IMScouting’s Player to Watch: Franco Zuculini

IMScouting’s latest player to watch is “the new Diego Simeone,” Franco Zuculini.

An 18-year-old central midfielder with seemingly limitless energy is attracting interest from Juventus and is considered to be a future Argentinean international by Diego Maradona.

Having played just 24 professional games for his club Racing Avellaneda, Franco Zuculini has wowed Argentina and it is no exaggeration to say that this 18-year-old central midfielder has the world at his feet.

Scouts from all across Europe have flocked to see Zuculini in action and one characteristic stands out – his limitless energy. Thanks to his constant running, Racing’s number 36 can play all across the midfield and has a great footballing brain, especially for someone so young.

Zucilini is a truly modern centre midfielder, he is a good man-marker and he can also use the ball effectively. Whilst he can play on either wing, central midfield suits him as from the middle of the park he can make the most of his excellent passing ability.

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Perhaps his only weakness is his heading, which can be put down to his height (5.7ft), nevertheless he makes up for this with boundless energy which has seen him become one of the most promising players in the Argentinean Apertura. His only goal for Racing came in the 4-1 victory over Rosario and his burst from midfield and fine finish is an excellent illustration of his qualities.

Hector Garcia Cuerva, the president of Racing, does not want to give up one of his diamonds. The central midfielder has also spoken of his desire to stay at Racing this week: “I want to stay here and continue to receive the love from the people.”

But, due to the troubled financial standing of the team it is almost a certainty that Zuculini will leave soon. This week reports in Argentina claimed that David Trezeguet’s father, Jorge Trezeguet, a scout for Juventus, has been watching Zuculini.

Alongside the Turin giants, Udinese are also believed to be tracking the player. Racing have a number of exciting young talents, Lihue Prichoda has also impressed alongside Zuclini in midfield and he could be another Argentinean youngster plying his trade in Europe very soon.

But Zuculini stands out as one of the new hopes of Argentinean football, partly because of his unique style that has had football professionals in the South American country compare him to Diego Simeone. Racing coach Juan Manuel Llop recently told the local media that “Zuculini’s energy is something that you can’t find in a lot of players.”

Zuculini’s estimated market value is thought to be upwards of five million euros, a fee which Udinese are already thought to have tabled to Racing, according to the Argentinean press. It is believed a fee of eight million euros for the central midfielder would be too much for Racing to turn down.

New Argentina manager and 1986 World Cup winning captain Diego Maradona has no doubts about the youngster, who represented Argentina at Under-17 level. The former Napoil star said: “Franco will be one of the stars at the next World Cup, but he will have to develop in a high quality league, because he still has a lot to learn.”

Like Maradona, Zucilini is often too emotional and regularly receives yellow cards, in recent weeks he was suspended for accumulating five. But, this is simply a result of his all-action style that will surely improve as he learns the game in a top European league.

Undoubtedly, Zuculini is good enough for Serie A and although his contract expires in 2012/2013, due to their financial problems, it is only a matter of time before he leaves Racing Avellaneda.

Video evidence of Franco Zuculini can be seen here.

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