Why Tajon Buchanan is perfect for Inter Milan – Tactical Analysis

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Just under five years ago, Tajon Buchanan was playing for a little-known club here in Ontario called Sigma FC, under the tutelage of Bobby Smyrniotis. Today, he’s being linked with a move to one of Europe’s biggest clubs – Inter Milan. Buchanan’s had quite the rapid rise from a dynamic dribbling right-sided central midfielder for New England, to one of Canada’s most influential players. He’s excelled for Club Brugge as a right-wing-back the past couple of seasons, and now looks destined for a move to one of the grandest stages in European football. Here is our analysis of what makes Tajon Buchanan perfect for Inter Milan.


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Tajon Buchanan is capable of fulfilling a number of different positions and roles based on his unique skillset. He’s incredibly quick, agile, and silky smooth on the ball, allowing him to transcend multiple positions across the midfield and forward lines.

For New England, he played on the right of a 4-3-1-2. For Canada, he’s fulfilled the right and left-wing-back slots, while also playing as part of an illustrious attacking trio involving Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David, typically in a 3-4-2-1 system.

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For Brugge he’s also predominantly held wing-back responsibilities in a 3-5-2 formation. However, when the Belgian club switch to a 4-3-3, Buchanan again switches into that front-line to take advantage of his electric speed and formidable 1v1 ability.

As you can see from his heatmap, that means that he most frequently fits the billing as a right-sided player and operates up and down the wing, whether that be as a wing-back or member of the front-line.

Tajon Buchanan’s heatmap in 2022-23 – Belgian Pro League

He also looks for moments to receive the ball in advanced attacking areas within the half-spaces, where he can then attract pressure with his dribbling and deliver for someone else.

The key thread between each of Buchanan’s teams is that while they often boast nice possession and keep the ball with an air of confidence and swagger, they also dominate quick counter attacking transitions. This is essential as an Inter Milan wing-back, as the wide areas are often where they will look to create immediate numerical superiorities.

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Given his unique skillset, he’s the type of player that can win possession, and then immediately break lines of pressure on his own to expand the team’s counter attacking horizons.

As we’ve eluded to, Buchanan would best be described in our RCES system as a ‘Dynamic Dribbler’. He loves to take players on, dance around with stepovers and shoulder fakes, and electrocute defenders with his burning pace. He can then use that shifty footwork to draw defenders in, and play passes onto others.

As a ’10’ or midfielder, he’s more of a ‘Midfield Maestro’, instilling the exact same attacking endeavour on the ball. Both roles encourage his phenomenal ability to break lines of pressure and advance the play, even if his end product for Brugge could improve. Even as a ‘Wing-Back’ he typically plays high and wide, and holds more attacking responsibilities than defensive ones.

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For a club like Inter Milan, who have excelled in recent years with the likes of Achraf Hakimi and Denzel Dumfries, this attacking endeavour is imperative. Simone Inzaghi used a back-three throughout his time at Lazio, and has only continued from where Antonio Conte left off since entering the frame at Inter. That means high-flying attack minded wing-backs are imperative to the system.

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But with Tajon Buchanan’s versatility and silky smooth ball control, he could also create a new dynamic as the team’s right-sided central midfielder in a 3-5-2. This would bring out the best in his attacking quality from centrally focused channels and the half-spaces, as the likes of Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Marcelo Brozovic play a sightly more reserved role in the midfield.

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That versatility might become particularly key in the Canadian’s quest to establish himself at a European elite, especially given the vast competition for places. Robin Gosens and Federico Dimarco have battled for the left-wing-back slot since Ivan Perisic left for Spurs, and 22-year-old Raoul Bellanova is already starting to show signs of promise to challenge Denzel Dumfries on the other side.

But again, what he offers above others is the flexibility for Inter to change shape, opt for a three-man attack, or to even play his part in midfield when required. This would make Buchanan a tremendously valuable asset for the Italian giants.


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When on the ball, Tajon Buchanan is absolutely electric. Difficult to stop when in full flow, the 24-year-old strikes fear into the opposition any time he breathes. From that fear factor and fanciful footwork combined, Buchanan accomplishes everything you’d expect of a ‘Dynamic Dribbler’. That is…

-> He wins a significant amount of fouls for his team, and typically draws the opposition into set-ups that force them to double team his brilliance.
-> He takes many risks on the ball, which pays off in the raw numbers of dribbles completed, even if not always in percentage.
-> He creates a number of shot-creating-actions, and is typically a target to receive progressive passes and passes into the penalty area.

Buchanan also spikes green on areas like long passing ability and forward progression, which speaks well to his ability to switch play over to the other flank and provide from deeper positions when required. The key task for any ‘Dynamic Dribbler’ is to decide when to enact the brilliance on the ball, and when to play the foil and allow teammates to shine instead.

Working with high-school aged players of the Buchanan mold, many young ‘Dynamic Dribblers’ even make around the same number of passes as they do dribbles. That’s just the way they spread their confidence and influence over a match, and make their presence felt to impact the game.

But the game is ultimately one that tends to be won by teams rather than individuals. The fact that Buchanan spikes higher on the accuracy of his passes into the final third (80%), forward passes (73%) and through passes (63%) than the bulk of Inter wing-backs, speaks well to his ability to be more than just a dribbler, but also a provider for others.

But it then becomes somewhat of an issue when Buchanan will do more than needed. He’ll smoothly dance around one opposition player with ease, progressively carry the ball into new space, but then go too far before releasing the play.

His low dribbling percentage of 44% comes down to often running out of room, or endeavouring to take on an extra player in spite of a simpler option. Some managers will love this kind of attacking intent regardless of the numbers, but it’s still an area of his game that could sharpen.

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Beyond his on-the-ball supremacy, the Canadian wing-back is also a smart maneuver off-the-ball. He’s an intelligent mover and shaker when it comes to seeking out space, making progressive runs forward, and receiving the ball in dangerous positions. Of the Inter wing-backs, only Bellanova (4.56) has made more progressive runs per 90 than Buchanan (3.09).

Combine the tactical awareness with the raw physicality and speed to get into dangerous attacking positions, and that fear factor only grows. He wastes no time in getting into the box to finish off chances, even if it means abandoning team width.

Bellanova also happens to be the only Inter wing-back to surpass the Canadian on dribbles per 90 (5.8 – Wyscout) and attacking duels per 90 (11.1), signalling the 24-year-old’s intent to take players on. The Canadian masterfully gets low when taking players on, ensuring he can easily switch direction on the drop of a dime. When it comes to fouls won per 90, he’s practically untouchable (2.1) and right up there with the best in the world.

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Again, the attacking side of the game is where Buchanan excels. He’d instantly improve Inter Milan’s attacking endeavours through the confidence and bravado he provides and provide a more dynamic on-the-ball cutting edge to what they currently have at their disposal.


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The defensive side of Buchanan’s game could still use reinforcements. He has many of the tendencies of a winger who would much rather attack than defend, rather than a wing-back who’s grown up defending for fun. But having played as a wing-back for a few years now, Buchanan’s defensive awareness is starting to grow.

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In the Alphonso Davies vein, the 24-year-old can make up defensive ground through his recovery pace alone. He’s adept at getting back into position within his line of defense, quickly emerging goal-side and ball-side from the nearest player.

In the front end of the pitch, Buchanan is often quick to pressure whenever the ball finds its way toward his zone or a nearby player. This can often force opposition errors, but he will need to be careful not to fly in too fast.

The Brugge wing-back boasts impressive defensive duelling percentages (64.3% this season), but has never been the most disciplined. He’s picked up 9 yellow cards across his matches for the Belgian giants this season, without winning too many tackles.

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He has the necessary pace to recover position, and certainly the game intelligence to patiently hold position and remain disciplined as part of an organized Simone Inzaghi system.

But at present, he’s also often overzealous and too willing to take matters into his own hands. This is certainly a side of his game that would be required to grow if Inter were to make a move for the Canadian, and at 24-years-old he still has time to develop his patience.


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Despite the quality of depth that Inter Milan already have at their disposal, Tajon Buchanan would increase Inter’s versatility and flexibility, and would be an excellent addition to Simone Inzaghi’s side. He certainly fits the billing when it comes to system and style of play, and would be a tremendously difficult player for opposition sides to contend. If he can then sharpen up the defensive side of the game and his discipline, Inzaghi will have a selection headache on his hands. For Tajon Buchanan and the entire Canadian soccer scene, it’s a wonderful thing to see one of our own ready to follow in the footsteps of Alphonso Davies and join one of Europe’s elite sides. Tajon Buchanan would make a mark on Inter Milan, and we sincerely can’t wait to see him tearing it up in Serie A and the UEFA Champions League if the move comes to fruition.

So there it is! Why Tajon Buchanan is perfect for Inter Milan. Be sure to check out more of our Tactical Analyses, and follow on social media @mastermindsite. Thanks for reading and see you soon!


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rhys desmond – founder of themastermindsite

Across the past decade, I have worked with thousands of players and coaches across multiple sports and disciplines. I recognize the value of diving deeper beyond the first glance, and uncovering the deeper-lying ways to enhance performance. I make a commitment toward positive reinforcement, research-backed insights, and making the experience fun for those that work with me.

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