Wednesday, 29 November 2006

The new Redondo?

Much has been written about the impending transfer of Argentinian wunderkind Fernando Gago from Boca Juniors to Real Madrid, most of it revolving around his fast-rising price tag and Ramón Calderón's need to add to his good news collection for this Sunday's Annual General Meeting.

However, an article in the Guardian's Sport Blog focuses on his playing style and asks interesting questions about how well he would fit into Capello's scheme at Real Madrid. The article quotes Jorge Valdano: "The club's idea is to bring him not as an alternative to Emerson or Diarra, but to Guti, but Gago doesn't play like Guti. Gago is a midfielder who needs another midfielder, but one bodyguard is enough. Otherwise, he has to play more forward, and the more forward he plays, the less of a player he is. Gago will join Madrid, won't play, and his evolution will be delayed because the only way to progress is competing, not watching matches from the subs bench. The list of players who failed arriving aged 20 a big club is so long that it's best to discuss the only exception: Kaká".

If we assume that Calderón is remaining true to his word and not bringing in players that have not been recommended after a technical assessment, then Capello must have a place for him in the squad. If he can't play as far forward as Guti, then this raises two problems: there is still no substitute for the only playmaker in the squad, and which of Emerson or Diarra will he replace? Given that Capello has been very reluctant to make any changes to his 'double pivot', you have to wonder what his plans are for Gago.

Will he therefore go the way of so many other young players at Real who never made the grade due to lack of opportunities or because they just did not fit in with the manager du jour's plans? The tag 'The new Redondo' is a hard one to live up to (just ask the Manchester United faithful) and maybe Real are just getting in there to prevent others taking advantage of this emerging talent. Let's hope not.


linda said...

To follow on from what I said in my blog, if Real want him as an alternative to Guti then this move will be a disaster. Gago is simply not that type of player. I thought he would replace Emerson, which might work. Otherwise things could get very bleak for Gago, as you point out.

I've seen him play the most last year in the World Youth Championship for Argentina, where him and Lucas Biglia 'rotated' as one of the holding players. For me, Biglia was more impressive by a hair (now playing for Anderlecht, you might remember him if you watched Real's pre-season friendly with them), but Gago showed some good creative touches, linking well with Messi (who was playing mostly in midfield) and defended solidly.

Real do need a backup for Guti, and badly. For me, they might do well to abandon their (almost obsessive, if you'll forgive me saying so) chase of Kaka and try to sign someone who would actually be able to come as soon as possible.

Gonzalo said...

Most commentators seem to agree Gago is more suited to the Emerson role-position than the Guti role. Kaká is an obsession for Calderón because his inability to sign him in the summer keeps being thrown in in his face. It's a shame we do not get to see more of de la Red, who is a straight replacement for Guti. Capello does not feel confident enough in his own squad to start the lad, and Guti blew his chance to debut at the Bernabéu by getting sent off.

Anonymous said...

Of course he is not a Guti type of player he just ment that he is a defensive-playmaker (someone who defends and creats from deeper positions)that can carry some of his own in defence, but he does need some support. He will come in as a replacement for Emerson as well as Diarra. He knows that when Gago comes to madrid he will send time on the bench that is why he thinks it is wise that he goes on loan or stays at boca for a while.