Name: Alejo Cordoba
Club: San Lorenzo
Height: 182 cm
Dominant Foot: Right
11 Games for San Lorenzo 2, with close to 800 minutes and 2 red cards
Can’t remember the last time a teenager impressed me this much with the mental side of his play. Cordoba is still 18, looks like he still hasn’t shaven, but plays with the confidence, security and maturity of a player ten years older at least. One of the most important factors that determines how good and impactful a central defender can be, is his ability to minimize mistakes, both on and off the ball. This is the aspect of Cordoba’s game that really stands apart. He doesn’t make mistakes that often, and even when he does, they aren’t something that creates potential dangers for his team, but a bad long or progressive pass.
He is supremely composed in possession. It is this cool, calm and collected manner which leads his teammates, and especially the goalkeeper and the other 2 central defenders, to search him out and let him be the player who makes the first pass forward. He is also the one who gets his team out of trouble when they are pressed up high by their opponents. While his first touch is good, but not great, he manages to find progressive passes and execute them at a very impressive rate. When you really pay attention to his passing, you get awed by his ability to continuously strike the ball with the same level of good technique, be it long or short. He is also very proficient in switching the ball to the other flank. This is true both when the opposition sits deep or when they press him. We are talking about a kid that turned 18 years old a few months ago and is playing in the reserve league for the first time. He shouldn’t be this advanced mentally.
The level of confidence is apparent off the ball as well, as a defender. Impressed by his ability to consistently put pressure on the opponents with his man marking. He is like glue was a person, always on the back of the opposition striker or winger, never giving them any room to breathe, often winning the ball back as the opponent tries to transition down his flank. He will either suffocate the opposition into a mistake or get a better position and recycle possession with relative ease. He is still young, and his body has not filled out yet. He has a very good frame and looks like he will be able to get stronger without sacrificing any of his athleticism. The lack of strength still hinders him from time to time, especially if he must guard an older player who maybe has 7, 8 kilos more than he does. I am also wondering if he is still growing. Various websites have him between 179 and 182 cm. it is a good height for a central defender in Argentina, but to be impactful he could use a few more inches. Still, there is plenty to like there on both sides of the ball. He really reminds me of a young Joel Veltman, when he started playing for Ajax.
While he is slightly of above average height for an Argentinian, the rest of his athletic profile is average at best. His overall speed is good, but his first few steps aren’t as explosive as you would have hoped for. Agility, his ability to switch gears and move laterally aren’t impressive, saw him shaken loose by a few agile wingers, who would juke him off ball and force him to give up an angle or favorable position. Much better marker than a positional defender. Still struggles in space at times, figuring out angles and closing the opponents. Didn’t see a whole lot of ball carrying in the games that I watched. He did flash some, but its not very consistent. I wonder if that is just a system thing, since the rest of his technique looks good enough for him to be more expansive in his role, but he does like to keep things simple. In a few games he found himself on the flank and his cross looked decent. With improved ball carrying, he could be not just a progressive passer from a central defense role, but also an interesting overlapping third central defender in the future.