AS Roma have signed defender Diego Llorente on loan from Leeds United till the end of the season. The deal went through on deadline day and was one of the important transfers to happen in Serie A in the recently concluded transfer window. The 29-year-old centre-back impressed during his time with Leeds after joining from Real Sociedad in the summer of 2020. He made a total of 59 appearances for the Whites, helping the team finish ninth in his first campaign and retain Premier League status for a second season.
With Llorente seeing limited game time this season, Roma pounced on the opportunity to bring the Premier League defender to the Stadio Olimpico on a temporary deal. The player will add reinforcement to the defensive line of Jose Mourinho’s team as they aim to finish the second half of Serie A strongly and secure a Champions League berth. Below, we look at some of Diego Llorente’s stats from his time in the Premier League.
Diego Llorente made 13 appearances in all competitions for Leeds United in the 2022–23 season. He played in eight Premier League matches for the Whites, starting seven of them. The above viz shows the player’s percentile rank in comparison to the other centre-backs in the Premier League. Llorente is ranked at the top for winning aerial duels. He also ranks highly for his positioning, defensive duels contested, and win percentage in such contests. Additionally, the Spanish professional has a high rank for attacking indicators like shots, dribbles, and opposition penalty area touches. Meanwhile, he also has overall decent stats in the possession department.
Diego Llorente takes command of the central defensive area in the defensive and middle thirds for his team. The above viz shows the player’s defensive territory from the recent and last Premier League campaign. Llorente commits lots of defensive actions and interceptions within his own half and has given up zero fouls in the penalty box while doing so. He makes 5.38 interceptions per 90, along with 9.15 defensive duels and 4.38 aerial duels. He has a 68.1% win rate for defensive duels and wins 46.3% of aerial duels. Llorente gives up only 0.78 fouls per 90, which shows his composure while defending, and also averages 2.42 clearances per match.
The two visuals above represent Llorente’s important role in restricting the opponent in both halves. He has shown the ability to win back possession in the final third, as evidenced by the 13 high regains he has made in the last two seasons. The centre-back makes 12.48 recoveries per match, with 18.3% of them occurring in the opposition’s half. He is also capable of making dangerous and counter-pressing recoveries, including the two in the opposition penalty box. Meanwhile, in his own half, Llorente has blocked 17 shots with a combined xG of 0.7, including five inside his own box.
Diego Llorente performs the important role of circulating possession and building up play from the centre-back position. The Spaniard has a sound passing ability and averages 46.51 passes per match with nearly 86% accuracy. His pass map above shows a network of sideward passes in his own half, but they become more progressive passes into the midfield and wider areas as he moves towards the other end of the pitch. Llorente averages 16.45 forward passes per match with over 70% accuracy. 4.9 of these passes are to the final third, with an accuracy rate of 59.5%.
Another aspect of Diego Llorente’s gameplay worth highlighting is his ability to put himself in scoring positions. He is a genuine threat in set-piece situations with his physical presence and aerial ability. The defender scored four goals for Leeds, all resulting from corner deliveries. He has scored all his goals from inside or near the six-yard box, through headers or very close-range shots. In the last two seasons, he took a total of 22 shots, averaging 0.32 shots per match with 33.3% accuracy.
Role at Roma
The addition of Diego Llorente will add more depth and quality to Roma’s defensive structure. They usually play with three defenders at the back, and the Spaniard can be an experienced backup option while giving competition for a starting role to the likes of Gianluca Mancini, Roger Ibanez, and Chris Smalling.
The above viz is a comparison between Diego Llorente and 26-year-old Roma centre-back Gianluca Mancini. Both players outperform each other in some of the stats. While Mancini has a better rank in the possession department and an expected goal contribution per 90, Llorente fares superiorly in the defensive department and some of the attacking parameters.
Overall, Diego is a player with tonnes of experience under his belt who can provide Roma with additional support in defence. He has the ability to guide the backline, as proven by his performances in the Premier League. Llorente could warrant himself a spot in Roma’s backline for the rest of the season, with Jose Mourinho’s side looking to secure Champions League qualification. Overall, the Serie A side will be pleased with the business they have done to bring the player on board.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine