• Tom Caldwell

Is Ilaix Moriba City's next Wonderkid?

Updated: Jul 31, 2021

Ilaix Moriba is an 18-year-old wide man, currently plying his trade for Barcelona and occasionally Barcelona B, although he has been linked with a switch to the Etihad. Although some of you will be familiar with Moriba's work, this article will showcase his talents to the less familiar fan. I watched a Barça B game from last season and FBRef statistics to see what the Guinean-born playmaker is all about! So, the basics. Ilaix Moriba is 18 years old and is a creative player, typical of La Masia. He used to be at Espanyol's academy, before moving to Barça aged 7 (Seven). Moriba has been a star at the academy ever since, going 'viral' in 2018 after scoring a hattrick for Barcelona's under 18s side, him being praised by many news outlets. Ilaix is predominately a creative outlet, although his rangy figure does make his dribbling at least seem stronger, more powerful. One thing that does show his creativity is RBREF's excellent 'similar players' feature, which says that, statistically, Ilaix Moriba is similar to such players as Jude Bellingham, Barça teammate Pedri, Mason Mount and Liverpool starlet Curtis Jones. These more familiar players will show you the creative side of Ilaix, but it also features tall, powerful players such as Leon Goretzka or Marcos Llorente, showing that Ilaix is a very complete player!

Image via Sports Illustrated

Statistically, Ilaix Moriba is hugely impressive, with many of his statistical qualities being similar to City's profile of player. For example, Ilaix draws 3.74 fouls per 90, which puts him in the 99th percentile in that metric, similarly to City target Jack Grealish, the most fouled player in the Premier League in each of the past two seasons.

Another thing that sets Ilaix apart from the crowd is his progressive dribbles. In terms of progressive carries, carries, progressive carry distance, he is in at least the 85th percentile, and he completes an astonishing 86.7% of his dribbles.

In terms of pressing, the young Spaniard is a unique player too. He presses an extraordinary amount, putting him in the 98th percentile, although his presses are not often successful, him being in just the 27th percentile compared, as ever, to players in his position, but makes up for this due to his high amount of pressures attempted.

In goals, xG, assists and xA, he ranks very well, chipping in with a reasonable 0.16 goals per 90 minutes, and a very impressive 0.32 assists per 90, putting him in the 99th percentile! He also more than holds his own in npxG+xA per 90, being in the 94th percentile.

Although far from concrete yet, there is certainly potential for a switch from La Blaugrana to Manchester for Ilaix Moriba, and if so, there is plenty to be excited about for the Citizens! If you want to see more of him, you can find full match replays of Barcelona B or extended highlights on youtube.

Image via La Liga

Written by Tom Caldwell

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