By Mike Rice.
LA Galaxy have had to be extra attentive during the recent transfer window as they are once again able to sign players from outside Major League Soccer following a transfer ban on such business last summer.
Any younger players they’ve had their eye on could potentially move to other clubs in the summer, or see a rise in their transfer fee with good performances throughout the upcoming season.
This especially applies to players in South America many of whose seasons run on the calendar year similar to MLS.
This is exactly where the Galaxy have been shopping, and an announcement from MLS insider Tom Bogert on Twitter indicated they are finalizing a deal for Lanús left-back Julián Aude. With this move, the club will look to add depth to the position as well as competition for the current starter, Raheem Edwards.
Sources: LA Galaxy finalizing a deal to sign Argentine youth international left back Julián Aude from Lanus. U22 Initiative signing
Aude, 19, highly-rated. Already made 54 apps for Lanus. Started three games for Argentina at the U20 South American championships in January. pic.twitter.com/erjJJkfacW
— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) March 10, 2023
Aude, 19, was part of a poor 2023 U20 South American Championships performance for Argentina who managed just one win from their four group games, failing to reach the knockout rounds.
Aude started three of those games before returning to his club where he has been developing into a promising full-back. As a result, he has begun to catch the eye of scouts from abroad, including those at LA Galaxy.
At such a young age we may expect Aude to have time to settle in behind Edwards, but he has shown from his opportunities in Argentina that he is a senior-level player, ready to compete for a place in the side.
What would LA Galaxy be getting if the deal is completed?
Out Of Possession
In his 2022 season with Lanús, Aude made 20 appearances across all competitions starting 13 of them. In 1,246 minutes played he was involved in 114 defensive duels, winning 65.8% of them, and making 69 interceptions. These worked out at 8.23 duels per 90 minutes and 4.98 interceptions per 90, according to Wyscout data.
Edwards, meanwhile, played 32 MLS games last season and according to his Wyscout data he averaged 9.5 defensive duels per 90 with a 59.4% success rate and 4.33 interceptions. Defensively, in these two categories, we need to consider the differences in games played as well as the systems of the two sides among other things, but they line up relatively similarly.
Positionally, Aude can tuck in and get closer to his centre backs to force play out wide, he then has good acceleration and judgement on when to push out and close down wide players.
His recoveries in the opponent’s half were 9.75 per 90 which highlights his use in more advanced areas and ability to pressure higher up the field as well as recover in transition quickly with counter-pressing.
Aude is confident on the ball, is not flustered if given a soft pass, and will look to receive and beat a player when he can. If forced back under a press he remains calm, still looking for an opportunity to escape pressure and begin attacks while knowing when to play safe.
He overlaps well, providing wide options in attack which will benefit the wingers in the LA Galaxy system who like to cut inside and create shooting chances. Aude has the pace to get forward, can beat fullbacks on the outside, and cross with his favoured left, but can still cut back and deliver on his right. His final product on crosses in 2022 was recorded as being 2.38 per 90 with a 30.3% success rate. With players like Javier Hernández and Dejan Joveljic at centre forward, improved delivery will be required from Aude as crossing is a method of attack off which they thrive.
Edwards, interestingly, only managed 1.98 crosses per 90 in 2022 with 35.6% success, so this is an area which needs improving at LA Galaxy who regularly have players in the box who can be deadly from crosses.
Aude and Edwards have similar dribbling statistics from 2022 with Aude attempting 3.25 per 90 minutes with 57.8% success, and Edwards attempting 3.76 per 90 with 48.2% success.
What is noticeable from Aude is that he is confident to take players on in both halves of the pitch. He makes his decision of when to carry and when to pass and his higher success rate suggests he has a good understanding of his ability as well as reading of the opponent and situation.
Is Aude Ready For MLS?
Aude stepped into the senior side of his hometown club with confidence and has represented his country at U20 level, with hopes of making the senior team in the future. He is physically and technically sound, which will be vital to his adaptation to MLS.
With Edwards being a good level left back in MLS, this gives Greg Vanney the chance to ease Aude in.
Open Cup and substitute appearances might be his most likely early contributions, giving Edwards a rest when possible.
Looking ahead, the Leagues Cup could be a time when he gets a run of games depending on how Vanney approaches the competition.
Edwards isn’t at a level where he is an undisputed starter in an MLS side, and Aude will know that with time opportunities will come. He isn’t a signing to affect the team immediately, but a player with an exciting future who has the talent to continue to develop and push for opportunities more quickly than we may think.