In the second post deadline day article, we look at our new target man; the Argentinean Denis Stracqualursi and how he will supplement our squad with the pros and cons of the deal for the club explained…..
Stracqualursi topped the scoring charts in the Argentinean Premier Division last season, registering a shooting accuracy of 72% yielding 20 goals – including a hat trick against Boca Juniors. He possesses good hold up play and most of his goals are headers from inside the box – a new target for Leighton Baines deliveries.
Why do we need him?
Apart from the obvious – having no strikers & a lack of goals – the big problem we faced last season is that away from home against better sides with Saha injured (eg Man Utd ) with Beckford upfront we couldn’t hold the ball up, possession was lost and as a consequence we couldn’t build any sustained periods of play in the opposition half.
Beckford was used as a deputy, but the issue with Beckford was that his movement outside the box simply wasn’t good enough for a Premier League player where you need a lot more than simply being able to finish – a quality Beckford certainly possesses. Against rigid defences you need strikers to come short or work the flanks, to drag rigid defences out of position to enable attacking mids to exploit the space in behind . Whilst Beckford’s movement inside the box was good, outside the box it fell way short and he couldn’t hold the ball up for the team – not even working the defenders in a way Cahill will always do.
It is principally Beckford’s inability to provide any defensive option (and maybe his personal relationship with DM) that led to DM losing patience with him. Even though Beckford offers a more considerable goal threat, Anichebe was often preferred in away games with physically strong outfits (eg Bolton, Blackburn ) for his ability to work the channels and defend at set plays even though as we all know Victor provides zero goal threat. Obviously, when you play one or the other of these two you lose something either at one end or the other. Stracqualursi provides goal scoring ability and the physical resolution at 6.3” to assist in both boxes.
His strength is his physicality then, but his weakness would appear to be, like Beckford, limited movement outside the box. Respected International Football Scout Tor-Kristian Karlsen watched the Argentinean this spring and commented on how our new striker is ‘Powerful, strong in the air, has a good shot but movement is poor, little finesse and dodgy touch’ and wait for it ‘Looks like a centre back playing upfront’. Ouch. Argentine forwards have been quite hit and miss on these shores - granted Tevez has impacted massively but just as emphatic in terms of flopping where Estaban Fuertes (one goal…yes v Everton) and more recently Wigan’s calamitous purchase of Boselli from Independiente
Will he be first choice?
For me, Saha will start if fit, most likely with closest support from Osman or Cahill in a 4-2-3-1. But as we know, LS will play (maximum) 60% of games in a season – so Denis will get plenty of game time. There is the option of starting him alongside Saha – in home games Cahill takes up a role as high up the field to legitimately say it’s a 4-4-2. So this is another option.
A decent shout from Moyes and the scouting team this one. As is par the course with the Scotsman an initial loan (as was case with Piennar, Arteta) enables him the opportunity to monitor whether he can adapt to the EPL with just a small loan fee lost if it doesn’t work out. He certainly has part of the desired skill set – the physicality we crave and a goal threat. Fingers crossed it works out and his movement isn’t as bad as Mr Karlsen informs.