Facundo Buonanotte’s breakthrough: Why Brighton’s young Argentinian sensation is turning heads – scout report
Brighton & Hove Albion have once again showcased their acumen in scouting and securing young talents from across the world. Their winter acquisition, teenage midfielder Facundo Buonanotte, arrived in January and has the potential to be their most thrilling prospect yet. Making the move from Rosario, Argentina’s renowned footballing hub, to the South Coast, Buonanotte adds to Brighton’s impressive roster of promising players.
In this tactical analysis in the form of a scout report, we will discover Buonanotte’s strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, in this analysis, we will compare him to Moisés Caicedo to figure out whether or not he is a suitable replacement in Brighton’s tactics.
At the age of 10, Facundo Buonanotte began his football journey in the esteemed youth academy of Rosario Central. Regarded as one of the most talented graduates from the club since Ángel Di María, Buonanotte made a move to Brighton & Hove Albion during the winter transfer window. As a key figure in the Argentina U-20 team, Buonanotte is part of an exciting squad filled with promising talents such as Alejandro Garnacho, Nicolás Palavecino, Santiago Castro, Mateo Sanabria, Maximiliano González, Valentín Barco, Brian Aguilar, Valentin Carboni, Gino Infantino, Federico Redondo, Matías Soulé, Julián Aude, and Lucas Román. His impressive performances have earned him a call-up to the Argentinian national team.
Buonanotte marked his professional debut for Rosario Central on 13th May 2022, featuring in the Copa Argentina match against Sol de Mayo. The following day, he signed his first professional contract with the club. Since joining Brighton, Buonanotte has made 13 appearances in the English Premier League. Next season, he will also get the opportunity to prove himself in the UEFA Europa League.
Buonanotte, known for his elegant left foot, has primarily been deployed on the right side of the midfield. However, his heat map indicates significant positional versatility for the young talent. Despite frequently playing in wide areas, Buonanotte himself expresses a preference for the number ’10’ role, while former youth coaches highly commend his performances in deeper positions. He thrives in a free attacking role that allows him to roam the pitch and exploit spaces. This makes him an exceptional creative playmaker, and his inclination to cut inside also makes him a remarkable roaming playmaker. Buonanotte possesses the ability to adapt effectively within different systems when required.
Buonanotte’s long-term potential could lie in the role of an advanced playmaker. This position typically involves a high volume of passes into the final third and direct creation of chances while in possession. Advanced playmakers prioritise their creative responsibilities and may contribute fewer defensive actions, such as recoveries in their own final third, as they focus on their role in orchestrating the team’s attacking play.
Buonanotte’s versatile skill set certainly lends itself to adapting to different roles, and as he continues to develop in his career, a shift to a more central position wouldn’t be unexpected. While his overall passing accuracy stands at 77.6%, it’s worth noting that he takes calculated risks with the ball, constantly looking to create opportunities. This is evident in his passing accuracy when targeting the final third, which only slightly decreases to 74.8%.
Additionally, Buonanotte demonstrates a strong ability for short and medium-range through passes, further enhancing his playmaking capabilities.
Buonanotte possesses the technical prowess, skill, and self-assurance to execute decisive passes and create goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates. His natural ability to make quick decisions in tight spaces and under pressure showcases his intelligence on the field. As an intelligent, flamboyant, and creative player, he has the knack for producing spectacular moments and making an impact in the final third like in the following example against Manchester City.
However, it is his exceptional dribbling ability that truly stands out. Despite his small stature, Buonanotte’s rapid changes of direction and remarkable balance allow him to evade challenges effortlessly. Despite not having a significant physical presence, the young player possesses the ability to shrug off defenders with ease.
Buonanotte, with his exceptional attributes such as a low centre of gravity, remarkable agility, body balance, changes of pace, and coordination, is a player who stands out on the field. He possesses excellent technical skills, mobility, acceleration, and the ability to make quick direction changes, allowing him to excel in short-dribbling situations. His repertoire also includes the clever use of body feints and tricks to deceive opponents.
His most dangerous moments occur in and around the 18-yard box, where he adds a cutting edge to his team’s attack. This has been especially valuable for Rosario Central during a challenging period when the club heavily relied on their youth academy graduates.
With an impressive average of 6.95 dribbles per 90 minutes, Buonanotte’s performance in this aspect of the game is remarkable, particularly considering his young age and the fact that he is still in the early stages of his professional career. His skills in this area have also been evident during his time at Brighton.
Buonanotte’s skills on the ball prove to be advantageous in deeper midfield positions. His excellent first touch and situational awareness make him relatively resistant to pressure, and his dribbling ability from deep positions allows him to alleviate pressure and penetrate opposition lines.
Although he is not yet a prolific goal scorer, Buonanotte managed to find the back of the net four times in 24 appearances during the first part of the league season, which is a commendable return. Playing in a team that struggled to score goals, he displayed a growing eye for goal and never hesitated to take shots from anywhere on the pitch. His left foot is particularly powerful when it comes to long-range shooting, and with improved precision, it could become a formidable weapon for him in the future.
Buonanotte’s proficiency as a striker of the ball is evident in his ability to take set pieces. Whether positioned on the right, through the centre, or on the left, he poses a constant threat to the goalkeeper with his shooting ability. Regardless of the distance from goal, Buonanotte is capable of testing the goalkeeper or finding the back of the net himself.
Buonanotte’s ability to swiftly transition from defence to attack can be a valuable asset, especially on the counterattack, where he excels with 2.69 progressive runs per 90 minutes. His speed and intelligent movement make him a significant threat in these situations. Although he may not possess blazing straight-line speed, his deceptive quickness allows him to burst beyond the striker and create goal-scoring opportunities.
Buonanotte’s ability to change pace and execute explosive stop-start movements is particularly noteworthy. Former manager and ex-Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez even drew comparisons to Lionel Messi in this aspect. While comparing any young player to Messi can create unrealistic expectations, Tevez accurately highlighted Buonanotte’s exceptional talent. It is rare to find a player of his age with such remarkable abilities.
In addition to his talent, Buonanotte also possesses a strong work ethic and relentless energy. He is known for his high pressing and ability to win the ball in advanced areas of the pitch. Although he can be somewhat unpredictable at times, he compensates with his defensive contributions.
Buonanotte is not afraid to engage in duels, and he consistently records above-average numbers of tackles won and interceptions per game. His ability to make 3.95 interceptions per 90 minutes and 6.79 recoveries, with a significant portion occurring in the opposition half, contributes to creating dangerous situations for his team. Furthermore, despite his size, Buonanotte surprisingly displays good aerial prowess.
Buonanotte’s primary role has been on the wing, but there is potential for him to transition to a more central and slightly deeper position, potentially replacing Moisés Caicedo in the long run. According to our xGold methodology, Buonanotte exhibits similarities to Caicedo in terms of playing style. While Caicedo currently outperforms Buonanotte in most aspects, it is important to note that Caicedo has more experience, is 21 years old and plays a more all-around, demanding role.
By deploying Buonanotte in a central role, his defensive and passing statistics may improve, potentially transforming him into a box-to-box midfielder capable of filling Caicedo’s shoes. In terms of offensive capabilities, Buonanotte is already displaying promising potential.
Brighton’s acquisition of Buonanotte showcases their ability to secure top-tier talents. Despite interest from other clubs, Brighton managed to secure his services early on, giving them a significant advantage. While the transfer fee may have been substantial for Rosario Central, it may pale in comparison to the potential value Buonanotte could bring in the future.
Looking ahead, Buonanotte is expected to be utilised as a central midfielder, capable of playing in advanced playmaker or box-to-box roles. It remains to be seen whether Brighton sees him as a potential replacement for Caicedo in the coming years. Regardless, Buonanotte’s development and impact on the team will be an intriguing storyline to follow.