Tymoteusz Puchacz - the 22-year-old who could be a fantastic Diego Laxalt upgrade at Celtic
This article was written by Bhoys Analytics. They cover a wide range of Celtic subjects on Twitter @BhoysAnalytics.
In this piece, a close look is taken at the left-back position and a potential Celtic signing who could represent an upgrade on Diego Laxalt and compete with Greg Taylor.
Tymoteusz Puchacz is an extremely offensive left-back that plays for Lech Poznan in the Polish top tier.
He is a 22-year-old, left-footed, 5ft 11, powerful and pacey full-back who I believe shows many similarities with former Celtic star Kieran Tierney.
Poznan currently sit 10th in Poland, so Puchacz might be looking for a bigger challenge next season. I also believe he’s well within Celtic’s budget if we went for him. If signed, I believe he would be an instant Celtic star. So, what does the data say?
At A Glance
Below are the Wyscout radars of Greg Taylor (left), Diego Laxalt (centre) and Tymoteusz Puchacz (right). This allows for a brief comparison between Celtic’s left-backs and the scouted player.
These give us a glance at the ability level of the player for their position against other players of the same position.
For Celtic, I believe a high rate of dribbles coupled with strong crossing accuracy is key for a successful full back. We can see what we have doesn’t quite fit that description, but that Puchasz does.
Puchacz also has a very high key pass count, per 90 at 0.52, which is less than Taylor (0.75) but his should be larger due to Celtic being so dominant. Puchasz showing elite-level numbers here for a less dominant side is very promising (Laxalt at 0.09 KP/90 is disastrous).
Some quick offensive data from the Polish league from Puchacz.
He is 6th in the amount of dribbles per 90 (P90), 5th in offensive duels (defined as a duel with an opponent while he has the ball), 23rd in crosses P90, 9th in progressive runs P90 and 3rd in shots P90 for full-backs in the Polish league. This just demonstrates how involved he is in attacking play.
He has a low xA (0.1) compared to such a great crossing accuracy. This in my opinion would increase in a stronger team.
Crossing is an area he mimics Kieran Tierney (this comparison will happen a lot).
He is at his most dangerous 1 v 1 where he can use his pace or trickery to get down the outside and cut a ball low and hard across the box. You can some examples below. This is all possible due to his great dribbling and ball control.
We can see on the chart below that Puchacz dribbles far more than any other Celtic player. Celtic players should do it more but Puchacz has a real talent for it.
With a drop of the shoulder, he can fake to come inside, then suddenly he’s away down the outside (sounds familiar). He is devastating 1v1 and defenders struggle to deal with his aggression.
He doesn’t just use his dribbling and close ball control offensively, he can also do it in the defensive third with back to goal. Doing this allows Poznan to break the line and start counter-attacks.
Creatively, he pushes the ball forward with passes less than the two Celtic full-backs, but with higher accuracy.
Puchacz is very competent on the ball and can spray it around with tremendous accuracy. He attempts fewer passes due to Poznan being less dominant, but if he brought that kind of accuracy to Celtic, he would be a huge improvement on what we have.
Some of his passing is a joy with his imagination and inventiveness (there’s an example below of his backheel assist v Benfica).
Due to his dominant attacking nature, the defensive side of his game can suffer. However, his pace and strength make him a very difficult player to get away from even if beaten once.
This is proven in the graphic below where only one goal has resulted from a defensive duel loss. When wide and in a defensive position we can see how difficult it is for an attacker to be dangerous.
Scouting Puchacz was an absolute joy, he’s attacking creatively and inventive on the ball. If Celtic were looking for a Kieran Tierney replacement, Puchacz is the closest thing I’ve seen that Celtic could feasibly afford.
I hope that he has been identified by the club as he is a real gem that I think fans would adore. He has so much ability already with room still to grow. It would be mad for Celtic not to try and transfer.
In my opinion, sign immediately.
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