Andraz Sporar 22 Striker FC Basel Slovenia
Slovenian centre forward Andraž Šporar has risen through football’s ranks at breakneck speed. He played most of his professional football in Slovenia at his home-town club, NK Olimpija Ljubljana, joining the reactivated club in 2012 and playing there until he agreed to join FC Basel last December. He ended his time at Olimpija with a remarkable 50 goals in 108 appearances.
2016 has been…
A disaster punctuated by progress. Basel won the league in 2015/16 but it had nothing to do with Šporar, who played just twenty minutes before tearing a tendon in his right foot in February. That injury and the accompanying surgery and recovery kept him out of action until September, and he’s had problems since then too. He’s started just twice in the league for Basel this season, and is yet to score for them.
That’ll stick in the craw for a player who trades in goals. Šporar finishes by instinct. He arrives at the right moment, positions himself well in the penalty area and keeps his efforts low. But he’s no fox in the box; he finishes well around the edge as well. He’s only occasionally spectacular, but he has that in his locker too. His determination and reactions closer to goal are more dangerous.
Šporar likes to start from the left with the ball and cut in on his right foot. In fact, if there’s one criticism to be made of the little football he’s played in 2016 it’s that he is rather one-footed. Luckily, the footwork he displays with that torn-up right foot marks him out as a prospect worth keeping an eye on.
And there are positives from this year. Moving to Basel is one. Making his Slovenia debut is another, and that arrived as recently as November.
The question that will hang like a cloud over Šporar until it’s answered is whether his natural goalscoring ability is enough for the step up he’s made. Not having scored yet for Basel isn’t a factor we can judge yet, but there’s been a flash of hope elsewhere. In September he started two games in six days for Basel II, scoring a hat-trick in each game. The next step? Prove he can do it in the Super League.
The doubt, and it’s a big one, is whether Šporar can stay often enough and for long enough to resolve that one way or another. There’s a real threat of limbo, and that’s a shame. We want to see what he’s truly capable of achieving in Swiss football.
D Get fixed, get fit and get firing
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