José Giménez 21 Defender Atlético Madrid Uruguay
An absolute tiger of a defender, by which we mean it’s magnificent to watch him stalking around the football pitch but at any one moment he might snap and attack someone.
We love aggression in defenders as long as it’s tempered and forged in the right areas. This young man has all the ability in the world but it feels like karma gave him a short fuse for balance. Once thought of as one of the single most promising young defenders in world football his stock has fallen a little, but we’re certain that won’t last.
2016 has been…
…a huge learning curve.
Trusted enough by his manager that his sanctioning of the sale of Miranda didn’t feel like a risk, Diego Simeone has had to rein Giménez back in this season. His talent is still just as precocious as when he broke through in 2014, but it was time to look seriously at the temperament that had cost Atlético in more than one game this year. He was wound up far too easily by Luis Suarez in a Champions League game against Barcelona for example. Concentration went and as Neymar’s knee could attest, the challenges became fast and loose. Then there was the nightmare first half against Bayern that cost his side a penalty, a goal and nearly their Champions League final place.
So this year he has found himself limited by injury and Stefan Savic. Simeone has been keen to praise his young centre-back but slow to trust him fully again.
Lessons to be learned we think.
Well, for a player known to be up for it now is his time to fight but in the right way. Take the chances as and when they come in the first team, and know that they will as Champions League clubs have to play the squad game. His talent isn’t and will never be in doubt, but it’s all about his ability to learn. If, and this is a huge if, if he were to leave in the summer there is no shortage of clubs queuing up to take him. Manchesters City and United are keen, Barcelona themselves have reportedly asked to be kept informed, as have Real but crossing the city seems fanciful to us. What he does next could inform a huge portion of his career - does he stay and try to prove he’s worthy of a place in Atlético’s first team or does he move before any more time on the substitute’s bench starts to harm his prospects. He needs to finish 2017 injury-free and playing regularly - will that be at his current club? We’re not sure.
The talent is vast, and we like this young defender a huge amount, but we’re worried about that combustible temper and his immediate future. He could, with the right chances and coaching, be one of the best defenders in the world in 5 years time. He could also be a classic nearly man. Huge, huge, huge potential, we’re desperate to see it fulfilled.
C Nowhere near free fall but going backwards having started the year as one of the standout players on this list. We’re nervous
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