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Scouting Europe: Matias Soulé

Argentina’s production line has churned out a catalogue of exceptional, left-footed attacking individuals and Serie A star Matias Soulé is no exception.

On loan at Frosinone from Juventus, the precocious talent has emerged as one of the division’s most exhilarating prospects.

A return of nine goals, one of which came from a stunning free-kick in Sunday's 3-1 win over Cagliari, only skims the surface of Soulé’s enchanting abilities and the 20-year-old has been superior in a variety of metrics.

Priority for Frosinone this term is survival and Soulé’s contributions to their attack are giving the Canarini a fighting chance of preserving their Serie A status.

Soulé’s brilliance coincides with reports detailing Juventus’ precarious financial position and the Argentine wing wizard will prove a valuable asset to the Bianconeri, whether his future lies with the Turin giants or not.

As Frosinone buckle up for a pivotal period in their campaign, we examine why Newcastle United and a plethora of other European clubs are keeping tabs on Soulé in the latest edition of Scouting Europe.

Venturing into Europe

Hailing from the Argentinian coastal city of Mar del Plata, Soulé started his path into football with local outfit Kimberley at the age of six before joining Velez Sarsfield six years later; a club that’s recently produced a treasure trove of young prospects.

With an Italian citizenship, Soulé’s dual-nationality worked in his favour when Juventus came into the equation. Aged 16, the attacker rejected a professional contract offer from Velez Sarsfield in pursuit of a dream move to one of Europe’s biggest clubs and within a year, Soulé had made the natural progression from Juve’s academy into their Next Gen side.

Impressing in Serie C, Soulé enjoyed a series of inclusions in Juventus’ first-team squad under Massimiliano Allegri before making a permanent transition at the start of the 2022/23 campaign.

An injury to Juan Cuadrado saw Soulé start in a league clash away at Cremonese in January 2023, deputising in the Colombian’s wing-back role. Despite his inexperience in the position, Soulé showed great endeavour in attack and proved competent in defence, highlighting his versatility.

He has more offensive qualities. He can play as a forward, or enter the pitch as a winger. He has quality and quantity. I’m happy with how he’s developing.

Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus manager - January 2023

His first Serie A goal would follow, with Soulé used sparingly as the Old Lady stuttered to a 7th place finish in the Italian top flight.

Limited opportunities with the Bianconeri encouraged the player to explore a loan move elsewhere and in the final days of the summer transfer window, newly-promoted Frosinone swooped in.

A move 750km south to the region of Lazio was exactly what Soulé needed to accelerate his development.

A perfect fit

It can be hard for a young forward player to make an immediate impact but Eusebio Di Francesco’s high tempo attacking football has enabled Soulé to flourish.

Thrust straight into the side for a goalless draw against Udinese, Soulé made his presence felt in his second outing as Frosinone launched a stunning comeback against Sassuolo.

Trailing 2-0 in the first half, Soulé was central to the hosts’ revival. From a corner, he launched a dime of a cross into the path of Luca Mazzitelli on the edge of the penalty area, who produced a spectacular first-time volley to restore parity.

With Frosinone ahead, Soulé was inches from sealing the victory, shifting the ball onto his left foot and curling a divine effort off the woodwork.

Canarini supporters were enthused by the directness of their loanee but Soulé was just getting started.

He chalked up his first goal for the club in a 1-1 draw with Fiorentina before indulging in a three-game scoring streak, which included a superb brace against Cagliari. His individual efforts were marred by the result of that match; Frosinone squandered a 3-0 lead with 18 minutes remaining, collapsing to a 4-3 defeat.

Soulé has also scored against Genoa, Lazio and Monza to take his tally to eight for the season, establishing himself as Frosinone’s exciting orchestrator and one of Serie A’s hottest properties.

The key creator

Predominantly deployed on the right-wing which enables him to cut inside onto his preferred left foot, Soulé can intelligently combine with teammates and fashion chances off his own accord.

Aware of the frightening skill with the ball at his feet, Di Francesco encourages Soulé to drop deep and engage in build-up. Many attacking players can falter when given possession in their own half but the 20-year-old has demonstrated his press-resistant qualities; calm and collected when being hassled, the sharp control to navigate congested spaces.

If you haven’t already, check out his double sombrero flick against Fiorentina; it’s just a snippet of his brilliant improvisation.

By combining his explosive acceleration and intuitive movement, Soulé is extremely effective on transition and it has aided Frosinone’s counter-attacking threat.

But what stands out above all else is his love for taking players on.

Baring down on a defender one-on-one, Soulé will search for a route past and he’s got an abundance of tricks up his sleeve to conquer his opponent. Very rarely will you see him retreat.

No player in Europe’s top five leagues has completed more successful take-ons and his fearlessness is what makes him such a compelling watch.

Europe’s top five leagues: Successful take-ons

Matias Soulé (Frosinone)68
Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich)67
Savio (Girona)55
Jeremy Doku (Manchester City)54
Nico Williams (Athletic Club)52
Romain Del Castillo (Brest)52

*Statistics sourced via FBref.com and Opta

The drawback to his willingness to take players on is that he’s been dispossessed more than any other player in Serie A.

But without risk there is no reward and Soulé’s direct style has fashioned a glut of chances for both himself and his teammates.

He’s not your typical winger. Instead of loitering near the touchline waiting to be serviced, he will operate in the half-spaces and deliver it himself. Whether it’s a meandering run or a through ball (Soulé also ranks joint-top for successful through balls in Italy’s top flight), the youngster knows how to get his side functioning in the opposition half.

Across the big five leagues, only Ousmane Dembele and Xavi Simons have recorded more carries into the final third this term and Soulé’s inventiveness around the penalty area has benefited Frosinone’s attacking product. Some of his decision-making has let him down but that’s to be expected of a young professional still learning their trade.

The Argentine has still manufactured the most shot-creating actions of any player in Serie A and were Di Francesco’s outfit less profligate, it’s likely he’d be near the summit of the goal-creating actions tally as well.

Serie A 2023/24: Shot-creating actions

Matias Soulé (Frosinone)98
Matteo Politano (Napoli)84
Teun Koopmeiners (Atalanta)81
Albert Gudmundsson (Genoa)81
Antonio Candreva (Salernitana)77
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Napoli)76

*Statistics sourced via FBref.com and Opta

His creativity is evident with 44 key passes so far this term, showcasing his impressive vision and range with a variety of passes.

No player under the age of 21 in Europe’s top five leagues has produced more key passes, trumping a number of the world’s elite young talents and reiterating why Juventus should be rubbing their hands with glee ahead of his return.

Europe’s top five leagues (U21): Key passes

Matias Soulé (Frosinone) 47
Xavi Simons (RB Leipzig) 41
Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen)39
Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid)29
Rayan Cherki (Lyon)25

*Statistics sourced via FBref.com and Opta

If Soulé wasn’t already a statistical dream, he and Leroy Sane are the only two players in Europe’s top five leagues with 40+ dribbles completed, 40+ total shots and 40+ chances created.

It’s hard not to get carried away by the remarkable numbers he's producing.

Premier League interest

Soulé’s breakout season with Frosinone has garnered a number of potential suitors.

Newcastle United are reportedly one of several Premier League sides monitoring the 20-year-old, whose stock has soared during his stint at the Stadio Benito Stirpe.

There were even rumours emanating from Italy that Southampton were preparing to test Juventus’ resolve with an ambitious €30million for the winger.

The expectation is that Soulé will be included in Allegri’s plans next term, not least because of their need for a right-winger. Dominic Berardi was at the top of their shortlist during the summer transfer window but Juventus’ precarious financial predicament put paid to their pursuit of the Sassuolo wide man.

But after the club recorded a loss of €123.7m in the previous financial year, a substantial offer for Soulé could tempt Juventus to part ways with their prized asset.

The Old Lady have developed an unwanted record of letting young talents depart prematurely and should Soulé leave in the summer, their loss will certainly be another club’s gain.

International allegiance

Born in Argentina with an Italian bloodline, Soulé’s eligibility for two nations sparked a battle for his services.

Does he pledge his allegiance to his homeland? Or will he commit to his Italian roots?

He was prompted to make that decision sooner than he anticipated when Luciano Spalletti contacted him. Trying to persuade Soulé to commit to the Azzurri, there was the promise of a potential call-up ahead of the November international break.

But following a series of discussions with the Italian manager, Soulé declared his loyalty to La Albiceleste.

I’m waiting for Argentina, I don’t know if it will come now or later, but I’m Argentine, I was born there, and my heart always says Argentina.

Matias Soulé, November 2023

Rising through the international youth ranks with Argentina, Soulé represented his nation at U16 level before featuring in Javier Mascherano’s Under-20 squad for the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

There were murmurs of Soulé’s inclusion in Lionel Scaloni’s squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Brazil but they never materialised, with the Argentine boss sticking with his tried and trusted.

The good news for Soulé and his international prospects is that Argentina will be experiencing a changing of the guard very soon.

As much as we would love to see Lionel Messi weave his magic on the football pitch for many years to come, the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner is in the twilight of his career and a new generation of attacking talents must come to the fore.

Replacing Messi is an impossible task but the emergence of Julian Alvarez and Enzo Fernandez offers encouragement for the future, with Soulé fitting into the bracket of emerging Argentine talent.

“El cielo es el límite,” is tattooed on Soulé' left arm, which translates to 'the sky is the limit'. There's certainly no limit on the potential of this superb Serie A star.

Argentina Odds

To Win Copa America 2024 Outright - 7/4
To Win World Cup 2026 Outright - 8/1

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