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Ranking Roma's Youth, #7: Carles Pérez

Carles Pérez has all the physical tools but hasn't quite figured out how to use them to his advantage. Could this be the year Pérez finally comes good?

Real Betis Sevilla v AS Roma - Club Friendly Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

The sum total of Carles Pérez's professional career (in the top flight) amounts to only 61 appearances and 2,781 minutes on the pitch. Using his speed and agility to skip past defenders who might as well have been encased in concrete, Pérez has flashed the kind of game-breaking athleticism you seldom see outside of FIFA or PES. Thanks to those impressive physical gifts, Pérez has racked up 10 goals and nine assists in all competitions.

On the surface, there’s nothing terribly impressive about that, but in what essentially amounts to 75% of a full season of action, Pérez has been an incredibly dynamic talent, one capable of creating his own shot with ease yet intelligent enough and cooperative enough to create for others in almost perfect harmony.

The question has been—and will continue to be—can he harness and display those skills consistently enough to become a productive starter for Roma?

Number Seven: Carles Pérez

Real Betis v AS Roma - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Age: 23

Position: Midfield, winger, forward

Future Comparisons: A bit of Pedro, a bit of Christian Pulisic

Who is He?

A product of Barcelona's famed La Masia youth academy, Pérez quickly made a name for himself in Catalonia, scoring a hattrick in the 2015 U-17 Club World Cup against Mexican club Santos Laguna. While Barcelona fell in the semi-finals, Pérez was the second-leading scorer at the tournament.

Pérez would make 27 league appearances for Barcelona B in the Segunda during the 2017-2018 season before making his senior Barcelona debut on May 19, 2019. Pérez would struggle to make his mark with Barcelona, garnering only 11 further appearances before joining up with Roma in the winter of 2020.

Fast, quick, and compact, Pérez is a menace in the final third, where he uses his speed, agility, and close control to evade defenders.

What Can He Do?

Well, like his compatriot and teammate (for the time being), Pedro, Pérez uses his speed, agility, and low center of gravity to his advantage. If you press up on him, he has more than enough lateral agility and speed to dance around you, but if you sit back a bit, he can still make you pay by either literally running right past you or unfurling a beautifully bent shot/cross/pass.

Basically, Pérez is your prototypical midfielder/winger/forward hybrid. He has the requisite dribbling skills to push past defenders in wide areas, enough close control, balance, and strength to dart through the middle of the park, and a quick enough release to get off a shot in traffic or to switch play to the opposite flank.

And since we compared him to Christian Pulisic, here's a side-by-side comparisons of the two wingers since 2019:

Carles Pérez (green) vs. Christian Pulisic (blue): 2019-2021
Understat

While we're looking at a pretty significant difference in sample size, this gives us an indication of what Pérez is capable of on the pitch, and what type of player he is, which leads us to...

What Can He Become?

Well, as we're writing this, Pérez has been the subject of intermittent transfer rumors linking the 23-year-old to a Premiership switch. Given Roma's glut of forwards and Pérez's inconsistencies since arriving in Roma, it's easy to understand why they might want to cash in on Pérez, but the club's patience could pay off in a big way if he flourishes under José Mourinho.

With his physical gifts, intelligence, and aggression, Pérez has the chance to become a dynamic winger in the mold of Pulisic or Pedro; the kind of player who gives defenders fits because he can do a bit of everything anywhere on the pitch. He may never be a household name or a Ballon d’Or candidate, but if Pérez can find a bit of consistency and blossom over the next year or so, he can be a vital piece of Roma's Mourinho Makeover and a consistent threat for seven or eight goals a year to go along with nearly as many assists, if not more.

However, make no mistake, this is a make-or-break year for Pérez at Roma—it's now or never for him in the Eternal City.