Samuel Omorodion: Spain’s Next Top Striker?

It has been nothing short of a meteoric rise for Samuel “Samu” Omorodion Aghehowa. Born in Melilla, Spain to Nigerian parents, Omorodion moved to Maracena, a municipality of Granada, at a young age. After progressing through the ranks at AD Nervión for six years, he joined Granada’s academy in 2021, eventually making his senior debut for Granada’s reserves on March 6, 2022, just two months shy of his 18th birthday.


Omorodion scored his first senior goal for Recreativo Granada on September 25, 2022, grabbing the equalizer in a 1-1 draw vs. El Ejido. This laid the foundation for a stellar campaign that would see him score 18 goals for Granada’s B team, earning interest from various Premier League and La Liga sides. On April 20, 2023, he renewed his contract with the Nazaríes until 2028, with Granada on course for an immediate return to the top-flight.


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He would make his first-team debut on August 14, 2023 in Granada’s La Liga opener, equalizing in the 62nd minute at Atletico Madrid. Memphis Depay would restore the hosts’ advantage immediately after whilst Marcos Llorente sealed the deal at the final second as Atleti prevailed 3-1, but it was nevertheless enough to draw the attention of the Rojiblancos. One week later, Omorodion joined Atletico on a five-year contract.


Despite having played just one match for the senior team, Atleti did not hesitate to trigger his €6 million release clause, before immediately loaning him out to Deportivo Alaves. Like Granada, Alaves made an immediate return to La Liga after suffering relegation in 2022. Unlike Granada, however, they look set to remain in the top-flight. Whilst Granada occupy the relegation zone, sitting 10 points away from safety, Alaves find themselves in 13th, with the Basque side currently five points above the drop.


Omorodion has proven crucial in Alaves’ return to La Liga under Luis Garcia, and he could be in line for a senior national team call-up sooner rather than later. The teenage striker received his first call-up for the Spanish u-19 side in April 2023, proceeding to represent La Rojita in the U-19 Euros. Eligible to represent Nigeria or Spain, Omorodion has already bagged 1 goal in 5 appearances for Spain’s U-19s as well as 2 goals in 4 for their U-21s.


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Whilst Nigeria have a plethora of young center forwards such as Victor Osimhen (25), Gift Orban (21) and Victor Boniface (23), Spain’s main options at the striker position are on the wrong side of 30: Joselu (33), Gerard Moreno (31) and captain Alvaro Morata (31). Luis de la Fuente may be tempted to give Omorodion a senior call-up sooner rather than later as he looks to beat the Super Eagles to the precocious talent and secure his long-term future.


Today, we’ll be delving deep into the data behind Samu Omorodion’s impressive debut campaign in Spain’s top-flight. Data used in the visualizations are taken from Fbref, Players having played less than 15-90s are taken in for comparison and player indication for Samuel Omorodion will be highlighted in gold for easy identification. This methodology will be applied for all the visualizations used in this player analysis.



The 19-year-old striker stands tall at 194cms (6’4”) and has been an absolute sensation with 9 goals already in his debut La Liga season. His pace and acceleration along with his movement have worked brilliantly for the teenager. His movement on the football pitch despite attacking or defending shows the level of footballing intelligence the forward possesses.


Rather than having him in the shadow of Alvaro Morata, Antoine Griezmann and co., Atletico’s decision to let him go out on a season-long loan has been working so far where the player has shown his approach towards every game, his work rate and buildup play. He can drop down and support in the build-up, he can be brutal in counter-attacks and he is aerially strong and his ability to escape marking and get into the gaps in front of the box has been outstanding. 




More than 80% of Samu’s shots have come from within the opposition penalty box and almost 50% of them have been on target. Samu has made an attempt on goal from almost everywhere in the 18-yard box, he has a good shooting technique and is very decisive in taking his attempt, there have been moments when Samu has slightly been off control and double-minded when making the attempt on goal but with time, experience and discipline he can become a lethal finisher of the game.


He has the perfect technique and knowledge on escaping tight marking to meet the ball the first time makes it difficult to mark. His presence inside the penalty box is very dangerous and makes it difficult for opponents to keep him silent. He also can drag players out creating spaces for his teammates.



Samu’s pace has taken most of the teams in the Spanish top flight by surprise and his putting his physicality into work has made it very difficult to cope for the opponents. He has no doubts when making his attempt, and his technique to get set and let go of the shot has been incredible and with room to improve will only increase his importance and dangerousness inside the final third.

His off-ball positioning inside the final third has been impressive as he often makes space for himself in order to finish or look for better positioning to find the result, when he tries to get in spaces, he pulls an opponent breaking the holding line of the defensive team, this creates higher chances of finding the back of the net.



In the first image, Samu calls for the ball in the open space and cuts in front of the defender, the reason for him to get into the space before the defender to score is his acceleration to pick up the pace to be fast. He has the agility and physicality to beat players.


In the second, Samu sees the open space between the first post and defender in front of him and for him to get there to head the ball inside the net, he diverts the defender by trying to go in between the defenders and change his direction and picks up acceleration to reach the ball in the right time for the header showing the class and IQ of a top-class finisher.



Samu does not drop into the middle third like Harry Kane or Karim Benzema as he radiates in and around the attacking third, but he manages to find himself in the build-up play. The 19-year-old has a dribbling technique that flows naturally and is appetizing to watch, as it makes a perfect combination with his physicality and pace to beat defenders. Samu has been brought down multiple times, including tactical fouls, and frustration makes it easy to understand why he has been injury-prone so far in his career.


He can keep himself in the position to play one-touch passes to find more space by stretching out the field of play and he can also position himself the right way to reach for through passes by breaking the lines of the defensive team. Him being an absolute beast in pouncing on loose balls to initiate counter attacks or keep hold of the ball until finding his teammate in a better position to keep the play moving but he has to work on his final balls during build-up.


Occasionally his decision-making is poor on releasing the ball at the right time and he lacks awareness of the final pass. His passes in the final third are being read easily by the opposing team. If and when he loses the ball, he possesses little interest to win the ball back making it hard for his team defensively. 



He has been good in the attacking third and shows little determination to win the ball back, he does show signs of fighting but he should improve his decision-making when giving in for challenges or tackles. Samu has been very good in reading the covering zones and reading the second balls shows his ability to play by the coach’s playbook but he has a lot to work on helping the team in the lower block such as dropping to middle third in required situations and set pieces. 


Samuel “Samu” Omorodion Aghehowa is a very raw talent, showing signs of a top-class finisher with room to improve in almost every aspect to become a world-class finisher, and he could very well be forcing his way into Diego Simeone’s first team next season. Whilst Memphis Depay (30) only has 15 months left on his contract, Alvaro Morata (31), Antoine Griezmann (32) and Angel Correa (29)’s contracts will all expire in 2026. At 19 years of age, Omorodion may just have what it takes to emerge as Atletico Madrid’s long-term answer at the center forward position.


By: Sive Vishwa / @sive_vishwa

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Soccrates Images / Getty Images