20 Midfielder Porto (on loan from Atlético Madrid) Spain
2014 has been...
…good, coming along very nicely.
We make no secret of our love for the Primeira Liga at IBWM Towers. Yes we know it’s not the most competitive of leagues, yes we’re aware the big clubs get bigger and everyone else is just following behind, but is that really so different from most of the bigger European leagues now? We also love it because it’s a good place for young footballers to develop and grow. There’s a pedigree there and Atlético Madrid know that, here’s hoping Óliver comes along as well as we all hope.
One of Spain’s international youth football breakout stars, Óliver is already well known to many thanks to his exploits at U18, U19, U20 and U21 level. Atlético know they have a player but last season’s title run in was not the right time to allow him the patience to develop in the first team, and so a loan to Villarreal was brokered. After impressing another loan has been taken this season to Porto but Atlético are keen to stress they have no wish to sell him. As well stocked as they are in central-midfield they have high hopes more experience and time to develop will pay off, and it would be fair to say that Óliver has more of a chance than most.
This is a highly-talented footballer still at a young age, playing in one of the key positions on the pitch in modern football. He can naturally be immature and has a few rough edges to be knocked off, but there is definitely something special within. He’s started this season in great form, three goals in thirteen appearances to date and stand out games against Rio Ave and BATE already under his belt, it’s time to really kick on. That would be our main criticism, he is merely good in games he could be great, and on reflection we’d take that criticism in our day job quite happily.
All Óliver needs to do for the minute is keep on keeping on. He’s in form, getting plenty of time on the pitch and seems content in his surroundings. Atlético are hoping he has a big future but we would advise him to not accept anything less than a club who are going to give him first-team football next year. He’ll end up (injury permitting) playing forty games this year including Champion’s League football, he’s too good to sit on a bench so it might be time for an awkward conversation with Diego Simeone in the summer. Chelsea are long-term admirers apparently ready to move at the merest hint of a transfer, we’ll see what the close season brings.
Internationally he’s enormously well thought of and it’s almost impossible not to think he’ll get his full cap at some point. The key will be to keep playing football rather than making cameos from a bench somewhere. He’s in a good league to grow this year and needs to enjoy it, worry about what comes next when you have to. We like Óliver a lot but think he needs to believe in himself a bit more. Experience and minutes on the pitch will help, becoming a settled and integral part of a club also, but there’s not doubt he’s going to be a very good player. Can he be a great one? Time will tell but we’re putting the price of a pint on him being part of the Spanish squad for the World Cup in 2018…
“Neat and tidy, good on the ball and fun to watch, just needs to look like he’s enjoying it a bit more” – Dave Hartrick
C+ Take it to the next level please, we know it’s in there, believe in yourself.
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