Santi Giménez – The Next Mexican Striker to Reach the Top?

It took Santiago Giménez a relatively long time to establish himself as Feyenoord’s starting striker, but ever since he has, even bigger clubs have taken notice of the Argentine-born Mexican international. Resilient, fairly complete in his skill set, and ambitious. One of the next big strikers in European football.


Until the end of January, Giménez was mostly a substitute, coming off the bench to replace Brazilian striker Danilo – another new name in Rotterdam. As Feyenoord’s manager – Arne Slot – alluded to, Giménez had to reach a certain fitness standard, to be able to perform his duties without the ball, before he could ever start regularly. Once he reached the appropriate level, he earned his spot in the starting 11 and Slot hasn’t looked back since.


Feyenoord: A Club Saved by Its Youth Academy


Giménez has managed to find the net in 9 out of his last 13 league matches, all of which he started. He’s even broken a Feyenoord club record that’s been around since the 60s, by scoring in 7 Eredivisie matches in a row. It’s not just the Eredivisie however, as he’s been on fire in the Dutch Cup and has also added a total of 4 European goals this season. Santi has become the third Mexican player ever to score 20+ goals in his first European season, alongside Javier Hernández & Luis García. What makes this El Tri international special, however, and why are so many big European teams lining up for him?

Santi’s main quality is without a doubt his movement. He combines an excellent understanding of where to exploit space in relation to the positioning of his teammates and the opposition, with impeccable timing. Known for his trademark blind side to near-post runs, often resulting in big chances.

In general, he shows good variation in the types of runs he makes. Quality diagonal runs, can get in behind the defence, or drop deep or wide to help build the attack. But also, his ability to create space for teammates – by either pushing the opposition defence back or making well-timed dummy runs – shouldn’t be underestimated.



Another big plus is that he’s not overly reliant on service, as so many strikers are. Giménez is capable of creating his own shooting angles, through ball manipulation or body feints. Strength-wise, he’s a tough match-up for most Eredivisie defenders, but has struggled to reproduce the same dominance in some of the bigger European matches. Giménez doesn’t get used much as a hold-up striker in Feyenoord’s high-tempo football, but could definitely fit the role, with his shielding ability, unselfish nature and link-up potential.



The striker is not blessed with pace, as he comes across as a bit sluggish while in motion, but he does have just enough acceleration from stand-still positions to be able to create separation. A strong target in front of goal, with a solid leap and plenty of power and accuracy to his headers. Left-footed, but capable with both feet. And even if he’s over-performing his xG by 2.59, the numbers don’t tell the full story, as composure in front of goal is something that can still be improved.



But even when one looks beyond the obvious quality he represents and his impressive goal-scoring record, there’s the mental aspect. As Arne Slot recently said, Giménez didn’t come to the Netherlands for the money, as he could’ve earned more in Mexico. He came to Europe because of his ambition and hunger.


He has so far overcome the hurdles of his first foreign adventure with a smile on his face. Shown great resolve in his quest to live up to Arne Slot’s high standards and plenty of resilience on the pitch, with which he’s added a competitive edge to this Feyenoord side, that has been crucial in their road to the title. 


It will be tough for Feyenoord to hold on to the popular Mexican in case the rumours are true, and they receive an offer of around €30 million. However, with Champions League group stage football guaranteed, Giménez can only get better in Rotterdam. Particularly if that other key figure – Arne Slot – ends up staying one more season as well.


By: Kristijan Plazonja / @SerbFootyScout

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Soccrates Images – Getty Images