Harold Preciado 22 Striker Deportivo Cali Colombia
Free-scoring, Tumaco-born, Colombian centre-forward now on the fringes of full international recognition. Originally loaned out to the newly formed Jaguares de Córdoba for their Primera B campaign in 2014, Preciado demonstrated exactly why he is so highly thought of by his parent club, Deportivo Cali, as he steered his temporary employers to promotion. An impressive 21 goals in 36 starts emphasised the potential of the tall teenage frontman. Returning to Cali for the 2015 campaigns, Preciado continued his explosive scoring run, notching 25 times across a calendar year in which his team would secure their first league honour in ten years with an Apertura victory.
2016 has been...
More of the same. Harold Preciado is a very talented striker and a number of clubs across Europe are keeping a close eye on a player who is on the right track if not firing on all cylinders just yet. Following a disappointing two legged defeat to Atlético Nacional in the Colombian Super Cup at the start of the year, Deportivo Cali struggled to find much form in the league losing in the Apertura play-offs to eventual champions Independiente. Preciado's contribution, as with many of his colleagues at this point, was, perhaps, not at the same level as in previous campaigns, but he did hit something of a purple patch in late May scoring four goals in three games as Cali got their season on track.
This year has been about getting noticed and the Olympic football tournament in Brazil offered Preciado a wonderful opportunity to stand out. Despite failing to score in the tournament, Preciado emerged with some credit as Colombia reached the Quarter Final. Returning to Cali for the domestic season, Preciado has struggled to regain his form from 2015 but this has not majorly impacted his side too much. Strong performances across the year from midfielders Andres Perez, Andres Roa and the Argentinian Fabian Sambueza have been the bedrock of a difficult to break down, rather than free scoring, Cali side.
The system employed by Deportivo Cali coach Mario Yepes has not played to the strengths of his talented young striker, but there has been a visible upturn in form recently with the rangy Preciado scoring in each of the last four matches for his club as they secured second place in the league ahead of the final stages of the season. It's going to be interesting to see how things play out for Preciado as there has to be a strong likelihood that the striker will move to Europe in January. While a number of clubs have watched, no definite names have emerged as yet but that could change very quickly. Preciado can score goals, is effective running at opponents and can create for others. There seems to be very little in his game that requires major work and you can expect that view to be shared by one of the big players in Spain, Italy or the Netherlands.
C+ Watch this space
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