Cesar Menacho – Blooming

Player profile:

  • Name: Cesar Menacho
  • Date of birth: 09-08-1999
  • Age: 20
  • Nationality: Bolivia
  • Position: striker
  • Other positions: right-winger
  • Strong foot: right
  • Club: Blooming Santa Cruz

Cesar Menacho is a 20-year-old striker that plays for Blooming Santa Cruz and was part of the under 23 squad of Bolivia at the Pre-Olimpico as well. He did not play a single minute at the tournament, but he has conquered a place in the starting line-up of Blooming Santa Cruz recently. Menacho can also play as a right-winger.

Attacking

Cesar Menacho likes to stay forward in defense and positions himself quite high up the pitch. In transition from defending to attacking, he therefore stays forward and he sometimes provides an option down the wing. Most of the times he stays centrally though.

As a striker, he likes to make runs in-behind. He does this very well, as he does not get flagged for offside often and he can be dangerous by making these runs. He times the runs well and he can utilize his pace, acceleration and good dribbling ability.

Sometimes, he makes a run in-behind when it is better to come short to provide a passing option for a teammate, which is needed sometimes. He needs to come short more often as he has the ability to being useful in the build-up.

As a right-winger, he either comes short to receive the pass or he makes a run in-behind to use his good pace and acceleration to create a chance for himself or a teammate. He is a decent crosser and is able to pick out the right pass.

When Blooming attack down the wing and cross the ball into the box, Cesar Menacho comes in front of his opponent and likes to run to the front post. This is something he does consequently, he makes a dummy run to the far post and then comes inside to the front post. He is able to head the ball very well.

Before he receives the ball, he does not look behind him and he therefore does not know what happens in his back. However, it seems like he does know when his opponent puts pressure on him as he always uses his body to shield the ball and stay in possession.

Blooming often play long passes to Cesar Menacho and the Bolivian striker is able to handle these passes well. He most of the times wins his aerial duels or he passes it with his chest. He can do this very well and I think this is one of his main qualities.

Cesar Menacho can handle passes over the ground as well. He most of the times tries to find a passing option nearby and makes a first-time pass. This is something that he does well four out of five times.

In general, his technique is alright and his first touch is decent most of the times. Sometimes, his touch is a bit too heavy but he has the space to do so. This is something that he needs to keep an eye out for, if he makes a move to a better competition.

When he dribbles, he controls the ball very well and he uses his acceleration and pace to get past the opponent. Also, he is able to use his body to shield off the ball well. He has not been tested in the tight spaces that much, but the times he got tested he performed very well and managed to turn his opponent.

In 1603 minutes Menacho has scored eight goals. This season, he has scored three goals in 541 minutes. Sometimes Menacho rushes his shot which means that he shoots it wide. Nevertheless, he is a decent finisher who needs to be calmer when he can shoot it from a tight angle. In these situations he needs to cut back rather than shoot.

Defending

Cesar Menacho tries to cut the passing lanes and does this consequently. He is very sharp in putting pressure on the opponent and can use his acceleration to close gaps quickly. He keeps track of his surroundings when he puts pressure on the opponent. For the rest, he stays forward and does not do much more defensively.

Physique:

As already mentioned before, Menacho wins most of his aerial duels and he is quite strong in the duels. He uses his body very well to shield off the ball and he does not get dispossessed often. He has good acceleration and pace.

Conclusion

The Bolivian league is one of the weaker leagues in South-America and there haven’t been that much Bolivian players that have played at the highest level in an European league. That being said, I think that Menacho has the potential to either play in the Superliga or Série A in the future, or a league outside the top 5 leagues in Europe.

Menacho needs to pick out the right moves in order to do so. First, he should move to a club in Chile or Colombia. Those are significantly better leagues than the Bolivian league, but I think that Menacho can already play for a midtable club in those countries. He fits defensive-minded teams who play direct and like to counter-attack.

The summer transfer window of Ajax

By Jeroen

A few hours ago, it was announced that Tottenham Hotspur are interested in signing Edson Álvarez this summer. This, in combination with the other players that are most likely going to leave this summer, means that Ajax have to sign yet another player this summer. In this overview, I will discuss the transfers that Ajax need to do.

It already has been announced that Hakim Ziyech will leave Ajax for €40.000.000 and that both Donny van de Beek and Sergiño Dest will most likely leave Ajax as well for respectively Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. Besides that, Bruno Varela and Ryan Babel will probably return to Benfica and Galatasaray and I think that they will not be bought by Ajax.

On the contrary, Ajax announced as well that they have signed Brazilian right-winger Antony on a five-year deal from São Paulo for €15.750.000. Ajax have been heavily linked with both Roberto Alvarado and Jorge Carrascal, who are both attacking midfielders but they can play on both wings as well.

Antony on international duty for the youth teams of Brazil.

Regarding outgoing transfers, I think that both André Onana and Nicolas Tagliafico will leave Ajax if the right club makes a formal offer. Besides that, I think that Ajax will allow Razvan Marin, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Edson Álvarez to leave the club. Huntelaar will probably get another role at Ajax like being a youth trainer. Also, Joël Veltman wanted to move to another league last year but he was not allowed to go. I think he will get his move this year.

Every summer there are some youth players that get the chance to go on training camp with the first team. It is assumable that players like Sontje Hansen, Naci Ünüvar, Kenneth Taylor, Neraysho Kasanwirjo, Jurriën Timber, Quinten Timber and Brian Brobbey will go on training camp with the first team this summer to fight for a place in the first team. Also, it will be interesting to see how Youri Regeer develops himself in the coming months as he just made his debut for the second team of Ajax.

Last but not least, Juan Familia-Castillo will most likely be bought by Ajax if the transfer fee is not to high. The fact that he has not made a single appearance for the first team of Ajax, even when Tagliafico was injured or suspended, does not mean anything.

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Juan Familia-Castillo in the youth of Ajax.

How the squad looks without the outgoing transfers:

Goalkeepers:

  • Kjell Scherpen, Dominik Kotarski & Calvin Raatsie

Defenders:

  • Noussair Mazraoui & Quinten Timber
  • Perr Schuurs & Jurriën Timber
  • Daley Blind & Lisandro Martínez
  • Juan Familia-Castillo & Anass Salah-Eddine

Midfielders:

  • Carel Eiting & Enric Llansana/Victor Jensen
  • Ryan Gravenberch & Kenneth Taylor
  • Zakaria Labyad & Jurgen Ekkelenkamp

Attackers:

  • Quincy Promes & Naci Ünüvar
  • Dusan Tadic & Lassina Traoré
  • David Neres & Antony

What now?

As you can see, without the outgoing transfers, that will most likely happen, Ajax’ squad looks rather depressing and the goalkeepers, defenders and midfielders are mediocre for now. Obviously there is a lot of talent in this squad, but it is not up to Ajax’ standards at all.

It will be a busy summer for Marc Overmars & co, but they knew this already last summer as they managed to hold on to a lot of players for another year in the hope that Ajax would reach the knockout phase of the Champions League once again.

Marc Overmars on the phone.

What signings does Overmars need to make?

Goalkeepers

First of all, Kjell Scherpen has improved a lot during the last few months but he is not good enough to be the first goalkeeper of Ajax already. I would give him the chance to be the second goalkeeper of Ajax though during training camp this summer. Dominik Kotarski can be the third goalkeeper of Ajax and can play in Jong Ajax.

This means that Ajax need to sign a new first goalkeeper and there have been a few names that have been linked with Ajax already. Odysseas Vlachodimos, Hendrik van Crombrugge and Vasilios Barkas have been the three goalkeepers that have been linked with Ajax in the last months.

Criteria goalkeeper Ajax

The first goalkeeper of Ajax needs to be comfortable on the ball, be able to play short passes under pressure and he obviously needs to have good goalkeeping ability. Also, he needs to be quick off his line when he needs to and he must be able to focus for 90 minutes, even though he, if Ajax play well, does not have to make that many saves.

Full-backs

With Sergiño Dest leaving after one decent season, where he had a lot of bad games as well, Ajax only have Noussair Mazraoui as a player that has regularly played as a right-back. In Jong Ajax, Liam van Gelderen mostly plays as a right-back but I do not think he has the potential to play for the first team of Ajax.

Quinten Timber is a player that has hardly played as right-back, but in my opinion has the qualities to play as a right-back for the first team of Ajax. He went on training camp with the first team of Ajax already last winter and will probably go on training camp with the first team of Ajax next summer as well.

Quinten Timber (left) and Jurriën Timber (right)

At left-back, Ajax only have Juan Familia-Castillo (if they do buy him) and in Jong Ajax there are Anass Salah-Eddine and Terrence Douglas who both have been performing well in the youth of Ajax. Anass Salah-Eddine has more potential though than Terrence Douglas.

This means that Ajax need to get a right-back that can compete with Noussair Mazraoui, if Quinten Timber does not perform good enough during training camp this summer. Besides that, Ajax need to sign a replacement for Nicolas Tagliafico as Juan Familia-Castillo is not good enough for the starting line-up already.

Criteria full-back Ajax

This year, it has become clear that a full-back of Ajax definitely needs to have decent passing ability because it has been common that opponents close the center and that Ajax are forced to use their full-backs in build-up. Also, they need to be able to play in the closed spaces and they need to have a good technique, obviously.

In defence, they need to be pacey and able to anticipate well as Ajax play a high defensive line, they need to be good in the defensive duels and in 1-on-1 defending as they will have a lot of 1-on-1 defensive duels when the opponents start a counter-attack.

Noussair Mazraoui after winning the title in 2018/2019.

Centre-backs

The centre-back position has been a big problem for Ajax this season. After his injury, Daley Blind has not performed as well as he normally does. Also, Perr Schuurs and Edson Álvarez have been too weak for the first team of Ajax. I expect that Daley Blind will be playing better as the season continues, but that both Perr Schuurs and Edson Álvarez are not good enough for Ajax.

This is why I would advise Ajax to sign a very good right centre-back and play Lisandro Martínez as a back-up left centre-back. This means that Ajax have a bigger problem in midfield, but Kik Pierie is not good enough for the first-team of Ajax yet and I doubt if he will ever be good enough for Ajax.

Criteria centre-back Ajax

First of all, a centre-back of Ajax needs to have good ball-playing ability. He needs to be able to play a pass that breaks lines and he needs to have a high passing accuracy on the opposites half. In defence, he needs to be able to anticipate very well, be able to win defensive duels with the striker, be pacey enough to cover counters and his positional awareness needs to be very good.

In my opinion, Nehuén Pérez ticks all these boxes and I think that he would be a great signing. The Argentinian defender does not suit Atletico Madrid at all and will most likely be sold for around €25.000.000. This is a big fee, but I think that he really suits Ajax and that he is an exceptional talent. He has some mistakes this season though, but as he is only 19 that will go away in the coming years. Matthijs de Ligt made some mistakes at Ajax as well.

Nehuén Pérez during training at FC Famalicão.

Midfielders

This season, Ajax played, when everyone was available, with one defensive minded midfielder that plays as a third centre-back in possession (Lisandro Martínez), one midfielder that plays just in front of the three-men defense in possession (Donny van de Beek) and one advanced playmaker (Hakim Ziyech).

Let’s focus on the defensive minded midfielder that plays as a third centre-back in possession. Both Carel Eiting and Enric Llansana could perform this role, but they both are not good enough for the first team of Ajax at this moment. Carel Eiting could be a back-up, but I’d rather see him getting sold or loaned out.

The most important thing is that the defensive minded midfielder is agile, quick enough to cover counter-attacks, anticipates well and has good positional awareness. In Liga NOS there are two players that would be able to play as a defensive midfielder for Ajax and those players are Florentino (SL Benfica) and Gustavo Assunção (FC Famalicão). However, there surely are better options than Florentino and Assunção in other leagues that Ajax can buy.

If Ajax would sign two defensive minded midfielders, I would advise Ajax to sign Gustavo Assunção as a back-up defensive midfielder for sure. In the case of Florentino, he will probably be too expensive for Ajax.

Gustavo Assunção in a match for FC Famalicão.

Moving on to the midfielder in front of the defense, Ajax only have Ryan Gravenberch. Also, Jong Ajax have Kenneth Taylor who can perform this role at the first team of Ajax and will most likely get the chance during training camp next summer.

Both midfielders still need some time though before they are able to be a regular starter for the first team of Ajax, so I would advise Ajax to sign another midfielder for this position. In Liga NOS, I think that Wendel (Sporting CP) could perform this role very well. He can pass his opponent, is able to play in the closed spaces and he can play as a defensive midfielder, central midfielder and he has even played as an attacking midfielder this season.

In South-America, Matheus Henrique (Gremio) would be a great option as well, but I doubt Ajax can afford him. The Brazilian midfielder definitely has the passing ability and would immediately be one of the key players for Ajax.

Matheus Henrique for Gremio.

As already mentioned before, Ajax need to sign a replacement for Hakim Ziyech. It depends on what type of player they want to sign, as Ajax played with Hakim Ziyech (a creative type) as an attacking midfielder but also with Donny van de Beek (good in the closed spaces, good spatial awareness and runs into space).

I reckon that Ajax will sign a creative type as an attacking midfielder, given the fact that they have been rumored to being interested in Jorge Carrascal & Juan Quintero (River Plate).

Jorge Carrascal would be a great option as an attacking midfielder, as I described here.

Attackers

At left-winger, Ajax now have Quincy Promes and Naci Ünüvar. I think that Ünüvar will get his chance during training camp and I expect him to grab his chance. Especially if Ajax signs an attacking midfielder that can play out on the wing as well (Carrascal), I do not expect Ajax to sign another left-winger.

With Dusan Tadic and Lassina Traoré Ajax already have two good strikers which are sufficient for the 2020/21 season as well. A few weeks ago Ajax announced that they signed Antony on a five-year deal which means that Ajax have Antony and David Neres on the right-wing.

Should Promes or Neres leave Ajax would need to sign a replacement for Promes and Antony already is the replacement of David Neres.

David Neres during the warming-up.

How the squad would look with the incoming transfers:

Goalkeepers:

  • Signing (1, Jasper Cillessen?) – Kjell Scherpen – Dominik Kotarski

Defenders:

  • Noussair Mazraoui – Signing (2) or Quinten Timber
  • Signing (3, Nehuén Pérez) – Perr Schuurs
  • Daley Blind – Lisandro Martínez
  • Signing (4) – Juan Familia-Castillo

Midfielders:

  • Signing (5) – Signing (6, Florentino or Gustavo Assunção)
  • Signing (7, Matheus Henrique or Wendel) – Ryan Gravenberch
  • Signing (8, Jorge Carrascal) – Zakaria Labyad or Jurgen Ekkelenkamp

Attackers:

  • Quincy Promes – Naci Ünüvar
  • Dusan Tadic – Lassina Traoré
  • David Neres – Antony

To summarize it all, please note that I only looked at some leagues and that these players do not necessarily are the best options for Ajax. Besides that, I expect Ajax to sign some Dutch players for the starting line-up to keep their Dutch identity, which they think is very important.

Last but not least, it will be a busy summer for Overmars and it will be interesting to see if Ajax are ready for the war. If they are not ready this summer, they will never be ready and it is a huge test for Overmars & co.

Indian defender close to joining FC Copenhagen

AVTP Football reveals that Abneet Bharti is close to joining FC Copenhagen. Talks are underway and a deal is expected to be closed soon. The central defender will join the Danish giants in the summer.

This is not the first time that the Indian defender will move to Europe. He played for the under 19’s of Real Valladolid from 2014 to 2017 and for the Portuguese Sintrense from 2017 to 2019. Abneet was close to signing for Mexican giants Club America, but an ACL injury stopped the move.

Instead, the 21-year-old chose to sign back in his home country for Kerala Blasters to complete his rehab process during the ACL injury. He reached full fitness in January and is now fully recovered from his ACL injury.

Luis Boa Morte, his manager at Sintrense, described Abneet Bharti as an athletic defender with good ability on the ball that meets all conditions to become a great player in the near future. Besides that, the 21-year-old was included in the Calciomercato under 21 best players in Asia.

Daniel Rojas – Oriente Petrolero

By: Jeroen (@J__TP5)

Player profile:

  • Name: Daniel Rojas
  • Date of birth: 22-02-2000
  • Nationality: Bolivia
  • Position: DM, CM, RM
  • Contract expires: not available
  • Current club: Oriente Petrolero
  • Previous clubs: Club Calleja, Universidad Concepción
  • Current international: Bolivia under 20

Daniel Rojas is a 19-year-old central midfielder from Bolivia who currently plays for Oriente Petrolero. He is a dynamic midfielder who is quite complete for his age and I would like to see him play in the Liga NOS or Eredivisie soon.

Defending

The Bolivian midfielder normally plays as a right central midfielder, but he has also played as a right-midfielder this season. Oriente Petrolero played both in a 5-3-2 formation and a 4-5-1 formation. When Oriente Petrolero are not in possession, Rojas stays on the right central side of the pitch and he likes to help out Widen Saucedo (right-back) in defence. The midfielder is quite sharp in defence and uses his strength and awareness to recover possession.

In the Copa Sudamericana, Oriente Petrolero played a low defensive line and they were defensive-minded. In possession, the Bolivian club played quite direct and they put some men forward including Daniel Rojas. The midfielder plays in a different role in the Bolivian league though, as he sometimes plays as a right-midfielder.

As a right central midfielder, Daniel Rojas acts quickly in transition from attack to defence and he always is back in position on time to defend. He scans his back often to make sure that he is aware of his surroundings. As a right-midfielder he does the same things. The only difference is that he positions himself closer to the sideline then he does as a right central midfielder.

During the times that Widen Saucedo (right-back), Norberto Palmieri (right central defender) or Daniel Franco (central defender) were out of position, the 19-year-old midfielder took over their positions to make sure that the defensive organisation kept intact.

As already mentioned before, Daniel Rojas is sharp in defence and he makes sure that his opponent does not have time to think about his next action. By doing this, Rojas gives away some free kicks, but he intercepts passes and recovers possession sometimes as well.

Attacking

Daniel Rojas has an above average technique and has good awareness for space. He moves between the lines well and can give a very good pass. However, his handling speed when he is not put under pressure is not fast enough which results in the loss of possession sometimes.

Playing as a right central midfielder, Rojas likes to get forward in transition from defence to attack. He does well to look for space and he often is aware of his surroundings as well because he most of the times scans his back when he receives the ball.

Rojas can play a good pass, but sometimes there is miscommunication between Rojas and the strikers which means that he plays a through pass when the striker comes short and vice versa. When he plays it short to the striker, he likes to play a one-two and thus receive the ball back immediately.

When playing in the closed spaces, Rojas uses his technique and good dribbling to play himself out the pressure. He can do some quick step-overs and he is very quick on the turn. Rojas is quite strong on the ball as well and he uses his body very well to protect the ball.

Physical attributes

Daniel Rojas is not very strong in aerial duels. He is not the biggest of players, he is around 1.80m, and he does not time his jump right which means that he loses a lot of aerial duels. The Bolivian midfielder is quite fast on the first few meters due to his good acceleration and his pace is above average as well. He has decent stamina and as already mentioned he is quite strong on the ball.

Potential: Daniel Rojas has the potential to play in the Superliga or Série A.