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It has been a breakthrough season in La Liga for Borja Baston at Eibar. He has done exactly what he did in the Segunda Division last season, which is score plenty of goals and now surely will earn his chance with parent club Atletico Madrid next season.
Diego Simeone has made few mistakes since taking the realms at the Vicente Calderon but his decision to loan out Borja again this season rather than include him in Atletico’s squad for the campaign already looks like a grave error of judgement.
Baston has netted 17 goals in the league for Eibar, a tally only bettered by members of Real Madrid and Barcelona’s star-studded forward lines.
Disappointing campaigns for Atletico’s forwards
By contrast Atletico Madrid’s strikers, who can rely on better service than what Borja gets at Eibar, have all had disappointing campaigns. Jackson Martinez, their stand-out summer signing, failed to adapt to the demands of the league and left for China in January with just two goals in La Liga to his name.
Luciano Vietto has just 1 in 18 appearances while Fernando Torres is their top-scoring league striker with just 5 goals meaning Simeone has had to play Griezmann through the middle more often than he may have liked.
Borja Baston though has not stopped banging in the goals in the Basque Country and is the single most important factor in why Eibar are in the top half having finished in the bottom three last season. He has now scored 40 goals in 63 starts since the start of last season when he netted 23 times in the league and very nearly led Zaragoza to promotion from the Segunda Division.
Principal assets and weaknesses
At 191cm tall, Borja offers a real aerial threat but perhaps still needs to work on his strength and hold-up play.
His principal asset as his goal record would suggest is his finishing although there is still the suggestion in some quarters that his all-round game is perhaps not good enough to play for a top six side with passing and ball-retention not one of his stronger points.
However a lot can be forgiven when you are scoring at a rate better than one in every two games in one of the strongest leagues in the world and at 23 years old he still has time to develop other aspects of his game.
A new signing next season for Atletico
With Atleti’s goal problems, there seems little doubt that Borja will get his chance at the Vicente Calderon next season and he will feel almost like a new signing for the club given he has only played 21 minutes of action in the red and white stripes of Atletico despite being part of the club’s youth set-up since the age of 4.
That will be especially handy given the transfer ban that is looming large over the Vicente Calderon and if he can repeat the same sort of form he has shown for Eibar this season on the bigger stage, he will be knocking on the door of a first international call-up too.
Written by Mark Sochon
Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol
Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!
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