Matías Arezo: Uruguay’s next number 9? by Jake McGhee
When you think of Uruguayan football you are instantly drawn to the classic number 9, with players such as Luis Suarez, Edison Cavani and Diego Forlan, Uruguay has certainly provided some of footballs greatest strikers. Yet another prolific striker is paving his way in Uruguayan football, Matías Arezo is an 18 year old striker who plays his football for Uruguayan outfit River Plate. Matías has proven to be a key figure in the team thus far, netting an impressive 11 goals in 15 appearances and picking up 4 assists along the way too. Alongside his impressive form in domestic football Arezo has also hit the heights representing ‘La Celeste’ at international youth level too, although he is yet to receive a senior call up Arezo has scored 12 in 27 games across his youth career spanning different age groups.
What type of player is he?
Arezo is already very reminiscent of Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani with brilliant finishing and a sharpness in the box, although he is not the tallest of players standing at 5”11 he has still displayed his aerial abilities by getting onto the end of crosses and showing his ability to play key flick ons. Arezo also boasts some serious speed, particularly in accelerating away from defenders as he has done many times to get himself into situations to show off his clinical finishing, his acceleration is clearly his forte as his pace isn’t anything special but is still above average. Another thing that seriously impressed me was his positioning, he is a very aware footballer, constantly thinking one step ahead of the opposition and getting into brilliant spaces for his teammates.
Although Arezo does most of his talking upfront he has also shown to be a very industrious player who doesn’t shy away from the rougher side of the game, he has an incredible engine on him and often gets back and aids his teammates in defence. He is also a very technically gifted player with the ability to ghost past defenders displaying excellent close control. However there are a few downsides to his game, his decision making needs a bit of improvement as he often takes on erratic shots where other decisions would work better, he also has to polish up his link-up skills, often a sloppy touch or a misplaced pass will let him down, but at 18 he still has lots of times to iron out these errors from his game.
Luis Suarez, Sergio Agüero.
These 2 South American strikers bare resemblance to Arezo and it is clear to see he has drawn inspiration from these 2 in the way he plays his game, his natural instinct to be a finisher is evident as it seems second nature to him, always feeling assured when he is in front of goal, similar to Agüero and Suarez. His height and build is also rather similar, whilst not being a particularly tall player his presence on the pitch is still felt nonetheless as he motors all around the pitch, contributing defensively all while doing what he does best up front.
If Arezo continues to play his game to the standard he has displayed this season there is no reason he can’t be in contention for a call-up for the senior squad of Uruguay, his future at River Plate will also be in question as he looks destined to secure a move to one of South America’s powerhouses or even make the jump across to Europe, I can personally see him fitting very well into a team such as Atalanta, where strikers can drop deep to collect the ball and play very technical, incisive football. Or perhaps a move to a club such as Boca Juniors or any other South American powerhouse would be more beneficial as he can continue to play his football in the typical South American but on a bigger stage, showing his robustness in the Copa Libertadores. In order to achieve his maximum capacity I believe he would work best with an attacking partner, not too dissimilar to Lautaro Martinez.
All in all, Arezo is one of the most promising young Uruguayan strikers out there at the moment, his stocky, robust frame fits perfectly with the typical South American striker. Although he is still young and has his whole career ahead of him I would like to see him play in Portugal at some point, I believe this would be the best fit for his football as he could follow in the steps of another Uruguayan striker: Darwin Nuñez. If this form keeps up there’s no reason Arezo couldn’t be a steady goal-scorer in Europe as his knack for finishing is apparent.