Liverpool are competing on four fronts this season and are reportedly looking to strengthen their squad in the January transfer window.
One of their targets is Porto and Colombia winger Luis Diaz. After impressing in both the Champions League and this summer’s Copa America, Diaz’s profile has exploded over recent months and he’s currently a very sought-after footballer.
We’ve collected everything you need to know about the 25-year-old winger.
His story so far
Born in January 1997 in the Colombian town of Barrancas, Diaz grew up in an impoverished region of South America.
As a member of the Wayuu, the largest indigenous community in Colombia, the youngster’s odds on escaping Barrancas were slim to none.
Nearly 5,000 Wayuu children died from malnutrition between 2008 and 2016 and the humanitarian crisis that still persists has drawn attention from organisations such as the United Nations and Human Rights Watch.
But Diaz was included in Colombia’s 22-man squad for the 2015 Copa Americana de Pueblos Indígenas and a year later joined Atletico Junior.
“For a moment, we thought it would be very difficult for him to perform because Lucho seemed to have malnutrition problems – he was very skinny and lost the duels with other players,” said John ‘Pocillo’ Diaz, former Colombia international and Diaz’s coach at the 2015 tournament.
“But despite that, he managed to stand out among 400 candidates and make the 26-man squad. He initially played as a striker but had one big issue in his game.
He used to run the ball with his head down, so sometimes he didn’t even notice that he had reached the end of the pitch. He was very fast and had a very good technique, the ball would stick to his foot like glue.”
Diaz was immediately sent on loan to Barranquilla where his coaches immediately put him on a diet plan to gain 10kg – one that included eating pasta for breakfast.
After starring for Atletico Junior for three seasons, Diaz signed for Porto for €7million in July of 2019.
In his first season in Portugal, the winger made 34 starts in all competitions, scoring 14 goals and recording three assists.
Diaz has found the net 13 times in only 20 appearances this term for the Portuguese outfit, putting in some dazzling displays from the flanks, and has attracted attention from some of Europe’s biggest clubs – including Barcelona, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid.
The winger has also played 31 times for Colombia, starring at the 2021 Copa America and scoring goals against both Brazil and Argentina. It wasn’t a surprise to see Diaz named as the ‘Revelation of the Tournament’.
WHAT A GOAL! 🤩
Luis Diaz scored this WORLDIE bicycle kick for Colombia against Brazil 🔥pic.twitter.com/OYLqzcnXTv
— GOAL (@goal) June 24, 2021
Style of play
Diaz is usually deployed on the left-hand side for both Porto and Colombia despite being a right-footed player – an excellent example of the modern trend for inverted wingers.
He likes to stay wide and keep his width, rather than spend the entire game attempting to drift inside. This allows Diaz to cut inside onto his favoured right foot but also creates room for overlapping fullbacks to get around him.
Blessed with excellent ball control and dribbling skills, Diaz is particularly adept at beating his opponent and would be a player that’d excite the Anfield crowd. The Colombian loves cutting onto his right foot and this unpredictability has flummoxed many defenders at both club and international levels.
He’s started to add goals to his game this season and that, in combination with Diaz’s aforementioned attributes, has made him one of the most exciting attackers in European football.
What he’s said
Speaking about what he did with his first pay packet, Diaz said: “One of the things that I like the most is gold garments. I bought a bracelet and a chain, it went away like a million pesos. I bought the Rolex that I have now.”
Other than that, Diaz has largely done his talking on the pitch so far but you’d imagine he’ll be more open with the media if he moved to the Premier League.
What they’ve said
– “The rate at which Luis Diaz is churning out otherworldly performances coupled with his ability to score screamers like this on a consistent basis is genuinely frightening. Only a matter of time before somebody pays an astronomical fee for him.” said Marino Peixoto, a Portuguese football enthusiast.
– “Lucho can shoot from distance, he’s comfortable with his two feet, he can dribble, he can open up defences, he can score, ” John ‘Pocillo’ Diaz said in 2021. “What can’t he do? But, believe it or not, he’s yet to reach his ceiling.”
– “A player like Lucho, with the qualities he has, can play for any team. It’s not easy to find players like him,” former Colombia head coach Arturo Reyes said.
“There are things similar to [Jadon] Sancho. Both have fun on the field, they don’t feel pressure and they play the same way in any side.”