22 Midfielder PAOK Albania
He tends to play as the deeper midfielder of a two or three on the team sheet, but can play further up the pitch with a couple of lovely goals for both club and country already scored to prove it. A true defensive midfielder, for IBWM at least, is someone who sits and protects first and foremost. Kaçe is a bit more energetic than that. I clarify as it would be fair to say many who read this may not have seen him play, but think of him as a box-to-box player who starts from deep and you get the general gist.
2015 has been…
We won’t waste the word count on all of 2013/14’s trials and tribulations (there is a brief summation on Wiki if you want or thousands of words elsewhere should you so desire) but safe to say when you can look back and be glad you’ve neither caused a race riot or needed a Prime Minister to step in and defend you in the last 12 months, Ergys Kaçe can be certain he’s had a quieter year.
The tent pole moment of his 2015 was obviously the wonderful free-kick that earned Albania a 1-0 win over France in the summer, but he’s also ticked along quite nicely for PAOK. He may not have the sprinkling of fairy dust some on this list provide but he’s neat and tidy, working on what has been a fiery temperament (only one booking this season to date after a hatful in the last two years), keeping a lower profile and is now back in the international mix after his previous controversies pushed him out. Like we said, a neater 12 months in every respect.
He was linked in the summer with a potential transfer to Newcastle United or a couple of Turkish clubs for about €2m. While the Premier League would be a huge and unrealistic leap, it’s clear the move’s coming. Kaçe himself understands this having refused to extend his contract with PAOK (much to their fan’s chagrin) and the links to Süper Lig clubs feel about right. He’ll finish this season with over a hundred appearances in the Greek league and if he is going to grow, a new challenge would help no end.
Not every player who gets into the 100 is going on to have a huge career in one of Europe’s top 4 or 5 leagues, and in truth we would be surprised if Kaçe did. There’s nothing wrong with “just” being good and provided he steers clear of any future political hot water, we’re sure he’ll have a productive time somewhere. However, with Albania qualifying for Euro2016 now would be a good time to start to show a little more perhaps.
C A better year, less trouble, a solid if not spectacular future awaits
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