WIGAN, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: Oscar of Chelsea looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Chelsea at DW Stadium on August 19, 2012 in Wigan, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Oscar's a player we're all very interested in, and he's coming out with some fascinating quotes today. The most intriguing of them (they're all pretty good) comes from a discussion about his ultimate position, something Chelsea fans have gone over many times:
Seria na posição do Lampard. O Di Matteo conversou e disse que um dos meus pontos fortes vai ser jogando por ali. Mas jogo na posição do Mata também, jogo aberto, ele sabe disso. É um treinador inteligente. O Chelsea tem não só eu, mas outros jogadores versáteis.
Since I don't speak Portuguese and asking David Luiz what it meant in English resulted in the centre back saying, "I love Chelsea. I love football. Enjoy the life, geezer!" I had to turn once more to my trusty if slightly eccentric friend Google Translate. Here is what it said:
It would be in the position of Lampard. The Di Matteo spoke and said that one of my strengths will be playing there. But playing in the position of Mata also open game, he knows it. It's a smart coach. Chelsea have not only I, but other versatile players.
It's difficult to know what exactly Roberto di Matteo meant by that. It's a machine translation, secondhand, and was probably pretty vague on top of that. But we've been comparing Oscar to Frank Lampard for a while now, and it sounds like di Matteo's following that same line of thought -- Oscar has the ability to influence the game from deeper*, and he could easily find himself moved back from the number ten role he plays for Brazil as his Chelsea career progresses.
*And no, putting him in the most important part of the pitch would not be 'wasting him'.
Oscar's a pretty confident fellow, as evidenced by his expectations of breaking into the first-choice lineup within a month, but that's what you expect out of footballers, and he certainly has the ability to shake things up at Cobham. He looked a little bit nervy (if still extremely impressive for a 20-year-old) during his debut against Wigan Athletic, but if he can build on that, he could end up as a very special player. Which we already knew.
Anyway, don't expect him to be dropped into the pivot straight away. Even if he has the requisite skills to play deeper in midfield, throwing that transition on top of a new culture and league might simply be too much for him right now. Di Matteo seemed to suggest earlier in the week that he'll ease the youngster into the first team slowly, and I'd expect Oscar to mostly spend his time in the attacking midfield band.
That said, he could change all of that by simply playing too well to be excluded from the lineup. While we haven't seen him against top defences (or even good defences) yet, Oscar's good enough that that remains a strong possibility.