Lewis Ferguson: The Scottish Bagpipe in Thiago Motta’s Orchestra 

There are currently two Scottish players in Serie A: Lewis Ferguson (Bologna) and Josh Doig (Hellas Verona). The recent increase in Scottish players in Serie A has been a story of intrigue, including the success of Aaron Hickey at Bologna (who was later sold to Brentford for a significant profit) and indicates a shift in scouting strategy by Italian clubs looking for young talent at a good value, particularly outside of England.


Ferguson began his youth career at Rangers, the club where his father, Derek Ferguson, had made over 100 appearances for, before moving to Hamilton Academical. He made his senior debut for Hamilton in 2018 and then moved to Aberdeen later that year. After four seasons with Aberdeen, he signed with Bologna in July 2022 — within 15 months, he was made club captain. Ferguson has also represented Scotland at the youth international level and made his senior debut in September 2021.


Joshua Zirkzee Grabbing His Second Chance in Italy with Both Hands at Bologna


Lewis Ferguson is perhaps one of such players that have gone under the radar, which wouldn’t perhaps be the case if he like his fellow countrymen abroad were playing on British shores. However, Ferguson’s performances have reached the point that his quality has become undeniable and too valuable to go under the radar.


Player Profile


Technical Skills


For a side such as Motta’s Bologna wherein keeping the ball is a very important cog of tactical approach, Ferguson’s ability on the ball has been further accentuated. This season Ferguson has ranked as highly in most possession metrics in comparison to other midfielders across Europe, highlighting his dependable nature in possession.


Ferguson’s increased frequency in the attacking third offers the best platform for his type of passing ability, one more akin for final ball provisions, especially being that he has limited passing variations in his arsenal, but yet his presence just right behind Joshua Zirkzee has highlighted his ability to deliver the final pass for the Dutch center forward. 


In transition, especially quick ones, Ferguson has been able to serve as the end of passing sequences that directly lead to a chance on the counter, using his ability to time passes to a high level, which has been of a high benefit to playing off him as a striker.


Photo: Sofascore


Physical Attributes


Power, strength and agility are physical traits that best describe Ferguson’s physical makeup on the pitch, his strength isn’t just limited to his duels though, he’s also a powerful carrier and has incredible shooting power too. Ferguson has always been characterized as a player with an outstanding engine even right from his time in Scotland, and even more so for Motta, providing box to box industry where necessary.


Photo: Sofascore


Mental Attributes


Tenacity and boldness can be used to best describe Ferguson’s mental profiling, and such is the belief he exudes that he has become trusted with the armband for Bologna despite being a recent foreign import. His drive and ability to maintain focus is perhaps why Motta has depended on him for an average of 89 minutes across all his starts in Serie A thus far this season. His attitude to the game also puts his engine to the maximum usage, winning duels on either side of midfield as well as in deeper zones of the field.


Thiago Motta’s Bologna: Daring to Dream at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara

Playing Style


Under Motta, Ferguson has become an active final third aggressive threat, pushing into the box or arriving into space to supplement Joshua Zirkzee in central attacking positions, his aggressive and tenacious application also see him apply his skillsets across other areas of the pitch and in a variety of roles as well. Whether it’s winning the ball in the final third or defensive third, Ferguson is sure to apply himself either way, and despite being an industrious midfield player, he still possesses the technical skillset to be trustworthy in possession without expectations for Hollywood passes.





Lewis Ferguson enjoyed an impressive debut campaign in Italy that saw him score 7 goals in 32 appearances, the highest tally from a Scottish player in Serie A since Denis Law racked up 7 in 1961/62. He has already surpassed Law as the all-time leading Scottish scorer in Serie A, and he looks set to surpass last season’s account, having racked up 6 goals and 4 assists in 28 appearances. At 24 years of age, Ferguson’s impressive form has seen him emerge as a regular captain for Bologna, who are on course for their first European qualification in two decades, and it could very well see him earn a big-money move in the summer.


Ferguson would be any modern manager’s dream player, as he’s adaptable to either transition sides or more possession-oriented teams. His versatility also ensures he’s dependable in playing whatever role in-game situations demand. He’s also got the important trait of availability too, missing only 5 games in the last 5 seasons due to injury. Overall it’s little wonder as to why Ferguson has been a key component for Motta’s renaissance of Bologna and their quest for Champions League football, as he’ll clearly make a high performer for just about any side, making it inevitable that his signature would soon be very much in demand across Europe.


By: @free__flowing

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Alessandro Sabattini / Getty Images