Australia has been a hotbed of talent recently for Scottish sides, with Hearts trio Nathaniel Atkinson, Cameron Devlin and Kye Rowles making the move over to Europe and impressing massively. All three were in the Australia squad for the recent 2022 World Cup in Qatar, as was Keanu Baccus, a central midfielder playing for cinch Premiership side St Mirren.
Keanu Baccus is a 24 year old Australian midfielder. He first made his name in the A-League playing over 100 games for Western Sydney Wanderers until making the move in 2022 to St Mirren in Scotland. He has made 5 senior caps for Australia, including 4 appearances at the 2022 World Cup. He really showed his skills in a fantastic performance against Argentina in the Round of 16 where he played up against big stars such as Enzo Fernandez and Alexis Mac Allister, and didn’t look out of place.
I’d describe Baccus as a very energetic midfielder who has fantastic stamina and work rate. He has a really well rounded midfield game, decent at striking a ball on goal, good in a challenge and he’s very consistent at this, rarely having an extremely bad game. Box to box is how he plays, he’s not really a playmaker or an attacking midfielder, but he can get from box to box all game. Since returning from the World Cup, he has a had an up and down period, possibly caused by fatigue from playing at the World Cup, but his early season form was fantastic and easily one of St Mirren’s best players. It’s quite coincidental that when his form has dropped, St Mirren’s form has dropped too, as he is a vital cog to the team.
Looking at his stats, there’s no real big standout stats but every single stat he is either in around the average percentile or upper percentile. With 65.77% of forward passes being successful alongside 0.79 progressive runs per 90, he’s a good progressive option. 82.88% of lateral passes being successful means he can easily control play and tempo. There’s no real faults in his technical game, he uses good skill to turn players in the centre of the park. He looks to get himself around the pitch, constantly closing down, using his energy to force opposing defenders into mistakes.
He does have a few weaknesses to his game, he isn’t very strong which can be a hinderance in a physical league like the cinch Premiership, especially when playing up against a real strong central midfielder. Down to this lack of strength. Although, he does use his fast energetic game to press them into mistakes often. Another weakness he has is sometimes he’s far too keen, and will give away silly fouls when doing so. This is shown by being the second highest central midfielder in the cinch Premiership, with a minimum of 600 minutes, at giving away fouls (2.43 per 90).
He has already been rumoured to leave St Mirren in the past January transfer window with clubs in England, Scotland and Germany apparently interested in him, which with his real all round energetic game, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move up the ladder to another European team. I could see him playing well in a league such as Bundesliga especially a team that uses a Gegenpress system, he would be a fantastic addition.