Fresh out of a dominant showing in the South American U17 Football Championship where he aided Brazil to a 10th title, Lucas Piazon switched allegiances from Brazilian club São Paulo to Chelsea in summer 2011. Likened to Kaká mostly due to his looks rather than his playing style, the then 17-year-old impressed with good showings for youth and reserve teams, earning a promotion to the first-team as a result.
However, his path to the pitch as a Chelsea player would be much rockier than first anticipated. In fact, it has been almost seven years since Piazon’s arrival, and he has only played two games for the Blues in the interim.
Much of it is due the sinuous road taken as part of Chelsea’s loan brigade. He travelled to Spain, the Netherlands and Germany before finally settling with Championship clubs in England.
“I was very young when I left for the first time. So I found the switch to Spain [with Málaga] smooth, because the language was easy, it would be only be a six months spell, the team was playing in the Champions League. It was super smooth.”
“Then, in the Netherlands [with Vitesse], the experience was also good. My first six months were very good.”
“It was after going to Germany [to join Eintracht Frankfurt] that I got fed up with moving. Switching places so often is also not ideal. Having to adapt to a new playing style, a new team. So I wanted to stay in England.”
“I went to Reading and I am already two years here in Fulham, so it is easier. It is best to have a long loan.”
“Those were new experiences. I learned a bit in each place, and took the most from the teams and the countries.”
His two years at Fulham have been enough to make Piazon a fan favourite. He has contributed with 12 goals and 9 assists in 57 appearances for the club. And he hopes he can add more to these numbers.
But first, he has a Premier League promotion claim to deal with. A quest set to start this Friday, when Fulham take on Derby County in the first leg of the Championship promotion playoffs.
“My desire [for the future] is to keep playing. To go to a place where you do not play and stay on the bench, or is not selected for the game, is not cool.”
“I am 24 and what matters is to play, be it at Fulham or elsewhere. My desire now is to go up to the Premier League with Fulham.”
Piazon’s two-year stay with Fulham is the first time he has experienced some kind of “stability” as a professional player, with his myriad of loan deals constantly uprooting him previously. It is a life he has grown tired of, as many others have done so. Some of those players even moved on from the club last summer and our now doing great things in England and abroad, much to our chagrin.
The 24-year-old could very well join the list of departures in the upcoming transfer window. And although he claims to not pay any attention to these developments yet, he would enjoy staying at Fulham if possible.
“I still do not know what will happen. People do not speak much [about transfers], they usually do so when [the loan] ends.”
“[But] now I do not even want to think about this. I would like to stay because I feel really well here. I like to play with my teammates. I like the ground.”
“For me, I would stay.”
Of course he has not closed his doors to a Chelsea return yet. It is a long shot, but his hopes remain alive and well.
“[Playing for Chelsea] is what I always wanted, right? I came here in 2011 to play for Chelsea. But it depends a lot on the coach.”
“The club told me that they do not want to lose me yet and want to renew my contract. But I know this also depends on us, on what we do when we are loaned.”
-Lucas Piazon; source: Globo Esporte
Taking into account his age and the level of play he is currently at, it is easy to see Piazon’s desire as wishful thinking. But as shown by the rise of Victor Moses last season, sometimes late bloomers can emerge from the Loan Army, too.
A successful run in the Championship promotion playoffs with Fulham to end the season coupled with a good pre-season showing, similar to what he gave us back in 2012, would do wonders for his improbable, but still reachable cause.