Álvaro Djaló: Shining the Spotlight on Athletic Club’s Big-Money Arrival

Álvaro Djaló has secured a summer move to Athletic Club, with the Basque side paying €15 million plus €5 million in add-ons, but just what makes the 24-year-old winger such an exciting talent? Let’s take a look and find out:


Djaló’s footballing education began just a 43-minute walk away from Athletic Club’s iconic San Mamés stadium and now, following a seven-year stint in Portugal, the 24-year-old returns to Bilbao after signing a five-year contract with ‘The Red and Whites.’ During Djaló’s seven years with Sporting Clube de Braga, he made over 100 appearances across both the senior and U23 set-up whilst playing across a range of positions including left-wing, right-wing, attacking midfield, second striker, centre forward and even a handful of minutes at left-back.



The Spanish winger is currently averaging a goal contribution in Liga Portugal every 154 minutes this season whilst playing primarily off the right for Braga as part of Artur Jorge’s 4-2-3-1 set-up. The Madrid-born star is currently sitting on an impressive 17-goal contributions in all competitions this season but, aside from his Bizkaia roots, why have Athletic Club made the 24-year-old their most expensive forward signing ever? Let’s take a look at his underlying numbers and find out:


Player Profile – Álvaro Djaló

Nationality: Spanish

Age: 24

Date of birth: 16/08/1999

Club: SC Braga (Joining Athletic Club in the summer)

Position: Left Winger

Preferred foot: Right

Main Position


Under coach Artur Jorge, the majority of Djaló’s minutes during the 23/24 season have come as a right winger playing in front of right back, and fellow Spaniard, Víctor Gómez. Jorge has stuck with a 4-2-3-1 throughout the majority of Braga’s league games this season, however, he has shifted to a more defensively solid 4-4-2 with two defensive midfielders on a handful of occasions.


In this 4-2-3-1 setup, Djaló has produced 8 goal contributions (5 goals and 3 assists) from an xGC of 9.18 in the league this season, improving on his previous high of 7 achieved during the 22/23 season with 10 league games remaining to add to his tally. The 24-year-old has had a tough 2024 producing just one goal contribution in his last 10 league appearances with his last contribution being a goal against Famalicão in mid-January. In European competition, he has matched his league form producing 6 goals in 741 minutes, contributing in wins over Qarabag, Panathinaikos and FK TSC as well as scoring in Braga’s narrow 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid back in October.


(The 4-2-3-1 utilised by Braga under Artur Jorge during the 2023/2024 Liga Portugal season.)


Underlying Numbers


Djaló’s numbers profile very much like a conventional winger rather than a more modern, disciplined wide player who is tasked with linking with the midfield and progressing the ball in a more conservative approach. He is confident and incredibly direct on the ball regularly taking on opponents in one-on-one scenarios and spearheading counterattacks with his pace and on-the-ball dribbling ability.


This season for Braga, Djaló has averaged 6.14 dribbles per 90 with a 44.6% success rate, this ranks him just outside the top ten in Liga Portugal for dibbles attempted per 90 sitting just below the level of Ángel Di María (7.11/90) and Bruma (7.27/90) whilst sitting just above Tiago Gouveia (6.12/90) and Chiquinho (6.03/90.) Looking at Djaló’s data from the past year in the league, his dribble success rate rises to around 67.1% keeping possession after 104/155 attempted dribbles.


He is statistically a stronger dribbler coming off the left-hand side and attacking the opposition right back. In this area, he has a 77.8% dribble success rate keeping the ball on 28/36 occasions whilst only managing a 66.7% success rate when attacking down the right-hand side against the opposition left back. Djaló’s dribbling however can often be without quantifiable gain with only 27.1% of his attempted dribbles leading to a beneficial action (shot or completed pass).


(Álvaro Djaló 23/24 Liga Portugal Successful Dribbles)


Watching Djaló in the final third, his decision-making often appears a potential area for improvement, and although he is an effective ball progressor (2.54 progressive runs per 90), the final action is often misguided. On several occasions this season Djaló has expertly dribbled past opposition defenders, working his way into the box and creating space for his teammates in dangerous areas only for him to take a tight-angled shot rather than play the ball across to his teammates in more advantageous positions.


When these runs come off they do produce truly spectacular goals but the infrequency of them can be highlighted in Djaló generating just 4.27 xG from 41 shots following a dribble in the final third reflecting an average of 0.10xG per shot. Djaló possesses fantastic off-the-ball movement, and his ability to lose defenders in central areas makes him a constant threat from far post crosses and set pieces as highlighted by his goals against Famalicão, Arouca and Estrela da Amadora this season.


The 24-year-old has generated several shooting opportunities through a simple, yet effective, body faint, appearing to run forward in the box only to push back in a sudden movement leaving himself unmarked in dangerous areas enabling himself to get a shot off or be ready to get onto any rebounded opportunities.



Djaló is averaging 5.15 touches in the opposition box per 90 which places him firmly in the top percentile of the Liga Portugal this season. His ability to drive into the box on the ball as well as make space in the area off the ball has helped contribute to his 66 shots from inside the penalty area across the past year.


These 66 shots have generated 11 goals from an xG of 10.64, however, only 39.4% of Djaló’s shots inside the area are ending up on target, a worse SOT rate than his shots outside the box which find themselves on target 42.9% of the time.


(Álvaro Djalo Shot Location/Result 23/24 Liga Portugal)


Djaló’s creativity is primarily driven by his ball progression with just 1.29 key passes per 90 (ranked 129th) and 0.32 big chances created per 90 (ranked 44th.) His passing numbers are derivative of the style of player he is with just 22.97 passes per 90 with a 73.52% success rate, breaking this down to look at his progressive passes (a forward pass that attempts to advance a team significantly closer to the opponent’s goal).


He is producing just 2.19 progressive passes per 90 (Di María leads the league with 10.38) this sits the 24-year-old 60th in the league and just behind Porto striker Mehdi Taremi with 2.26. His ability to drive the ball into dangerous areas does create goal-scoring opportunities even if they are from the second or third action and as a result, Djaló sits third in Liga Portugal this season for second assists with 4 (only Ricardo Horta and Di María have more)>


Djaló is producing 2.54 crosses per 90 this season (ranked 13th) with a cross accuracy of 30.23% (for context in the 22/23 Premier League season 18% was the average success rate of a cross from a sample size of over 15,000). His delivery into the penalty area from crosses is significantly more effective when operating on the right flank with a cross success rate of 42.9% compared with a significantly below average 7.7% when crossing from the left flank (based on data across the last year).


(Alvaro Djalo Deliveries Into Final Third 23/24 Liga Portugal)


Djaló would benefit from a stronger aerial threat in Braga’s front line, Abel Ruiz (182cm) has just four recorded headed goals in his career and has got on the end of Djaló’s crosses just once this season whilst Banza (189cm) has benefited most from the Basque star’s crossing most this season accumulating 2 shots, 1 goal and 0.41xG across the season.

Álvaro Djaló – Final Assessment



Dribbling – Djaló’s on-the-ball capability is one of his most desirable assets, he possesses strong close control of the ball and is comfortable in wide areas as well as progressing the ball into tight central areas. Although his passing output is low he is capable of playing quick one-twos with his forward line helping him split defences and get into dangerous areas.


His dribbling numbers profile very closely to Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli this season. Both men are producing around 1.8 successful dribbles per 90 and operate in the 30 percentile for dribble success rate. In the current Athletic Club squad only Nico Williams (2.6) has produced more dribbles per 90 this season than Álvaro Djaló with Iñaki Williams (1.7) sitting just behind Djaló’s current output.



Pace – This season Djaló recorded a top speed of 34.4 (km/h) in the UEFA Champions League with an average speed of 33.6 (km/h) this puts Djaló just below Real Madrid’s Vinícius Jr who recorded a top speed of 34.7 (km/h) earlier this season and sees the 24-year-old currently sit as the 47th fastest player in the competition this season: Karim Adeyemi leads with a top speed of 36.3 (km/h)) from a pull of around 500 players putting him firmly in the top ten percent of players for pace.


His speed maintains with and without the ball making him a threat in counter-attacking scenarios and helping contribute to his 0.15 xGChain generated from counterattacks per 90 which makes up around 15.4% of his overall per 90 xGChain contributions.


Off The Ball Movement – Djaló possesses a fantastic ability to create space for himself and his teammates through his off-the-ball movement, be that accelerating from deep to draw midfielders or cutting inside to split the back line, Djaló has created several goal-scoring opportunities for himself and others simply through his ability to read play and position himself intelligently. This is enhanced at Braga due to both his and Horta’s positional flexibility, the two wide players can switch wings in motion helping to pull defenders and create disorganisation within the opposition’s back line.




Decision Making – Djaló’s decision-making, particularly in the final third, is a massive opportunity for improvement for the 24-year-old, his ability to work the ball into the box or receive the ball in the area is undeniable, however, his choice of action in dangerous positions is often poor, shooting from tight angles whilst ignoring open teammates, sending panicked balls across the box to nobody or taking too many touches and turning over possession.


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It is likely safe to assume that he will be afforded fewer touches in the box in La Liga and therefore it will be crucial that he maximises the opportunities he does have as much as possible.


Finishing – Djaló is averaging an impressive 2.81 shots per 90 in Liga Portugal this season (Boavista’s Róbert Boženík ranks 1st with 3.7) this tally is only matched by Iñaki Williams (2.86) in this current Athletic Club squad. However, his shot placement and finishing are significant opportunities for improvement as he looks to take his game to the next level.


His shots are often placed directly to the goalkeeper and his left-footed shooting in particular (which makes up just 14% of his total shot volume) has significant room for improvement as often he finds himself in fantastic shooting positions only to take the shot from his preferred right foot despite it being a significantly worse option. His miss against Chaves this season, unmarked inside the keeper’s area, highlights his need to improve his finishing, especially if he is going to be tasked with replacing Nico Williams’ 19 goal contributions and counting this season.




Before I advance with this final section, it is only fair that I credit Target Scouting for this scouting report grading system. Please check them out and support the awesome work they do at targetscouting.com. At the end of each player review, I will be giving a final grade on a scale of A1 to D – in order to give a consistent and clear final review of how I see Djaló as a player now and where he could potentially end up.


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We will do things slightly differently for Djaló as he is confirmed as a Athletic Club player for the 24/25 season, we will grade him on his ability at that level as well as the role he may play for the La Liga side. The scale is as follows:


  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at this level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at this level
  • C – Average for the level
  • D – Below average for the level

Álvaro Djaló Final Grade – B1


I anticipate that Djaló is being brought in as a prepared replacement for Nico Williams on the left wing for Athletic Club. The 21-year-old has attracted attention from several English clubs this season including Newcastle, Arsenal and most recently Chelsea who have reportedly shortlisted the forward for their summer business. With a release clause of around £43m reported it is going to be difficult for ‘The Lions’ to keep a hold of the highly touted youngster.


Williams and Djaló profile similarly in a few aspects, both are more conventional, direct wingers who progress the ball via attacking runs rather than passes with both sitting around 0.32 big chances created per 90 and Williams just slightly outperforming Djaló from a key passes perspective with 2.08/90 vs Djaló’s 1.29 whilst both are equally uninvolved in the passing game average around 22 to 24 passes per 90.


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Nico is the only Athletic Club player currently putting up more successful dribbles per 90 than Djaló with 3.29 and his 50% dribble success rate is a marked improvement on Djaló’s 38%. Djaló is dispossessed less per 90 than Williams this season (1.81 vs 2.25), however, both players do lose the ball around 18 times per 90 whilst winning 6.5 and 6.3 duels per 90 respectively.


Overall, I do believe Djaló to be a downgrade on Williams, however, I think considering the price point and the restrictions of Athletic Club’s transfer policy it was always going to be difficult to get a replacement at the level. Djaló will likely find moderate success at the level, however, if he can tidy up his decision-making in the final third as well as optimise his crossing game to Athletic Club’s setup then he may be able to exceed in this new role.


By: Liam Stewart / @LiamAStewart

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Quality Sport Images / Getty Images