So, just who is Alfred Finnbogason you may ask? He is a 24-year-old Icelandic striker that currently plays for SC Heerenveen, the Eredivisie side managed by Dutch legend Marco van Basten. Having moved to the Eredivisie side for €500,000 just 12 months ago, the young striker’s reputation has ballooned and he is now hot property.
With Tottenham target Christian Benteke expected to make a £25m switch to Tottenham Hotspur before the deadline Paul Lambert has set, Villa are going to be in need of a replacement to share the goal-scoring burden with Nicklas Helenius; and Finnbogason would definitely be an exciting signing.
He is 6ft tall, scored 24 league goals in 31 games last season and has scored 70 goals in his 115 club league games since his debut 5 years ago. Belgian club Lokeren are the only anomaly in his impressive scoring record, where he bagged 4 goals in 22 appearances.
Like many northern European strikers, Finnbogason is a hard-working player and his movement both with and without the ball are one of his key assets. This, and his ability to hold-up play and involve others, make him an ideal lone striker in a system where support arrives from around him in the style that Weimann/Agbonlahor did last season for Benteke. He is extremely composed when presented with difficult goal-scoring opportunities, has impressive technique and can use his flamboyancy to bamboozle defenders. His aerial ability is also noteworthy and would seem to be an essential talent to have for any leading striker in a Paul Lambert side.
You may not be too familiar with SC Heerenveen but they have a rich history of brilliant centre-forwards; names such as Ruud van Nistelrooy, Klaas Jan Huntelaar, John Dahl Tomasson and Middlesbrough flop Afonso Alves have all represented the Dutch club before moving on to bigger, better, things – mostly. With Marco van Basten as their current manager, you’d think he’d know a promising striker when he sees one and his comments about Finnbogason are very encouraging.
“I put Finnbogason in the category of strikers like Ruud van Nistelrooy, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Jon Dahl Tomasson. All started their career at Heerenveen.”
“Finnbogason could become a fabulous striker. He has fantastic vision, an eye for goals and is of massive value to this club.”
It’s worth mentioning here that both that quote, and the transfer link itself has come from The Mirror and what we read in the papers isn’t always accurate, it could be pure speculation. With our club being linked to Finnbogason before however, and other media sources stating that we have previously scouted the player, I think there is genuine interest and a price of around £6m wouldn’t put Lambert off, should Benteke get his north London move.
It’s also worth noting that FC Twente’s Luc Castagnios was also linked as a possible replacement in the same article, and would be similarly exciting. More so for his potential rather than his product so far though as the former Inter Milan player hasn’t hit the heights that he was once touted for just yet, but seems to me to be the type of player that would flourish under Lambert’s faith and tutelage.
Either of these signings would continue a trend to raid the Eredivisie and Scandinavian leagues for better value talent, following last season’s signings Ron Vlaar and Karim El Ahmadi, and this season’s Jores Okore, Leandro Bacuna and Nicklas Helenius.
But if Benteke does go, it would be naïve to think that his replacement would come in and do his job immediately just as well and any player would need time to settle into a new team, system, manager and lifestyle. One final positive for Finnbogason is that he spent several years of his youth career in Scotland and therefore not only speaks fluent English (as most Scandinavians do anyway) but he’s also lived in the United Kingdom which will definitely help. Whoever Lambert deems fit will have my backing though.
See all 24 goals for yourself below.
[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziVtVHXKdME[/youtube]