After failing to land Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona have made signing an attacking midfielder their prime target and have switched their sights onto Mexico’s Hirving Lozano.
Lozano’s father revealed that Barcelona have made approaches for the PSV winger but said “there’s nothing concrete” in an interview with ESPN. “I think after the World Cup it will be clear if he stays at PSV or leaves for other teams,” he added.
Lozano, who is also linked with Everton, scored in Mexico’s shock 1-0 win against Germany in their opening Group F match, but just how good is he?
South Korea quickly identified him as Mexico’s danger man and left-back Lee Yong left two late fouls on him inside three minutes.
Perhaps his best work of the first half came inside his own penalty area. South Korea committed players forward on the counter attack and were outnumbering Mexico in their own box. A clipped cross to the back post landed at Yong’s feet, and the full back was pulling the trigger to score but, out of nowhere, Lozano appeared and threw himself in the way to deny a certain goal. He had sprinted a long way to back to produce a crucial block and save his side.
His work throughout the first half was often more industrious than eye-catching, Lozano’s play on the ball was always adventurous and precise, something at the top of Barcelona’s requirements in a player. However, the majority of his good play in the featured in fairly tame areas of the pitch.
As well as working for his teammates, Lozano showed glimpses of individual inspiration. Shortly before half time, he picked the ball up on the left wing, left three players in his wake with precise dribbling then lashed a shot well over the bar.
As the game became stretched, Lozano had a great opportunity to double the score line but blew his chance. He leapt up into the air and beautifully controlled a long ball over the top of the defence but kept his head down and tried a low, powerful shot at goal which was blocked. Had he lifted his head he would have seen that Cho Hyun-Woo was off his line and vulnerable to a lofted effort.
Under pressure he showed he can keep his head and find the right pass. Mexico turned over possession in South Korea’s half and the ball broke to Lozano. He attacked the space in front of him and laid the ball to this left and into the path of Javier Hernandez who scored his 50th goal for Mexico.
Having missed out on Griezmann, one of the brightest attacking talents around, you imagine that Barcelona will be after more than just a hard worker. Of course Lozano possesses great technical ability to supplement his tenacious play, but the Catalan club can certainly aim higher.