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Physicality and technique: Expert view on Lerma


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth confirmed the club record signing of Jefferson Lerma from Levante on Tuesday evening. But what can Cherries fans expect from Colombian international Lerma? Spanish football expert Simon Harrison offers an insight...

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Jefferson Lerma leaving Levante, is the fact that it hasn't happened until the summer of 2018. When Levante were relegated a couple of seasons ago, the Colombian midfielder was a regular and had already impressed in La Liga.

Although his release clause was extremely low, nobody took a chance on him, with Lerma knuckling down in Segunda and helping the club back to the top flight at their first attempt.

On their return to Primera last season, Lerma was again vital in the centre of midfield, offering a nice balance alongside former Crystal Palace playmaker Jose Campana. He sits a little deeper in midfield, knitting play together and is happy to provide the link between his back four and the rest of his side.

At Levante, Lerma is used to being the more defensively minded central midfielder in a 4-4-2 system, but that doesn't mean that he is a hard-hitting, gritty operator.

Lerma does offer a certain level of physicality and a decent frame for protecting the ball with, but his technical ability and tidiness in possession stands out. He is a strong addition for a squad that like to enjoy a lot of the ball, and will help his team to play out from the back and through the midfield third.

Still just 23 years of age, there is still room for further improvement, and despite being flung into the spotlight young, he has never been anything other than perfectly humble, focused and professional.

The Colombia international got plenty of minutes at the World Cup in Russia, and has three seasons of regular experience within Spanish football to act as a useful education. Coaches may have changed with regularity at Levante in recent years, but Lerma has been equally as important to all of them.

With plenty of room left for growth, Lerma should only become more well-rounded and astute on the pitch, possessing both the physical and technical attributes to shine in England.

Simon Harrison (@simonhfootball) is a Spanish football expert and regularly contributes to FourFourTwo, WhoScored and more.

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