Oscar Cortes (Millonarios FC/RC Lens) – Scout Report

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Colombian
  • Age: 19
  • Date of Birth: 03/12/2003
  • Height: 176cm
  • Current Club: RC Lens
  • Career: Millonarios
  • Position: Winger / Attacking Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Right

Óscar Cortés is a Colombian winger and attacking midfielder who has been on the radar of several European clubs, none more so than RC Lens. The French club looks set to complete a move rumoured to be worth €4.5 million for the talented young player who enjoyed an excellent campaign at the U20 World Cup where he scored four goals for his country. The young Colombian can play anywhere in the attacking midfield areas, his primary position being on the wing but he is equally as comfortable as a number 10. He is a very versatile player who is able to adapt to whichever position his manager requires him to play. At 176cm he is not overly tall which of course means that he has a lower centre of gravity therefore it is quite difficult for an opponent to knock him off the ball.

Cortés loves being on the ball, he is a player that thrives in possession as he is technically very gifted and has a very direct style of play. The 19-year-old actively looks to beat his opponent whenever he is in possession, this is incredibly useful for his team when they are looking to transition from defence to attack. His effortless way of carrying the ball coupled with a wonderful burst of acceleration means that Cortés is the ideal ‘out’ ball when the team is looking to counterattack quickly and with intent. He has a great amount of agility which allows him to change direction at speed and is able to execute an explosive turn of pace which allows him to skip past his opponent with relative ease.

He particularly enjoys cutting inside from the left wing, often waiting for the defender to make the first move to tackle him which allows Cortés to cut inside and create some extra space for himself. The ability to use both the wide areas and the half spaces makes Cortés a great asset in the attacking phase of play. He particularly likes to execute quick link-ups with a teammate which takes one or two opposition players out of the game and allows him to then run into open spaces.

Cortés frequently displays how his intelligent and dynamic movements when both in and out of possession often lead to goal-scoring opportunities being created. He is able to anticipate when and where his teammates will play the ball, through well-timed runs down the wing or into the half spaces, he finds himself in advantageous positions which is beneficial to the team. Additionally, his dynamic movements without the ball contribute to the overall team strategy. His ability to constantly move into space forces the opposition’s defence to adjust and reposition themselves, thereby creating openings for his teammates in other areas of the pitch. This stretches the defence horizontally, creating gaps that can be exploited by midfielders, strikers, or overlapping full-backs. Consequently, the team’s attacking options increase, leading to a more versatile and unpredictable structure in the attacking phase.

We can also see that Cortés likes to shoot from the edge of the area should the opportunity arise. His shots are often powerful and accurate, with five goals from an xG of 2.93 in the league this season, the Colombian has been scoring some low percentage chances, of course, a mitigating factor in this could be the quality of the opposition defence and goalkeepers so it is difficult to say whether this would be replicable in Ligue 1 but Lens fans can infer that their new signing certainly has an eye for goal. Cortés is a player who looks to cross the ball from wide areas, when playing on the left he will naturally look to cut back onto his right foot but he is more than willing to run to the byline and use his weaker left foot to cross the ball in. Many of his crosses are more hopeful than accurate, he perhaps needs to look up and assess where his teammates are before blindly playing the ball across the penalty area. 

There are a couple of areas for development within his game, for example; when his team loses the ball, Cortés is often very quick to look to press, especially when there is a good opportunity to recover possession swiftly. However, when in the defensive phase there is sometimes a lack of effort from the youngster which makes it much easier for the opposition player to get past him or to beat him in a defensive duel. He can also be a little slow to get back into the team’s defensive shape which of course means that the opposition could take advantage of any space left by Cortés’ absence in the structure. Moreover, in the attacking phase, when closely marked he can fade out from the game, the 19-year-old is not a player who operates in pockets of space, he much prefers vast areas to run into, and much of his skillset is well-suited to a counterattacking team.

Óscar Cortés is far from the finished article but he is a raw talent with a huge amount of potential. His direct style of play which sees him constantly running at his opponent could be a real game-changer for Lens. His ability to draw fouls and force the opposition back into their own penalty area can allow his teammates to take up excellent positions that can lead to goal-scoring opportunities. Cortés is sometimes just a fraction too quick to move as if his mind is thinking one step ahead of what is happening on the pitch. If harnessed correctly this ability to think one step ahead can be a fantastic quality to have and coupled with his creativity means that we could see Lens become incredibly dynamic in attack next season. Whilst there are some defensive issues that Franck Haise will want to address as there is no room for passengers in his Lens team, it’s unlikely that Cortés will be thrown in at the deep end and be a starter immediately. Instead, it is far more likely that the Colombian will be given time to adapt and perhaps will be limited to substitute appearances initially.

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