Image from: worldsoccertalk.com
In the last January transfer window, Chelsea paid Fiorentina over £27m, plus the loan of unsettled Egyptian winger Mohammed Salah, to bring Colombia star Juan Cuadrado to London. So far he has struggled to break into a very settled Chelsea team that strolled to the Premier League title last season.
As a player, Cuadrado offers a lot of value to a team, due to his versatility, being able to play both wings, behind the striker or as a very attacking full back. He also has one trait that Jose Mourinho particularly admires in players, a high workrate.
As a winger he is happy to roam about looking for space, trying to link up with his team mates, while also being extremely willing to track back and provide protection to the full back behind him. As a full back he is similar to Dani Alves, constantly charging forward looking to provide support to the attack, but he is much quicker at getting back into position than Alves.
Cuadrado has lightning pace and blistering acceleration to go with that workrate, that can make him very dangerous charging forward into space, as very few defenders can even hope to get back to him. Added to all the flair, the flicks and tricks he offers, Cuadrado has a decent cross, at times, and can create chances.
The problem is, for me, that his touch is not good enough and is too inconsistent for a long term future in the Chelsea team as a winger. I believe he is more dangerous as an attacking full back, where his touch is not as much of an issue, and he can find himself more space to attack the wide areas.
There are some worries over his temperament:
this punch into Cristian Cueva's back is not the only footage available of him getting into fights on the pitch.
Though he is much better known for playing with a smile on his face and his dancing goal celebrations:
Good to watch at times, but his lack of consistency of touch will hold him back, even though he clearly has the ability to be an exciting player who tears opponents apart. His defensive positioning does need work, if he does move to fullback on a regular basis, but his overall play should be well suited to being one of the best attacking fullbacks in the world.
With Colombia, he is often used to play fullback when the team is losing and needs a result, and when that happens, they look a better team, in my opinion. I just look forward to him getting a run of games with Chelsea to establish himself in any position, just to see that dance on a regular basis. It is one of those goal celebrations that brings a smile to the face, unless he scores against your team, of course.
Written by Tris Burke
|Match Date||21 Jun 2015|
|Free Kick Taking||11|
|Off The Ball||11|
Playing For: Colombia. On loan from Chelsea.
21 Jun 2015 Copa America Group Stage v Peru at Temuco.
Started at right midfield with license to roam, but moved to right back in the 57th minute after Pablo Armero was taken off.
Lacked the touch for a midfield role, his runs were easily shut off. Looked much more dangerous as a right back.
Put in some decent deliveries from corners.
Lucky to escape a red card after punching Cristian Cueva in the back.
Had a poor game, constantly running the ball into traffic or giving it away.
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