Cătălin Cîrjan: Profile
Name: Cătălin Cîrjan
Date of birth: Dec 1, 2002
Position: Central Midfield
Cătălin Cîrjan: Introduction
The Arsenal Hale End Academy has produced a series of impressive talents which are beginning to make their way into the first team. The likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe have recently become the fulcrum of Arsenal's attacking creativity in the 2020/21 season.
However, there is further expectation from many youngsters still developing within the under-23 squad. One such player is that of Cătălin Cîrjan.
The midfielder was called up to train with the first team in 2020 and this was a huge show of faith in the youngster by the Arsenal coaching staff who clearly feel there is bundles of talent to come from the Romanian.
Cătălin Cîrjan: Background
Cîrjan joined Arsenal from his local Romanian club of Viitorul Domnesti becoming part of Per Mertersacker's under 18 academy side. He was an admirer of Arsenal and spoke of his icon being that of Arsenal legend Thierry Henry despite playing in a different position.
"I have always tried to learn as much as I can from all of the big players in the world, but personally for myself, Thierry Henry was my inspiration and my model from the start," he said.
The moment in which he joined Arsenal was clearly a special one for him and he spoke of his dream being accomplished. However, he was not taking it for granted and also went on to speak of his determination and aspirations for his time at the club which are very serious.
"It is hard to explain in words what I felt during that moment because it was my childhood dream and I was really happy and very proud of that," he said. "I always try to outperform and to accomplish as many personal records as I can, but at the same time I think about the good and the success of the team, as in the end all that matters is the team to win."
It will certainly be intriguing to see how he performs in the senior environment.
Expert insight on Cătălin Cîrjan
"Cătălin Cîrjan, a player gathering much momentum as a modern playmaker. The young Romanian has hit the ground running in North London in his two seasons with us and has shown just how talented he is. Capable of operating both wide and centrally he is able to effectively create chances for the forward line.
The 18-year-old is a technical player with the ability to take the ball on the turn with a burst of pace, resembling that of Arsenal favourite Tomas Rosicky. Like the Czech, Cătălin is partial to rattling the net from distance, whilst also possessing an accurate final ball.
Cîrjan has the abilities that Arsenal seem to lack in the final third, he has good technical quality that can impact the game displaying confidence, fearlessness and a high tempo.
His first season proved how well he could link play in a central role with the likes of Miguel Azeez and Ben Cottrell, this season he has shown he can do this just as effectively from a wide role.
Whilst some may say he’s not a natural winger, his intelligence and technical prowess can certainly trouble the opposing full backs as he opens space to bring his teammates into promising areas. He might just be a secret weapon for Arsenal."
Tactical Overview of Cătălin Cîrjan
As a technically gifted centre midfielder, Cîrjan has an array or options in his armoury to attack opposition defences, dribble and play fantastic passes in behind for his teammates to exploit.
Initially starting with his dribbling skill, one of the things he likes to do is pick up the ball and drive at the opposition. He looks for the spaces in which he can enter, tries to anticipate his opponent's movement and create further opportunities for himself. In the examples below, this details how he reads the game and the movement of the other side to create space and a shooting opportunity.
This excellent reading of the game leads to opportunities not just for himself but also to create for his teammates. Either working in tandem and making triangles or by finding a cutting pass to the striker.
When moving into the final third, the examples above have shown the short passing of the Romanian to be of an accurate and inventive nature. However, when he receives the ball in a deeper area, not only does he choose sometimes to drive forwards but he also can use his excellent vision to spot the runs of those forwards ahead of him and find them with long driven passes.
Cîrjan receives the ball from the goalkeeper, looks up and spots the run of his forward and plays the ball over the midfield and defence and through to his striking teammate.
His anticipation of the game also leads him into positions where he can pounce to score himself. In the below example, as the ball is played into the box Cîrjan gambles on it reaching the back post and challenges Arsenal loanee Zech Medley for the ball.
Cîrjan is a midfielder who has a host of different abilities and characteristics which make him a danger and a usable figure in many of the central midfield roles. You can change the creative flair and dynamic dribbling to be an attacking midfielder. However, also possessing the running abilities of a box to box player who can play from different positions also.
Should he continue his fine development at the club and now being part of the senior squad training setup, it will be interesting to see how he develops as a player and whether he can break into the first team matchday squad.