05 October 2020 20:40
Get the Glasgow stories that matter to you sent straight to your inbox with our daily newsletter Sign me up Thank you for subscribing See our privacy notice Invalid Email AC Milan defender Diego Laxalt is expected to complete his move to Celtic later today. The 27-year-old Uruguay international has bags of experience in the Italian top flight and, on the face of it, would be a solid signing for the Parkhead club. He's a left-footed player who can do a job in various positions with an ability to fill in at left-back, midfield and left wing when required. But who exactly is Laxalt, and what type of player is he? Like most modern full-backs, he loves to get forward and get crosses and shots away.
However his biggest strength appears to his ability going forward. His attacking attributes mean he should be well suited to a wing-back role in Neil Lennon's favoured 3-5-2 system, and he should get plenty of opportunity in a Celtic side which dominates domestic matches. Laxalt began his career with Defensor Sporting in Uruguay before making the move to Italian football when Inter signed him in 2013. However he failed to make a real breakthrough into the first team and spent time out on loan at Empoli, Bologna and Genoa. And it was at Genoa he really made a mark – so much so that they made his signing permanent in 2016.
In the 2016/17 season he scored four goals and made one assist from left-back before scoring three and setting up three in Serie A the following season. His performances impressed so much that he earned a return to the San Siro – only this time with AC Milan. He featured often for Milan in the 2018/19 season but was sent out on loan to Torino last campaign. He didn't do too badly at Torino but did make a couple of mistakes which led to goals for the opposition. It seems he's now ready to depart Italian football in search of a fresh challenge. Get the latest Celtic news Stay up to date with all the latest Celtic news from the Glasgow Live team across our social media channels. Twitter: You can follow our Glasgow Live Sport account and our Celtic writer Chris Doyle. Facebook: You can follow our dedicated Celtic page and join our official Celtic group - the place to be for Hoops fans. Whatsapp: Text CELTIC to 07899068921 then add the number to your contacts as 'Glasgow Live Sport' to receive daily updates and breaking news on Celtic. On the international stage he made his debut for Uruguay in a match against the Republic of Ireland in 2017, and has gone on to represent his country 24 times. So Celtic would clearly be getting a player with plenty of experience, and who'd fit their 3-5-2 system perfectly. Lennon has said previously he's short on option on the left side of defence, and Laxalt would clearly provide some decent competition to Greg Taylor. Keep up with all the latest Celtic transfer news throughout deadline day on our live blog. Join thousands of fans who have signed up to our Celtic newsletter. Subscribe Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email Celtic have been on the hunt for a left-back ever since Boli Bolingoli's impromptu trip to Spain and it appears that search may be over. Milan full-back Diego Laxalt is believed to be undergoing a medical in London on Monday ahead of a loan switch to Celtic Park. Should the deal get over the line he'll provide an alternative to Greg Taylor on the left, as well as plenty of experience. The Uruguayan has over 100 Serie A games under his belt and won't fear the Europa League stage - where he'll be almost immediately reunited with his parent club. Unless they're keen Serie A watchers though many Celtic fans will not be overly familiar with Laxalt, so Record Sport has taken a deep dive on the potential new signing. Who is Diego Laxalt? He's spent almost his entire career in Italy, signing for Inter in 2013 but failing to make an appearance. The 27-year-old has had spells at Bologna, Empoli, Genoa and Torino as well as current club Milan. Capable of playing anywhere on the left, he's been capped 24 times by Uruguay. What is he like as a player? Laxalt is athletic and hard-working, and not afraid to put in a tackle. Upon signing for Inter in 2013 he described his greatest strengths as "speed and endurance", and his all-action style should suit Scottish football. Walter Mazzarri, who worked with him at both Inter and Torino said: "I used him as a central midfielder at first. "Since then he's been a left winger and a left-back and he's excelled in every position he's been asked to play. "What you get with Diego is lots and lots of running and hard work. "You could even use him as an attacking midfielder too because he has the ability to spot gaps and make forward runs at the right time. "He's just one of those players that are so useful because he could adapt to playing in any position really. 2019-20 2018-19 2017-18 2016-17 2015-16 Goals 1 0 3 4 3 Assists 0 0 3 1 4 Key passes per 90 0.35 0.4 0.8 1 0.9 Dribbled past per 90 0.9 0.5 1.2 1 1.3 Tackles per 90 1.2 1.3 1.7 1.8 2.2 If we look at his Serie A stats over the past five seasons, the pure numbers speak of a player who has been in decline. At Genoa Laxalt played under Gian Piero Gasperini and then Ivan Juric, both of whom favour an aggressive 3-4-3 formation. The former in particular plays attacking football and backs his players to win their individual duels, as we've seen to great effect at Atalanta. Laxalt played under him in the 2015-16 season so it's no surprise to see he made more tackles in that season than any other, and was also dribbled past more often. He signed for Milan in the summer of 2018, and with Gennaro Gattuso favouring a back-four he played in a left-back role. Therefore we see his goals, assists and key passes drop off a cliff - but also a dramatic reduction in the number of times he was dribbled past per match. It was a similar story in last season's loan to Torino, so the drop-off in the 27-year-old's attacking output doesn't necessarily indicate a player who is past his best. Laxalt can lack discipline, however, both positionally and in terms of picking up yellow cards. He made three errors leading to goals at Torino last season, the same number as his first season at Milan. While he's not quite the chaos agent Boli Bolingoli was, the Uruguay international is nowhere near as reliable defensively as Taylor. Laxalt picked up five yellows in the 2019-20 Serie A season despite starting just five matches, so while he won't shy away from the phyiscal battle he could also pick up suspensions. Where will Laxalt fit in at Celtic? The 27-year-old showed his best form under Gasperini at Genoa and the Italian is known for his trademark 3-4-3 system. Laxalt played wing-back for the Grifone both under Gasperini and his successor Ivan Juric and should be able to slot straight into Neil Lennon's 3-5-2. In his loan spell at Torino last season he played on the left of a back-four under Moreno Longo, having been tried in the centre of midfield by previous boss Walter Mazzarri. While Laxalt played in central midfield as a youth don't expect him to feature there for Celtic. The 27-year-old has played his best football at left wing-back and that's exactly where Lennon will play him.