Antonio Sanabria 20 Striker Real Betis Paraguay
A somewhat old-fashioned striker we quite like at IBWM despite some very obvious (but completely curable) flaws. He may not go on to become a €50m-plus superstar, but there’s something very endearing about this young man. We think potentially it’s a youth spent idolising Gary Lineker but seeing Sanabria as comfortable trying to poach as doing the more expansive stuff is joyful to us, and long may it continue.
2016 has been…
…hopefully the final year of change before settling down for a bit.
At the tender age of 21 Antonio Sanabria has already played for Barcelona B, Sassuolo, Roma, Sporting Gijon and now finally Real Betis who paid a reported €7.5m for him. That may seem cheap but there are lots of bonuses attached as is the modern way, but also it’s perhaps reflective of a man who did very well on loan at Gijon last season but who still has a lot of learn.
You see, while we do admit to liking this player a lot we are not blind to the fact he often needs two, three, four or even more chances to score a single goal. We call that Andy Cole-ing at IBWM Towers, by the way. He’s nowhere near clinical enough - he has a tendency to amaze you by doing something really complex and then in the same half miss an absolute sitter. He can also be selfish; most great strikers are admittedly but they also know when to back it off a touch. This can be written off to youth/inexperience at the moment, another season or two down the line and we hope he’s ironed out these kinks.
Last season he did pretty well for a young striker in one of the world’s major football leagues, he has his move, we would suggest he sits tight for a bit. He needs to learn his craft and five clubs in three years doesn’t lend itself to consistency or true growth.
He seemed to enjoy Gijon last year and the goals came in a relatively basic side, this year has been a bit tougher in truth. Defenders have seen what he’s about and planned accordingly, Sanabria is learning he needs to find new ways to get time and space. This season might become hard work but could be pivotal to his future development. All strikers need to understand their limits and how to break them, this might be his time and early enough in his career to become a really, really good player with proper application.
So, a personal favourite but who knows how good a player is actually in there? He’s a nearly man at the moment - the header off the bar, the shot off the post, the run just a fraction too late to connect with the ball. If he can get his head down and soak up every piece of advice he’s given like a sponge there might just be a cult hero in the making here.
C A good season with Gijon, a tough start with Betis, has limits, needs to forget them
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