Estoril’s Tiago Araujo is reported to be one of Celtic’s top January transfer targets.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the Hoops are considering a deal of around £4m for the former Benfica B man.

The 22-year-old, capable of playing in several positions on the left side, could be brought in to provide some much-needed competition at left-back for Greg Taylor with Argentine Alexandro Bernabei currently well out of the picture at Parkhead.

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Here, we take a closer look at Araujo’s playing style, his strengths and areas for improvement to assess what he could add to Brendan Rodgers’ squad.

Player Profile

Araujo came through the ranks at Benfica and made over 20 appearances for their under-23 side. He then made his professional debut with their B team in Portugal’s second tier, playing alongside former Celt hero Jota and current Hoops loanee Paulo Bernardo.

He spent the 21/22 season on loan with Arouca where he played 16 times - turning out alongside former Celtic midfielder Eboue Kouassi - before opting to leave Benfica permanently last summer to join Estoril.

Capped twice at under-21 level for Portugal, Araujo has made over 40 appearances for Estoril since his move, scoring three goals and providing four assists.

In his first full season with Estoril, he was used as both a winger and a left-back. This season, Araujo has been used more often than not as a left-back in a 4-4-3 though but he has also been played further forward - as the left wing-back - when Estoril have shaped up in their other preferred formation of 5-4-1.

The above heat map, from his 23-24 minutes, paints the picture of an attack-minded full-back/wing-back. He has just as many touches in the opposition half as he does his own while most of his touches, in both halves, come along the touchline wide on the left.

In terms of his physical profile, Araujo, At 6’0”, is taller than current Celtic left-back options Taylor and Bernabei (both 5’7”). He is also much pacier than first-choice Taylor. Aligned with his height, and decent strength, he is a much more powerful and athletic proposition than both left-backs available to Rodgers at present.

Data Analysis

The above chart uses Wyscout per-90 data converted into percentile ranks to compare Araujo to other full-backs/wing-backs in this season’s Primeira Liga (minimum 700 minutes played). This can start to build a clearer picture of his playing style. The chart is split into three sections and includes several key attacking, possession and defending metrics.

Considering his attacking section first, we can see Araujo ranks above the 50th percentile for his non-penalty goals and above the 75th rank for his xG, likely down to getting into more attacking positions when played further forward.

His crossing stands out here. He ranks above the 75th percentile for his volume of crosses (3.91 per 90) and boasts an above-average accuracy rate (38.3 per cent) for crosses when compared to his positional peers in Portugal’s top flight.

Araujo’s dribble volume (3.25 per 90) ranks in the top quarter while his success rate (56.41 per cent) is just above average for a Primera Liga full-back/wing-back. His progressive runs rank, 1.67 per 90, is above the 50th percentile.

His possession section is interesting. He ranks below the 50th percentile for volume of both his overall passing and forward passes and he has one of the lowest ranks for both his overall passing accuracy (70.05 per cent) and forward pass accuracy (55.78 per cent).

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These lower ranks for the volume of these two passing metrics, in particular, are likely impacted by Estoril averaging a below-league-average ball possession of 46 per cent. It may also be the role Araujo is being asked to carry out in possession. He ranks much higher for longer and progressive passes, often more difficult passes, but does boast slightly higher ranks for his accuracy in these types of passes, compared to overall passes and forward passes.

For key passes, Araujo’s 0.42 per 90, is just above the average mark for a Primeira Liga full-back/wing-back, while his overall xA (0.08 per 90) is not huge, and in the 37th percentile compared to other full-backs/wing-backs in the league.

In his defensive section, Araujo’s duel success rates are noticeable. He ranks in the 74th rank for his defensive duel win rate (62.16 per cent) and has one of the best aerial win rates (60.71 per cent) for a full-back/wing-back in the league.

There are other encouraging signs in his defensive section too. He ranks above the 50th percentile for his PAdj Interceptions (6.36 per 90) while for all his defensive actions, Araujo has one of the lowest foul rates for a wide defender in the league, committing just 0.5 per 90.


As just seen in his data, a significant proportion of Araujo’s attacking output comes through his crossing. He holds the width well, stretching the pitch to receive in space for him to then deliver balls into the box. He also uses his pace to attack the space, often latching onto balls in behind in wide areas with well-timed runs. The below graphic from Wyscout gives a bit more insight into Araujo’s crossing.

Here we can see a variation in terms of crosses from deeper areas but also higher up the pitch. All are in wider areas and more often high crosses than on the ground. In the last year, his 66 crosses have generated 1.59 in xA and led to two goals. So, although one of his main methods of chance creation, they do not always lead to the highest quality of chances.

Even though he ranked ok for his accuracy in the data benchmarking against his positional peers in Portugal, there is no doubt he could work on his consistency in the quality of his deliveries, especially when he is put under more pressure.

That said, as can be seen in the below example, from out wide on the touchline, Araujo does have excellent technique when it comes to his crossing. Here, he whips a ball into the box that drops in between the opposition centre-backs and onto the head of his teammates for a headed effort on goal.

The below example showcases Araujo using his pace to get into good crossing positions, as mentioned. Making up plenty of yards in just a few seconds, he offers on the overlap to his midfielder who has picked up the loose ball inside the pitch.

Timing his run well, Araujo then delivers a first-time cross that picks out an Estoril forward at the back post.

As well as getting onto these crossing opportunities with runs off the ball, Araujo is also capable of carrying the ball to good effect.  As the below graphic from Wyscout shows, most of these also occur in high, wide areas of the opposition’s half.

As also seen in his data profile, the graphic further highlights his efficiency in his ball-carrying with possession maintained after 62 per cent of his dribbles.

Much of this effectiveness is down to Araujo’s previously mentioned physical attributes. His pace, and sound technical skills, allow him to carry the ball at speed while his tall frame and decent upper-body strength mean he can deal with most contact when carrying the ball.


As seen in his data analysis, Araujo did not show up too well across some possession metrics. Again, some of this can be put down to the role he is being asked to play at Estoril, especially in their build-up, rather than his performances.

Estoril often go short from the goalkeeper and work the ball around the back, looking to free Araujo out wide. More often than not, and likely a direct tactical instruction, Araujo then looks to play a quick switch across to the wide right attacker. An example is shown below.

This can be quite effective for Estoril at times, and it showcases impressive range in Araujo’s passing but, as mentioned, these passes are inevitably more difficult to consistently hit with accuracy and this might have something to do with his low overall accuracy.

This can be seen in the above graphic from Wyscout which shows particularly low accuracy of forward passes in that deepest position.

There is no doubt Araujo has good technical ability, as you would expect from a player who has come through the ranks at Benfica, but there are times he can look a little slack on the ball. He also tends to be a bit over-reliant on his stronger left foot.

Even considering the previously mentioned context, this may be something of a concern, especially as he will be on the ball much more, should he make the move to Celtic, than he is used to at Estoril.


What would not be as much of a concern would be Araujo’s defensive abilities.

Current first-choice Greg Taylor’s lack of speed and physicality has been exploited this season, more so at the Champions League level but even at times domestically while he is also often targeted with aerial balls given his height.

Araujo’s arrival would go some way to addressing these issues if he were to sign on at Celtic Park.

As mentioned already, Araujo has plenty of pace which not only makes him a threat going forward but also allows him to quickly fill spaces and track back. His height is also an advantage when it comes to aerial duels.

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Similarly, in defensive/ground duels, Araujo is strong and he uses his frame well to shield the ball in 1v1s.

He doesn’t just rely on his physical attributes defensively though. Despite his attacking instincts from playing further forward, Araujo shows good defensive awareness and reads the game well. An example of this from a recent game away at Braga is shown below.

Here, Araujo shows good awareness of what is going on around him, spotting the run in behind of the Braga winger on his outside.

As the ball is played over the top, attempting to pick out the winger, Araujo is quick to drop in and cut the ball out.

The below graphic from Wyscout gives more detail about Araujo’s recoveries, mapping all of his ball wins in the last calendar year.

His athleticism sees Araujo cover plenty of ground with recoveries all over the pitch but, predictably, most are up and down the left flank.

He has averaged 6.71 recoveries per 90 in the last year and 2.94 counterpressing recoveries per 90, the latter being something Rodgers has prioritised during his return to Celtic. With Araujo also completing 25 of his 70 counterpressing recoveries in the final third, this is encouraging that he would be well suited to the Hoops’ approach off-the-ball.


Despite a few question marks, particularly in possession, Tiago Araujo’s speed and athleticism are more in the mould of what Rodgers is looking for in a full-back. He looks defensively sound too and would bring some welcome additional height to the squad.

With a similar profile to Nantes left-back Quentin Merlin, who Celtic were linked to late in the summer window, Araujo would be a far better fit for the more up-and-down full-back role that Rodgers appears to prefer than either Taylor or Bernabei.

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A better physical fit for the manager, and with time on his side to tidy up some of those other areas of his game, Araujo’s arrival would bring the level up in an area of the team that has been badly in need of an injection of freshness, while also having the potential to develop further in the future.