Renan Lodi: How the Brazilian will intensify Nottingham Forest’s dynamic style – scout report
Renan Lodi has just been announced as Nottingham Forest’s 18th signing of the summer, and if his loan move becomes permanent, it will be the most expensive signing of the lot, excluding add-ons. Lodi comes in as the highest profile transfer for the newly promoted club, who have had a busy summer after gaining promotion to the Premier League by winning the EFL Championship play-offs. The 24-year-old Brazilian has already won the La Liga with Atletico Madrid, and his winning experience will help elevate standards around the club and push Forest up the table.
The potentially £30 million pound man played a key role in Brazil’s 2021 Copa America campaign, where they suffered defeat to Argentina in the final, although he has recently not been called up for non-sporting related reasons. With the World Cup coming up, Renan Lodi will be hoping to get regular game time in order to prove to Tite, the Brazil manager, why he deserves a starting spot on the national side.
This tactical analysis will come in the form of a scout report to show how Renan Lodi will slot in this Nottingham Forest team. The analysis will highlight the skills Lodi possesses to make him so strong both technically and physically and how he can shine for Forest. The Brazilian wing-back has some limitations, but the analysis will display how the right tactics can limit these weaknesses.
The first thought that springs to mind when you watch Renan Lodi play is about his dynamic play style, covering large amounts of ground over short time periods. Atletico Madrid used a 3-5-2, with Lodi playing as a left wing-back, tasked with covering the entire left-hand side of the pitch.
Lodi has plenty of running power, which makes it seem like he’s everywhere on the pitch, and always involved with the play when the ball is on his side. This heat map below shows how the distance between both boxes is dark red, which proves Lodi is always moving up and down the wing, with occasional moves into both boxes to either score/prevent goals.
One of Lodi’s biggest strengths is his technical quality, which is clear to see from the off. Renan Lodi is comfortable on the ball, which enables him to help his team retain possession of the ball most of the time. The wing-back’s key strength is his ball-carrying ability, which allows him to carry the whole team up the pitch. Lodi is a powerful runner, which combined with his close control allows him to cover large amounts of ground with the ball.
Renan Lodi frequently starts counterattacks for his team by picking the ball up deep in his half and taking the ball past players into the opposition half, where he can lay it off to the attacking players, as shown in the image below.
While Renan Lodi is great at carrying the ball over long distances, he does tend to struggle when faced with a defender and without an open area into which he can sprint. Lodi doesn’t have the ability to manipulate the ball and deceive opponents, which means that he is only an effective dribbler when he has space which he can knock the ball into. This isn’t a problem when he is surrounded by players that he can combine with, although there were times for Atletico when he was isolated in wide areas, and failed to successfully dribble past his defender.
Although the Brazilian does struggle in tighter spaces, his willingness to take the defender on either side helps to make him unpredictable. A common move that Lodi uses when receiving a long diagonal ball is to knock the ball back across where the defender has come from. Defenders are usually worried about Lodi beating them on the outside, and Lodi uses the defenders sprinting momentum against them to move the ball into a central area.
From there, he can arrive in zone 14, where there are more options for Lodi to consider in comparison to if he was on the left flank. Even though this move is effective for Lodi, as seen in the image below, he still tends to shift the ball onto his left foot before releasing it, which can become predictable for defenders to play against.
Another key aspect of Lodi’s technical excellence is his quality ball control. As shown in the image below, Lodi can trap a ball from a long pass even when under pressure and is surrounded by multiple opposition players. The marauding wing-back can help with a team’s build-up by receiving a long ball to relieve a goalkeeper from opposing pressure. From that position, Lodi can combine with his teammates to evade pressure. Lodi is technically secure in possession, which helps him be very useful in the build-up phase.
Creativity from the Flank
Renan Lodi’s biggest asset is his pinpoint crossing ability whether it’s a whipped cross from deep or a carefully placed cross to a teammate. One of the key roles of a wing-back is to supply his teammates with easy goalscoring opportunities for their teammates to arrive at the end.
Lodi has the ball striking ability to put both power and precision on his deliveries, which allows him to be a creative threat from deeper positions, even when there are times when the team can’t pin a team back.
The image below shows how he can put in a pinpoint cross even when he is 40 yards or so away from goal. The cross is whipped across the face of the goal for Joao Felix to run onto and header into the back of the net.
Renan Lodi is also very good at finding his teammates when he is in more common crossing opportunities. He understands the runs his teammates will make, and can place a ball directly onto the path of the on-running teammates. Pictured below, Lodi carefully fizzes the ball across the six-yard box, for Correa to run onto a finish into an empty net.
While Lodi’s deliveries are excellent, he hasn’t shown much creativity in terms of passing inside or looking for other open teammates. In that sense, Lodi is quite one-dimensional in attack, which may become a problem when he comes up against teams that expect balls into the box every time he receives it. Lodi’s deliveries are unstoppable, but teams can afford to mark him tighter without the fear of Lodi beating his man regularly and creating chances through that. As long as players can get to Lodi before he delivers the ball, they can nullify the threat and make life easier for the defence.
The 24-year-old is also very comfortable in being involved in intricate combination plays, with his close control and good pass selection and quality. Lodi is capable of quick one-touch passing combinations, although this wasn’t a very common event at Atletico Madrid. He is excellent at passing over short distances, although the quality to play the ball over a more extended range is nowhere near as good.
Another key strength that makes Renan Lodi a threat is his relentless off-the-ball runs combined with the pace at which he does so. Lodi, over the past few years under, Simeone has learned how and when to make specific runs, which make him a threatening offensive option. Lodi has the energy to keep making the runs, as well as the running power to regularly beat the opposing fullbacks in foot sprints.
The image below highlights an important asset, Lodi’s constant runs in behind. These runs help stretch the defensive line, both horizontally and vertically as defenders know they need to make a recovery run early if they want a chance of catching Renan. In the image below, the defender fails to track the runner, with Lodi getting onto the end of the pass and slotting the ball through the keeper’s legs.
Furthermore, Renan Lodi has good positional awareness and understands when to time his runs to be a threat in the opposition box. When the ball is on the far side, Lodi starts higher up the pitch, in order to be ready to get into the box and make a late run, arriving in the box unmarked. The dynamic wing-back has the sense to hold his run so that he can run onto the end of the cross and use the momentum of his run to strike the ball with more power than usual, leaving the keeper with no chance of saving the shot. Unfortunately in the image below, the cross gets over-hit, but it perfectly illustrates Lodi’s ability to hold his run, and sprint in as the cross gets lofted over the defenders.
When Lodi does receive the ball in the box, he uses his physical power to make himself a massive threat. Renan Lodi, as shown in the image below, has the ability to create separation from his defender, by stopping and then starting before unleashing a strike on goal.
Lodi’s great acceleration allows him to easily beat defenders from a standing start which is a very valuable skill. Lodi also has the ability to place shots into the corners with power to make it extremely hard for keepers to be able to stop his shots. The strike in the image below ends up in the back of the net.
Renan Lodi’s dynamic and non-stop nature does come with a few disadvantages. He is often too eager and aggressive when without the ball which leads to some defensive mistakes. Lodi tends to dive into challenges, often committing far too early which makes it easy for the opponent to beat him.
As shown in the image below, Lodi throws himself into a sliding tackle, which allows Mahrez to knock the ball to the side and avoid the challenge. This type of tackle is often unnecessary, mostly due to the fact it rarely works, and it helps speed up the opponent’s attack.
While Lodi is unreliable in defensive 1v1s, this aggressive defensive approach makes him a valuable pressing asset, with him always looking to intercept the ball before it reaches the opponent. As shown in the image below, Lodi anticipates the pass and, thanks to his running power, he can tackle his opponent as soon as the ball gets to him. Renan Lodi needs to be careful as players will begin to pretend to want the ball to feet, which will lure him in, before attacking the space behind him which he would have left because of his eagerness to jump out of position. There have been times when Lodi has mistimed the interceptions, and left holes in defence due to his poor judgement.
Lodi’s eagerness to always win the ball back also comes into play during aerial duels. This image below perfectly encapsulates what Renan Lodi is about. He sprints towards the ball, although his teammates are already jumping for the ball, which means that he has left an attacker open at the back post. However, in doing so, he has helped put off the attacker who is about to header the ball which potentially stopped a goal. Lodi will always commit to the ball, and while this enthusiasm is appreciated by fans, he needs to understand his role in the team and that it is not always his ball to win.
Renan Lodi has to improve his defensive awareness and decision-making, otherwise, he will become too much of an unreliable choice at left wing-back for any team he plays for. Perhaps this was the reason Lodi only started 25 games for Atletico Madrid in the past two seasons in the league, out of a possible 76.
At Nottingham Forest, Renan Lodi will slot in at left wing-back in their 3-4-2-1/3-4-1-2 system. Lodi will be replacing Harry Toffolo who, although has been useful for Forest, will be benched for the Brazilian. Renan Lodi’s dynamic nature will allow Forest to be able to press teams more intensely, thus giving Forest more control of games. The recent match against Spurs showed just how well Steve Cooper can set his teams up to press, and the added energy will make this even more evident.
Furthermore, Lodi will definitely attack the box more frequently than Toffolo, giving opposition teams more to think about and making it easier for Nottingham to score goals. Toffolo doesn’t have the same understanding or consistency in his runs which can make attacks down the left-hand side quite stale. This burst of energy will help match Forest’s danger that has been evident down the right side with Neco Williams.
In addition, Lodi’s crossing accuracy of 34% during his time in La Liga will be an improvement on Toffolo’s 29% crossing accuracy during his time in English football. Depending on who plays for Forest, they won’t always have an aerial threat in attack, and so those whipped crosses into space that Lodi can offer will be vital for Forest to be a threat from the flanks.
Lastly, Lodi’s excellent combination play will slot in seamlessly with the likes of Jesse Lingard, Brennan Johnson and Morgan Gibbs-White who all showed how well they can link up in their game against Tottenham.