average in his completion of forward passes, but below average in his passes to the final third and to the penalty area; however, in his 20-21 season with Porto, Nanu was above average in all three of these categories
  • This is likely another area where FC Dallas are banking on getting the precise Porto version of Nanu, as opposed to the inaccurate Maritimo version
  • Nanu has only completed 67.5% of his forward passes throughout his career, however in his most recent season, Nanu ranked 30th among fullbacks in the Primeira Liga with a 70.7% forward pass accuracy, so this is an area of promise
  • For his career, Nanu has only completed 62.4% of his final third passes, however that percentage increased in his most recent season, where Nanu ranked 26th and completed 66.7% of his final third passes. So again, Nanu is showing promise based on his most recent season.
  • A similar story to his forward and final third pass accuracy, Nanu has typically been a poor passer to the penalty area with his average around 38.4%, yet in his 20-21 season (most recent), Nanu improved to a 44.2% passer to the penalty area and ranked 32nd among players in his position

Overall

Overall, I think Nanu is a good signing for FC Dallas, especially on loan given Nanu’s recent inconsistency. I would definitely expect good things from Nanu in the dribbling department but I think if Nanu can hold his defensive output and passing accuracy from last season, he could be a valuable addition to this team at right back and become a truly well-rounded player. His experience in the Primeira Liga along with Champions League soccer, should also help Nanu make the jump from league to league.

Lastly, one of the major reasons behind Nanu’s increase in passing and defensive areas came from his transfer from Maritimo to Porto, where his statistics across the board increased, so hopefully he can build off that momentum and replicate that smooth transition with FC Dallas!