Barcelona’s La Masia has always produced some of the most phenomenal footballers to ever play for the club. The golden generation including Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets, and Messi all came from the famous club’s youth system. But surprisingly, there have been players who’ve slipped through the cracks in recent times.
Players who have later gone on to make a name for themselves, with one of them being Dani Olmi himself. The young Spaniard has made quite a name for himself in the Croatian league with Dinamo Zagreb with his performances earning him a move to RB Leipzig. We analyze Olmo, his position and his exceptional ability in our scout report.
Let’s get into it.
Dani Olmo was born in Terresa to Miquel Olmo who was a coach in the Spanish second division, so football was always in his blood. He started his football journey in the Barcelona youth team at the age of 9 after arriving from rivals Espanyol. He was talked about as Barcelona’s promising young talents and was a regular for the Spanish U-16 side as well.
So it came as a surprise when the young Spaniard opted to switch to Zagreb from Barcelona. Dani himself explained his decision in an interview stating that it was a collective decision to move.
My family and I thought It would be a good move for my career, that I would become a professional footballer quickly. I thought I would improve more at Dinamo.Dani Olmo on leaving Barcelona
It was in Croatia where he began to make a name for himself. That is where his story took off properly and he became the player we know today. He made 134 appearances for Zagreb in all competitions scoring 34 goals.
Due to the small number of games Olmo has played in Leipzig we’re going to use his time at Zagreb and in Germany both to make conclusions about him as a footballer. So now lets get into his style of play
Style of Play
The Spaniard is capable of playing on both wings, with him being comfortable with either foot. He has also been deployed in a more central role by Zagreb as well, making use of his nimble feet and creativity.
Something we really liked was his maneuverability on the counter. Olmo has started off great counters himself through his dribbling in tight areas even when being surrounded by opposition players willing to initiate a counter-press.
Here you can see him being surrounded by an opposition press and he wonderfully dribbles his way out of pressing situations to initiate a counter with a wonderful pass. This shows he’s even adapt at playing a bit deeper should his side need it.
He is also a terrific ball carrier, able to take the ball, beat his man, and set up teammates for a shot or have one himself. This trait is vital in modern games as teams that sit deep are not easily opened up unless you have runners. Having your midfield creator embody both the creative passing and the ball carrying provides your team with the edge; Dani Olmo has that edge.
Upon closer inspection, we’ve realized through our Kevin de Bruyne’s Tactical Analysis, that Olmo embodies some of his outstanding characteristics as well, especially ball carrying as that makes these new attacking midfielders so dangerous and unpredictable going forward.
For example, this is him against Benfica as he picks up the ball in deeper areas. He then carries the ball a few yards, plays a 1-2 with his team mates and tries to find the forward making the run (he was offside).
Dani Olmo has scored some wonderful long-range strikes as well. He was very little backlift, and he uses it to his advantage by creating space for himself whenever he finds the opportunity to shoot. Having a cultured right foot does that, but he’s equally good with his left as well.
The Spaniard takes 1.46 Shots per 90 according to FBref with around 0.78 per 90 being on target.
This radar by Statsbomb showcases his ability and shot selection during his time in the Croatian league (we’ll get to RB Leipzig later).
From the radar we can deduce the following conclusions
- Olmo loves to shoot on sight
- He’s very good in creating chances from open play
- He wins alot of fouls
- He wins them because of his close control and dribbling
- He turns the ball over quiet a bit
- Decent pressing midfielder
If anything, he’s a lot more comparable to James Maddison of Leicester in the way he plays. Especially with the locations where he takes his shots as you can see below: He has enough confidence to take long-range shots from distance, and he also had the responsibility of taking Dinamo Zagreb’s set pieces.
Now if we move on towards his time at Leipzig, we can make deductions in accordance with what little data we’ve been provided so far. These are the minutes Dani Olmo has STARTED for Leipzig. Nagelsmann has recognized the midfielder’s ball-playing and carrying capabilities and has used him in a variety of roles.
He’s been used as an attacking midfielder and a right-sided center mid. With his qualities, you’d expect him to influence the game and shine in regards to Leipzig’s attacking third, which he has done really well so far. He’s scored one goal and provided an assist in 7 games for the club.
You can probably tell from the statistics that one of Dani Olmo’s weaknesses is that he turns the ball over a lot. This is a consequence of his confidence to take players on and drive his team forward. It’s something that is sure to improve over time and hopefully the young man becomes more aware that there won’t always be leeway once he inevitably reaches the very top, for these kind of errors
Barcelona’s loss could be Leipzig’s gain, as their indecision and inability to act quickly and decisively over the last few years has seen them fall down the pecking order of Europe’s elite as we mentioned in our Barcelona’s Decline piece
As Olmo slipped through the cracks at La Masia, he’s on his way to forge his own legacy and create his own legend in Germany with Leipzig. They have given him the platform to grow with them and now its his chance to take it with his hands