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Nahitan Nández 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

Nahitan Nández at Cagliari 2019/20 – scout report

Cagliari is one of the teams that have been best strengthened for Serie A 2019/20. Cagliari was saved from relegation only by three points last season, so now they want to fight for something more. Among those reinforcements is Nahitan Nández, the Uruguayan who comes from Boca Juniors. Nández is a player who can contribute in several ways to the tactics of Rolando Maran, coach of Cagliari. This is why a tactical analysis of the Uruguayan player by means of a scout report will show what he can contribute to Cagliari.

This tactical analysis will show the main characteristics of Nahitan Nández, Uruguayan player who comes to reinforce Cagliari. The next scout report will show how Nahitan Nández can fit into Cagliari’s tactical system for Serie A 2019/20. Cagliari no longer wants to fight for relegation and Nández can be a great help to improve as a team from tactics. This analysis will show precisely why Nahitan Nández is going to be an important piece in Cagliari’s scheme for next season.


Nahitan Nández began his career in Peñarol, a team from Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. There he had three very good years that catapulted him to Boca Juniors, where he became one of the most beloved players in just two seasons. His winning attitude on the pitch and his physical display in every game made Boca fans quickly make him an idol.

In addition to his great physical ability, Nández has several tactical features that can give Cagliari variants. The first thing to bear in mind for the analysis is Nández’s position on the pitch. Nández can play in several positions in midfield: external right-wing, defensive and box-to-box. In other words, Nández is a player who can contribute a lot from midfield.

In addition, Nández usually reaches a goal position thanks to his great physical capacity. Nández is a player who doesn’t find it difficult to be in an attacking position and to retreat quickly if his team loses the ball. Tactically he is a very organized player, who knows well his functions on the pitch. In addition, he has a good vision of the game. This makes it easier for him to always find a free team-mate to pass the ball to.

Finally, Nández is a player who always makes good decisions. In other words, he does what the game asks him to do. He doesn’t get complicated and he doesn’t go too far with the ball in his power. In both facets, he performs well his functions: attacking and defending. He passes the ball when he has to pass it and finishes off the goal when he has to finish off. He makes tackles when he has to make them and uses his body position very well to protect the ball. In addition, he uses the width of the pitch very well, which is very important for a midfielder.

Defensive facet

The most outstanding thing about defending for Nández is his aggressiveness. The Uruguayan is a player who stands out for being very powerful and strong in tackles. This is a great virtue, as it is a player who has only been sent off once in his career. This means that he is very effective at removing balls and that he removes them cleanly, that is, without committing a foul.

The first thing Nández has in his defensive facet is the pressure. Nández is always trying to pressure the player of the rival team that has the ball. He’s a tireless player in that sense. He also knows when to apply pressure and doesn’t leave his team mired in disorder. This is very important for defensive tactics because Nández presses, recovers the ball and returns to his position.

Nahitan Nández 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Nández presses one of the backline players of the rival team.

In addition, Nández is a very good player intercepting passes and anticipating his rivals. To intercept passes the player must be well-positioned on the pitch and try to read the play before it happens. This is something that Nánez does very well because he has very good use of time and space. His good positioning is fundamental for his ability to anticipate. Besides, that also helps him to get to the ball first ahead of his rivals.

For example, Nández has averaged 24 duels per game throughout his career. And of those 24 average duels per game, he wins 11.8. In other words, Nández wins half the duels. Why is that? It’s due to his good anticipation ability, one of his main characteristics. In addition, Nández has an average of seven recoveries per game. Of those seven recoveries on average, three are in the opposition half.

Nahitan Nández 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
One of Nández’s main virtues: to make tackles without committing a foul to recover the ball.
Nahitan Nández 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Nández pressing an opponent next to the defensive midfielder.
Nahitan Nández 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Another one of Nández’s virtues: to handle the ball in spite of having the pressure of two rival players.

Offensive facet

Nández not only stands out for his contribution to his team’s defensive tactics. The Uruguayan is also important when it comes to attacking. This makes him a box-to-box midfielder many times when he has more freedom to leave his natural position. Obviously, that will always depend on the opponent and the context of the match being played.

Nández usually reaches the goal position backing the strikers. He is always shown as an option when his team assumes an offensive tactic. His speed is a good feature when generating attacks and accompanying attacking midfielders. Although his natural position is a defensive midfielder or box-to-box, Nández is also a right midfielder.

This is demonstrated by his heat map, which shows that Nández assumes an important role in midfield. In addition, it allows him to attack a lot for the right sector and generate situations of two versus one with the full-back.

Nahitan Nández 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Taken from Wyscout.

Besides, Nández doesn’t mind taking on the role of an offensive midfielder. Many plays that ended in goals started from Nández’s feet. His good vision of the game helps him with this offensive tactical facet. Nández often carries the ball from midfield. That’s another good feature he has when he recovers the ball: handing it to a team-mate who is free or advancing several meters.

Nahitan Nández 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Nahitan Nández reaching goal position.
Nández generating depth on the right-wing.
Nahitan Nández reaching goal position as a striker on the right.

Nández in Cagliari’s tactical system

If there was one thing Cagliari needed last season, it was aggression in midfield. Cagliari assumed a tactical system of 4-3-1-2 most of the season. It didn’t work. Cagliari was a very weak team in defensive tactics. This starts with a midfield that doesn’t recover balls. The opponents penetrated very easily and skipped the pressure lines very easily.

Nahitan Nández 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Cagliari doing a formation 4-3-1-2, the most used last season.

Nández will be of great help in solving these problems. The Uruguayan player can fit perfectly into that formation 4-3-1-2 as a defensive midfielder or as an interior midfielder. With Nández in midfield, Cagliari gains aggressiveness and the presence of a strong player in that area of the pitch. In addition, the Uruguayan can give order to the team. Cagliari pressed without order and usually, the team was badly positioned on the pitch.

Nahitan Nández 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Three of Cagliari’s players pressing the wrong way. All three go to the same player and do not cover the width of the pitch well.

In addition to Nández, Cagliari was reinforced in midfield by Raidja Nainggolan, Christian Oliva and Marko Rog. For everyone to fit in, the coach could change his tactical formation and move to a 4-4-2 system. In this tactical system, Nández could position himself as a midfielder on the right, as he has done many times. Anyway, Nández is productive in any midfield position.


Cagliari was one of the weakest teams last season but now shows that they want to change that. The effort made to strengthen their squad and bring in new players has been important. The reinforcements will have to be adapted to Rolando Maran’s tactics and finish making a good preseason. The first match date will be against Brescia on August 25 at home. That is to say that there is still time to finish preparing the tactical system and the strategy of Cagliari.

Nández will be a very important player for Cagliari in the next season and this scout report wanted to prove it. Cagliari’s midfield with Nahitan Nández and Radja Nainggolan will be one of the strongest in Serie A. Nández can bring aggressiveness, physical deployment, ball recovery and attack to Cagliari. In addition, he is sure to complement himself well with Nainggolan.

It will be a matter of time before Nández moves on to an even bigger team. His youth and his characteristics as a player augur well for his future in European football. In addition, reaching Italian football in his first season in Europe will help him grow even more as a footballer. Serie A stands out for being a league where the priority is tactics and for Nahitan Nández it will be important to continue learning in that sense.

Total Football Analysis Magazine #11: July 2019 - tactical analysis tactics
Artwork by @chapulana

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