Torino’s solid start to the season and the fact that Il Toro kept hold of Italian centre forward Andrea Bolatti this summer has meant that Lucas Boyé is currently biding his time largely on the bench at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino. However, playing second fiddle amid such fierce competition shouldn’t detract from the talents of the 21-year-old.
Boyé’s low key arrival in Italy may not have set pulses racing given his underwhelming goal scoring record in Argentina but those who had paid attention to his progression through River Plate’s youth ranks will have been less surprised when the youngster scored twelve minutes into his debut in the Coppa Italia.
Joining River’s prestigious academy at fourteen, Boyé came through idolising Colombian Radamel Falcao, who had just departed the Monumental for Porto, and in certain aspects of his game there are familiar flourishes of El Tigre. The decent burst of pace, quick feet and composed finishing were evident from a young age and alongside Sebastián Driussi, Boyé formed a formidable attack.
This young River side lifted the under-17 Club World Cup in Madrid and months later, Boyé starred again, scoring twice against USA under-20s to win the Dallas Cup. Soon after, Ramón Díaz handed El Tanque his senior River debut but the path to regular playing time was often blocked by the likes of Teo Gutiérrez and Fernando Cavenaghi.
With River well stocked for talented young forwards, Boyé was sent out on loan to Newell’s, where there were flashes of his potential but goals were still hard to come by. However, this didn’t put off Torino, who were willing to spend around €2 million on the forward.
Powerfully built and capable of playing a couple of roles in the attack, Boyé remains a raw talent that requires polishing but one that could bear tremendous fruit for Torino.
“Despite Boyé racking up appearances from the bench for Torino each time I’ve seen him I have been pretty impressed. His best natural position isn’t clear yet, though, and having Andrea Belotti in the team is possibly preventing him from featuring as a No.9, which I could see him doing a good job as.
He’s very good on the ball and, as you would expect of an Argentine forward, is a handy dribbler with good technical ability – sorry for ticking the box of a cliché. In this Toro side he has a real chance to develop further and they are an exciting team. Hopefully this season he can make as many appearances, but bump up his minutes, and add a few more goals to really push to become a regular starter – and finisher – of games.”
Many in Argentina would be excused for not knowing much about Valentín Vada given his rather unusual route to Ligue 1 football but despite this lack of familiarity, the 21-year-old is establishing himself as a consistent performer in one of Europe’s top leagues.
And that hasn’t be easy for a player, plucked from Santa Fe when just fourteen, after catching the eye of Bordeaux’s scouts while playing within their academy program, Proyecto Crecer, in the town of San Francisco. Given his age, Vada’s arrival in France from a non-EU country in 2010 was against FIFA’s laws regarding underage players and despite his Italian heritage, the young midfielder was prevented from playing competitive matches until 2013.
Once Vada did start playing however, the Argentinian was a vital part of the Bordeaux under-19 side that lifted the French Youth title and over the past 18 months has now established himself as a regular in Jocelyn Gourvennec’s first team.
A diminutive, technically gifted midfielder, Vada is a busy box-to-box presence, who loves to get forward and support the attack. Initially considered more deep-lying, there were some comparisons made to Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verrati but Vada’s eye for goal, penchant for a long range strike and desire to get in behind the striker have seen that look a little wide of the mark.
A fine right foot capable of outstanding deliveries, Vada already has a goal to his name this season with Bordeaux sitting nicely in sixth, defeat to PSG the only loss at this stage. The 21-year-old’s stock and value continue to rise and if Les Girondins secure a top four finish, expect more than a few interested glances in the direction of Vada.
“Vada is a talented player, who has grown into a regular member of the starting XI under Jocelyn Gourvennec. He started to emerge a bit in 2015-16 (two assists) but really came into his own last season (six goals and two assists) after the change in coach. He already has one goal so far this season and looks like he will be used regularly again. Bordeaux and Vada have started the season well and with no European football to concentrate on, could be surprise contenders for Champions League qualification.”