Lucas Ocampos: The Argentine All-Rounder Who Should Be on the Wishlist of Every Top Club

Lucas Ocampos
Lucas Ocampos ran the show against Real Betis | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

La Liga got back underway again on Thursday, with Sevilla running out 2-0 winners in their derby clash with Real Betis.

It was a vital win for Sevilla as the three points saw them move four points clear of fourth-placed Real Sociedad and within just six points of Real Madrid - having played one game more than both clubs. It was an impressive team display on their first game back, but there was one man who grabbed the headlines for his scintillating display.

Lucas Ocampos.

Lucas Ocampos
Lucas Ocampos celebrating against Betis | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

The Argentine picked up exactly where he left off before play was halted in March, scoring the opener for his side before setting up Fernando to make it 2-0.

It was yet another bright and menacing display from the 25-year-old in what is his first season at Sevilla. The hosts had the better chances in the first half, with Ocampos firing against the post from an almost obscene angle. Julen Lopetegui's side then took the lead on 56 minutes as Ocampos coolly slotted home from the penalty spot.

However, it was the winger's involvement in the second goal that was the highlight of his display. As a low corner came in just after the hour mark, Ocampos produced a deft flick to send the ball looping up into the danger area, where Fernando was on hand to provide the finishing touch it so desperately deserved.

It was a beautiful piece of skill, so much so that Graham Hunter announced on Premier Sports that it was 'the assist of the season' in La Liga. And quite frankly, it's hard to disagree.

His performance on Thursday saw him take his tally to five goals and two assists in his last five league games. Ocampos has arguably been Sevilla's best player this season (with no shortage of contenders from Diego Carlos to Sergio Reguilon and Joan Jordan), as well as one of the very best performers in the league overall.

While he may still only be in his first season in Seville, Ocampos is a player that a number of Europe's top clubs should be looking at when the transfer window opens.

Of course, it won't be a normal transfer window, with the financial impact of the coronavirus being well documented in recent months. As a result, clubs will undoubtedly be looking for alternative targets - players who could perform to a very high level, but wouldn't break the bank to bring in.

Youssef En-Nesyri
Ocampos is enjoying an excellent debut season at Sevilla | Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Ocampos has now reached a stage in his career where he is thriving, enjoying his football and would be a real asset to any team. Ocampos' ability to play in a number of different positions as well as being such a valuable player both in the attacking and defensive phases makes him crucial to Lopetegui's style of play.

While his display against Betis was all about the contributions in front of goal, what perhaps went slightly unnoticed was his constant willingness to track back and put in a number of challenges to prevent an opponent from being able to pose any kind of threat.

The 25-year-old is always thinking positively, either driving forwards with the ball stuck to his feet or playing an incisive pass to unlock a defence. Using his understanding and reading of the game, Ocampos also poses a major threat through his runs - knowing when to stay wide and when to dart in-field and latch onto the end of a cross and fire home.

Lucas Ocampos, Felipe Augusto de Almeida
Ocampos' understanding of the game makes him a constant threat | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Standing at over six feet and with a good physique, Ocampos is also dangerous from set pieces. When considering his attributes and Lopetegui's style of play, it isn't really a surprise to see him thriving. But equally, he has also announced himself on the international stage as well, grabbing two goals in his last three appearances for Argentina.

Particularly for Sevilla this season, the forward has thrived in the 4-3-3 formation, which requires the winger to support both his full-back and the striker. The former Marseille man does this to a very high standard, hence why he is enjoying such a successful season.

There aren't many players in world football like Ocampos and the likes of Manchester United - who are on the hunt for a new right-winger - Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund and many others would all greatly benefit from having a player like him in their squads.

Lucas Ocampos
Ocampos would be a very shrewd acquisition | Perez Meca/MB Media/Getty Images

Most notably, Los Blancos are said to be showing an interest in him, with reports towards the end of May claiming that Zinedine Zidane's side they are keeping a close eye on the player - who is thought to have a release clause in the region of €70m.

Speaking on Real's interest in him in May, Ocampos said in an interview with Planeta 947 (via Marca): "The other day I was discussing it with my wife, we opened the newspaper and saw that Real Madrid were looking at me, that will make anyone's chest puff out."

Ocampos' name has been around for a while now, but at 25, he has matured and developed into a player that is ready to play at the highest level - and his comments about links to Real Madrid further indicate his desire to go right to the top.

While a fee of potentially around €50m (£45m) isn't exactly cheap, Ocampos' quality and overall team contribution makes him a player that Europe's elite just simply shouldn't ignore, when the transfer window opens, particularly when most equivalent players will cost double.

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