Friday, January 20, 2017

How Will Zaza Do at Valencia?

Valencia recently acquired the services of one Simone Zaza. The former Juventus and West Ham player comes to us on a loan deal that cost us about 2 million, per Marca, and will cost us another 16 million if he plays 10 or more games for us. The Italian international striker has had difficulty logging minutes at West Ham because of a similar clause in his contract that West Ham didn’t want to activate it.

However, whether or not we keep and use him will depend on how well he plays for us and how well he fits into our system.

In his best years as a player, from Sassuolo from 2014 to Juventus in 2016, he excelled as a human battering ram. Tall, strong, fast, he excelled in harrying defenders and making runs in behind them, proving himself to be an unsettling man on the field. These qualities made him a super sub at Juventus, where he would be brought out late in the game to torture tired opponents.
Seeing as Rodrigo was doing a very similar thing here at Valencia, chasing down balls and making runs, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for Zaza to start leading the lines here. Our system asks for a striker with his MO.

His biggest weaknesses as a first division striker are his technical ability and finishing.

He doesn’t excel when opposing defenses don’t give him space to run in, and has difficulty dropping into the midfield, picking up the ball, and getting it out. Therefore, he likely won’t be very useful playing in a pair of strikers. The usual 4-2-3-1 formation will probably suit him best because he’ll be accompanied by the creative Dani Parejo, who’ll hopefully be able to slip him the occasional through ball for him to run on to.

His finishing also isn’t top notch. It’s good, and on Youtube you can find him scoring a few golazos, but a major criticism throughout his career has been his inconsistency in front of the goal. However, to be perfectly honest, Rodrigo and Santi Mina, for all their hard work, have unfortunately set a rather low standard in that department, so for all we know Simone could actually be an upgrade.

All in all, it seems that we bought a stronger, taller Rodrigo who wouldn’t be as comfortable on the wing. That said, given the shortage of good strikers on the market, if he works out, at 25 years old, he’d represent a fairly good deal for Valencia.

Will Simone do well at Valencia? Tell us what you think, and thanks for reading.