Kerala Blasters have completed the signing of Adrián Luna from Melbourne City FC on a two-year deal.
The new midfielder of Kerala joined Uruguay’s youth team Defensor in 2009 and progressed through their ranks before joining La Liga club Espanyol. Luna later played for Gimnastic and Sabadell in the Segunda Division before returning to his boyhood club Defensor. Later, he moved to Mexico to play for Veracruz in Liga MX, where he enjoyed three successful seasons before joining A-League giants Melbourne City FC. He had been an integral part of the club, helping them win the 2020-21 A-league title.
With his partnership with Jamie Maclaren, the Uruguayan midfielder quickly established himself as among the best midfielders in the A-League. However, the 29-year-old had bid goodbye to City earlier this month. Kerala acted promptly to secure the services of the midfielder, who was also offered to Jamshedpur FC. Before joining the Blasters, the midfielder had played 49 times for Patrick Kisnorbo’s side.
A look at Luna’s statistics for this season’s A-League indicates his attacking threat. While the leagues differ in quality, we tried to roughly compare Adrián Luna’s statistics in the A-League with those of Kerala Blasters players last season. Luna had registered 1.64 shots per 90 minutes while playing as a midfielder. Sahal Samad and Vincente Gomez were the only Kerala Blasters players to exceed Luna’s shots/90 last season. Luna, considered a replacement for Facundo Pereyra, also outperformed the Argentinian, who managed just 1.22 shots/90.
A noteworthy statistic here: Luna took more shots at the goal per 90 minutes than even Kerala’s star forward Gary Hooper last season. As compared to Sahal (14.4%) and Vincente Gomez (33.3%), he had more than 50% of his shots on target, an accuracy that is more than any other Blasters player from last season. The 29-year-old had created five big chances in the A-League. The only person in the KBFC squad who could create more than him was Gary Hooper(8). Additionally, he completed 2.2 key passes per game; a number only exceeded by Facundo Pereyra. It’s pretty clear from the last two numbers what kind of attacking threat and creativity Luna will be bringing to Kerala Blasters.
A-League defenders have struggled to take the ball away from Luna as he has been fouled 21 times. Last season, only Jordan Murray of Kerala was fouled more often than Luna. Despite playing a central role, Luna still managed to provide 2.51 crosses per 90 minutes. Only Facundo Pereyra could exceed his output of crosses among KBFC midfielders. The other player to surpass his cross volume per 90 was Sahal, who had played a wider role under Kibu Vicuña.
Luna’s defensive work rate has been impressive as a midfielder. The average number of interceptions he completed per 90 minutes was 1.11. Defensively, Adrián Luna outshone every other Kerala Blasters midfielder last season. In addition, Luna won 0.93 tackles per 90 minutes, which was better than any other Kerala Blasters midfielder except Sahal Samad.
Adrián Luna is an all-around midfielder who can contribute both offensively and defensively, as shown by the numbers. He can fulfil the role of a central midfielder in a 4-3-3 or as an attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1, depending on the circumstances. Luna will offer Ivan Vukomanovićc the much-needed versatility in the midfield. Luna’s playmaking and creativity will be vital for the Blasters, who sorely missed the presence of such a player last season. He will further bring a wealth of experience to the young Kerala Blasters team.
The type of players that Luna has with him will play a significant role in his performances with Kerala. Maclaren’s presence at Melbourne City rocketed his attacking output, and KBFC must act smartly in the transfer market to acquire a good forward to complement Luna. Considering that he is only 29-years old, the Blasters have made a wise decision by tying him to a two-year contract. Luna comes with a lot of promise, and it will be up to the new coach and the Kerala management to maximise his potential. The Uruguayan midfielder is Kerala’s first foreign recruit of the season, and the fans will have more to look forward to in the coming weeks.
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