Club: Real Valladolid
Position(s): RB, RCB (back 3)
Preferred Foot: Right
Strengths: defensive awareness, dribbling, duels, 1v1s
Development Areas: high-risk dribbles, not electric quick
One year after achieving promotion, Real Valladolid suffered relegation after drawing 0-0 to Getafe on the final day, missing out on safety by a point. From Cyle Larin to Gonzalo Plata, there will be plenty of players who will draw interest this summer amongst Pucela’s squad, but perhaps none more so than 18-year-old right back Iván Fresneda.
The Spaniard’s strong, broad but compact frame helps him to generate power in his shoulders to shrug off opponents whilst he’s dribbling, and he cleverly uses his upper body to battle wingers & force them away from goal. Fresneda’s unique profile is partially down to his ability to invert into midfield. In these movements, he’s press resistant and composed on the ball as he often uses drag backs & ball rolls to beat rushing attackers. He even uses flicks to fool the opposition and disguise passes.
His technical ability is illustrated in his attacking player when he beats players & delivers quality crosses. Being a young Spanish RB, it’s not surprising that his passing is accurate. However, this isn’t at the expense of his defensive ability. One area for development would his speed. He’s quick but not noticeably fast – similar to Ben White. If he implemented more explosivity, hip flexor strength & eccentric hamstring strength then he could access a new level of pace, but his top defensive awareness, body positioning & timing make up for it.
Fresneda’s anticipation when dealing with fast players allows him to make interceptions before they receive the ball to avoid them breaking away. The right back’s body positioning on tackles is key for 1v1s. He times his tackles well as he anticipates the best time to lunge forward & tackle the ball or to block. He runs side-on to see both the runner in behind & the player with the ball about to make the pass, enabling him to anticipate where the pass will go and intercept.
The teenager isn’t frightened to step up on the big occasions as he has impressed against Real Madrid and Barcelona against tricky 1v1 specialists, capable of defending well and drifting into the midfield and calmly passing the ball. Another positive sign with Fresneda’s mentality is the fact that he’s reportedly been learning German & English which shows that despite being only 17 at the time, he was well-prepared to make the move abroad and adapt to his surroundings.
Fresneda was rumoured to previously have a release clause of €40 million, but after suffering relegation, his clause has reportedly dropped to €20 million. Arsenal are reportedly interested in him as they look to sign an attack-minded right back to compete with Ben White, but Borussia Dortmund are pursuing the Spaniard and are looking to find a player who can provide an upgrade on Marius Wolf, Julian Ryerson and Thomas Meunier in possession and who can give them that added spark as they look to challenge Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title.
Real Madrid could also make a move as they seek to upgrade on Dani Carvajal and find a top-quality right back, whilst Brighton and Burnley could also be interested due to his execution of the inverted right back role. One thing is for certain: Iván Fresneda will not be playing in Spain’s second division next season.
By: Ben Mattinson / @Ben_Mattinson_
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Pressinphoto / Icon Sport