Leandro Paredes comes from the Boca Juniors academy in Argentina, which is one of the most famous and successful footballing clubs in all of South America. At a young age, Paredes showed eye-popping talent, so it's only natural that Roma Director of Sport Walter Sabatini was attracted to him. There was competition from several big European clubs to sign Paredes, but Sabatini spots 'em young and got to him first, smiling like the cat that ate the canary in the process. Outside of his big money gamble for Erik Lamela, Sabatini has never bet on more of a sure thing. Paredes will pay off one way or another for Roma very soon, here's why:
Name: Leandro Paredes
Height: 1.80 m
Position: Attacking Midfield
Previous Club: Boca Juniors/Chievo Verona
Current Club: Empoli (loan)
Future Comparison: Juan Roman Riquelme
Who Is He?
As incredibly talented and hyped as Paredes is, his body of work is small, especially for a prospect of his age. While his body of work may be small, it's still impressive in some respects. He scored five goals in 29 appearances at Boca Juniors, but only managed one appearance at Chievo Verona because Chievo was essentially babysitting him. Last season at Roma, Paredes had 13 appearances in all competitions, scoring a goal and tallying an assist as well. Internationally, Paredes last played for Argentina's U17 squad, scoring two goals in six appearances.
What Can He Do?
Nobody really knows what Leandro Paredes can do at this point, and like Tony Sanabria, lack of consistent playing time is the culprit. Not to pick on the guy, because he seems to be having a bad week already, but manager Rudi Garcia is responsible for stifling the development of Paredes. The Argentinian prodigy only racked up 427 minutes of competitive play last year as a part of Garcia's midfield 'rotation'.
In his days at Boca Juniors, Paredes was known for his scintillating long shots and his ability to find teammates almost effortlessly. The combination of his strengths make him a threat whenever he goes forward on the pitch with the ball. Below is a highlight video from his time at Boca Juniors, so it's vintage Paredes:
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It would be best if Paredes tried to emulate Boca Juniors legend Juan Roman Riquelme at this point, who Paredes learned from while coming up in the youth ranks at Boca. Riquelme is about as good as an attacking midfielder can aspire to be.
What Can He Become?
Leandro Paredes has already broken into Roma's first team. He's at least a part of the midfield rotation, however it remains to be seen how many minutes he'll get this year if he stays with the first team. Paredes certainly seems to be deserving of more playing time this season, whether it's in Rome or elsewhere. He has a high ceiling and is capable of filling his potential, if given playing time.
Should Roma ever choose to cash in on midfielder Miralem Pjanic, the club would have a more than serviceable replacement in Paredes. He has the potenitial to be a cornerstone of the midfield for years to come. However, if for whatever reason, Paredes fails to fulfill his potential or his development stalls, Roma could probably still sell him for a decent amount of money. Paredes is just one of those prospects, like Bojan, that has great name recognition, which gives said prospects a little more value on the transfer market and would likely land them extra chances if they flopped at a club.
Basically there will always be a club willing to take a chance on a Bojan or a Paredes, but that's the worst case scenario for him. For now, Paredes is set to join Serie A side Empoli on a loan that should see him get the minutes he needs to develop. Although he seemed primed to play a bigger role in Roma's midfield this season, especially with Kevin Strootman reportedly mulling surgery that will leave him on the sideline for another season, it's probably best that Paredes gains more experience elsewhere, at least for the time being.