Late in the January transfer window, Leicester City signed their first-ever Brazilian player. Winger Tete (£5.5m) has arrived on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk, having spent the past year in France with Lyon.
Brendan Rodgers put Tete straight into the Foxes’ line-up at Aston Villa, where he scored in first-half stoppage time to help secure a 4-2 victory that would otherwise have them hovering over the relegation zone.
So can the 22-year-old build on his impressive debut and what impact will he have in FPL?
We’ll attempt to answer those questions below.
Born near Porto Alegre in early 2000, Mateus Cardoso Lemos Martins progressed through the youth ranks of local giants Gremio but left for Shakhtar without making a senior appearance for them.
|2022/23||Lyon||Ligue 1||14 (3)||6||3|
|2021/22||Lyon||Ligue 1||7 (2)||2||5|
|2021/22||Shakhtar Donetsk||Ukraine Premier League||11 (6)||9||1|
|2020/21||Shakhtar Donetsk||Ukraine Premier League||16 (8)||6||3|
|2019/20||Shakhtar Donetsk||Ukraine Premier League||19 (7)||8||4|
|2018/19||Shakhtar Donetsk||Ukraine Premier League||4 (4)||2||2|
Despite a strong percentage of Shakhtar outings being from the subs bench, his goal rate was impressive, bagging 25 league goals from 50 starts and 25 cameos.
The most memorable of Tete’s 19 Champions League matches came at the Santiago Bernabeu in October 2020. He scored the opening goal of a shock 3-2 win, then provided the shot which led to an own goal and assisted the third.
When FIFA ruled that foreign players in Ukraine could temporarily suspend their contracts until summer 2023, the uncapped Brazilian joined Lyon for the end of 2021/22 and the start of 2022/23. He has been dazzling for the French side, notching six goals and three assists in this season’s 17 Ligue 1 appearances.
According to WhoScored, Tete specialises in one-on-one battles when cutting inside from the right flank. He is left-footed and a strong finisher.
Fast and with a strong technique, he fills in a problem position that has plagued Leicester ever since Riyad Mahrez (£7.7m) left in 2018.
WHERE TETE FITS IN AT LEICESTER
Which is why he walked straight into Rodgers’ starting XI at Villa Park on Saturday. In 83 minutes, Tete had a team-leading three goal attempts and six touches inside the penalty area, with a 0.80 expected goal involvement (xGI) that was only behind team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.1m).
His six successful take-ons were the Premier League’s joint-best for the weekend, rewarded with a goal when his run through the centre met a clever Iheanacho through ball. Tete coolly took the ball around the goalkeeper and slotted home.
It’s safe to say that his new manager was both delighted and relieved with such a strong performance.
“Tete was what I have been talking about for 18 months – a right-winger that can take the ball, pass the ball, look after it, make runs and work. What a debut for him. It was really good and because of that, you have balance, it allows Kelechi [Iheanacho] to play in the spaces in front of that.
“He knows football, he knows the type of game we were trying to play, his touch is immaculate. He has a good weight of pass but can run in behind.” – Brendan Rodgers
What could also intrigue FPL managers is that James Maddison (£8.0m) will finally be allowed to play in his preferred central position, having had to fill in on the right flank for a while.
“Tete was outstanding today, he plays on the right which is where I’ve had to play so it’s nice to get some pace out there.” – James Maddison
This should remove rotation fears from possible new Tete owners – it’s pivotal to Leicester’s season that he enables this Maddison switch. In fact, from our Members Area data, the England midfielder’s average position (number ten) versus Villa was as a 4-4-2 forward.
By full-time, Foxes fans were chanting “let’s all have a samba” and, with Tete dazzling, maybe it is time to dance.
IS TETE WORTH BUYING IN FPL?
A good link-up with Iheanacho could also have potential when Leicester’s fixtures eventually get nicer. Our Season Ticker shows a tricky immediate run of opponents – Spurs (h), Manchester United (a) and Arsenal (h) – that is then worsened by a probable Blank Gameweeks 28 should they overcome Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup fifth round.
On the other hand, it would mean several Double Gameweeks further down the line – Aston Villa (h) already needs rescheduling from earlier in the season.
Certainly, as a differential at the £5.5m price point, Tete could become a superb option. Owning such a flair player is exciting, backed by a good goal scoring record. If his arrival reinvigorates Leicester, Tete, Maddison, Iheanacho and Harvey Barnes (£6.7m) suddenly become very interesting assets.