Lucas Paqueta is out in Qatar alongside Bruno Guimaraes, he is a very lucky boy.
Lucas Paqueta was repeatedly linked with Newcastle United during 2022, I thought he would be the dream signing this summer gone, if Newcastle went all in and managed to sign him.
When it then emerged that Lucas Paqueta was wanting to leave Lyon AND the French club were prepared to sell him, I thought game on.
However, instead it was West Ham who paid a club record £51m (including future add-ons) to sign the Brazilian attacking midfielder.
This is what happened once he agreed to join the Hammers…
29 August – Signs for West Ham
31 August – Comes on as a sub for 23 minutes – West Ham 1 Tottenham 1
3 September – Starts – Chelsea 2 West Ham 1
8 September – Comes on as a sub for 45 minutes – West Ham 3 FCSB 1
15 September – Starts – Silkeborg 2 West Ham 3
18 September – Starts – Everton 1 West Ham 0
Then there was the international break in the final two weeks of September…
Fast forward to the present day and going into this Qatar World Cup break, West Ham are in a right mess.
Fifth bottom in the Premier League and only outside the relegation zone by a point, failing to win 11 of their 15 PL matches so far.
A lot of the attention from both media and West Ham fans has predictably been aimed at Lucas Paqueta.
Needing points on the board after losing their first three PL matches before Lucas Paqueta signed, record signing, club / team under pressure, ‘has to play’…
Let us go back just under ten months in time.
30 January – Signs for Newcastle United
8 February – Comes on as a sub for final seconds – Newcastle 3 Everton 1
13 February – Comes on as a sub for final seconds – Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 0
19 February – Comes on as a sub for final two minutes – West Ham 1 Newcastle 1
26 February – Comes on as sub for final 26 minutes – Brentford 0 Newcastle 2
5 March – Comes on as a sub for final 11 minutes – Newcastle 2 Brighton 1
10 March – Starts – Southampton 1 Newcastle 2
13 March – Starts – Chelsea 1 Newcastle 0
17 March – Starts – Everton 1 Newcastle 0
3 April – Comes on as a sub for final 31 minutes – Tottenham 5 Newcastle 1
8 April – Starts – Newcastle 1 Wolves 0
West Ham under pressure and Lucas Paqueta has / had to play?
Well, is that really true, if you have a manager who has the bottle to do the right thing longer (and shorter) term?
When Bruno Guimaraes arrived at Newcastle United for a club record £41.65m (including future add-ons), THAT is what I call real pressure, when it came to Eddie Howe and NUFC’s position at the time.
Knocked out of both domestic cups, including at home in the FA Cup to Cambridge, when Bruno signed, Newcastle looked relegation certainties after only two wins in the opening 21 Premier League matches?
So obviously Eddie Howe put his new star signing straight into the team, right? As is the case with David Moyes who two days after Lucas Paqueta signed, played him for 23 minutes in the Premier League against Tottenham and then only five days after signing started him against Chelsea.
Well, in his first month at Newcastle, Eddie played Bruno for around five minutes or so in three brief cameos off the bench, despite Newcastle’s very precarious situation. I remember very well how pundits and journalists were ridiculing Howe for not playing the club’s record signing. ‘Why pay all that money and then not play him blah blah blah’
It was actually just under six weeks, after five sub appearances, when Eddie Howe first started Bruno, an excellent first start and stunning backheel volley winning the match for NUFC.
Bruno then had to wait another month to get his first ever start at St James’ Park, some ten weeks after signing, the midfielder starring in a 1-0 win over Wolves.
Bruno Guimaraes has been superb in his time so far at Newcastle United BUT how much is that down to Eddie Howe?
Yes, Bruno had starred in Ligue 1 and already played for Brazil BUT there is still a massive leap from playing in the French league and then moving to the Premier League.
Lucas Paqueta has over 30 caps for Brazil and has more of a CV than Bruno had when arriving at Newcastle, in two seasons Paqueta scoring 21 goals for Lyon in all competitions. In comparison, Bruno Guimaraes with three goals for Lyon in over 70 appearances.
Throwing Lucas Paqueta straight into Premier League action only days after arriving, in a pressure situation. Was this really the best approach, both long-term and short-term?
If a player, especially a big money signing from abroad, gets off to a bad start in the Premier League, we have seen so often how it can potentially lead to the move being a total failure for all parties.
Back in January, Eddie Howe signed Bruno Guimaraes and had a plan, to look after him and gradually integrate him, before then unleashing him on the Premier League.
David Moyes might be wondering if he should have been watching more closely to Bruno’s story at St James’ Park…
Nothing has put me off Lucas Paqueta, I would still love him at St James’ Park.
Playing alongside his mate Bruno Guimaraes under the astute management of Eddie Howe.
However, you have to look at the two managers and what they have got out of their Brazilian superstars so far, with their respective handling of the two players. Remember as well, a perfect illustration of just what stage they were / are in their careers, certainly at international level. Whilst Bruno Guimaraes has still only got two starts for Brazil, Lucas Paqueta played in 14 of the 17 Brazil World Cup qualifiers, starting 11 of them.
Yet I think Lucas Paqueta has been incredibly lucky to be in this Qatar World Cup squad alongside his mate, Bruno Guimaraes. Certainly if this Brazil squad had been picked on recent form.
In just 23 starts for Newcastle United, Bruno Guimaraes has scored eight goals and three assists, that includes three goals and two goals in 12 starts for NUFC this season.
In contrast, it is over six months since Lucas Paqueta scored a goal in club football. Remember, Lucas Paqueta is (was!) the free scoring attacking midfielder for Lyon (and Brazil), whilst Bruno Guimaraes was the less goalscoring and less assists more defensive midfielder before arriving on Tyneside.
Expertly coached and managed by Eddie Howe, Bruno Guimaraes is smashing it for Newcastle United, both in terms of direct goal involvements and his overall performances.
As for Lucas Paqueta…well sadly I think he has been very badly managed / coached in his time so far in the Premier League.
Interesting to see now how their respective club form has affected both Bruno Guimaraes and Lucas Paqueta, when it comes to both selection for Brazil and then performance on the pitch, if they get selected…