Alfreð Finnbogason: Is he the next Afonso Alves or Ruud van Nistelrooy?
One of the many players, who impressed during Iceland’s ultimately doomed pursuit of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup was forward Alfreð Finnbogason. Aged just 24, the free scoring striker, has caught the eye of plenty of clubs thanks to his club form, this season which has seen him score 14 goals and three assists in just 11 League games. He plays for Dutch club SC Heerenveen, which has produced both Afonso Alves and Ruud van Nistelrooy, both of whom scored loads of goals for the Dutch club, but only latter able to make a mark on the League.
With plenty of Premier League clubs interested in his signature, let us take a closer look at the Icelander and find out if he is the real deal, or is just another striker who scores a bucket load of goals in the Eredivise, but goes missing at the first sign of trouble.
Who is Alfreð Finnbogason?
Alfreð is striker who currently plays for Dutch club SC Heerenveen since signing for the Dutch club last summer. In his debut season with club, he ended up as the third highest scorer in the Eredivise with 24 goals. In the current campaign, he already has 14 goals, only Cristiano Ronaldo with 16 has scored more in the major European leagues than the Icelandic striker.
Alfreð started his carrer with Icelandic club Breiðablik in 2005, and played in the club’s highly successful youth team alongside future internationals Gylfi Sigurðsson and Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson. He made his senior debut in 2008 and the following year, his 13 goals in 18 league games meant that he was voted Young player of the year by his teammates. He finished the following season as the league’s top goal scorer with 14 goals, and was voted player of the year for the second straight year as Breiðablik won their first league title. He left the club in November 2010 to play for Belgian club Lokeren, and was on-loan at Swedish champions Helsingborgs before coming to the Dutch club.
Style of play
He is a finisher in the Michael Owen mould and is someone who is very clinical in front of goal. His career club record so far stands at 100 goals in just 161 games, a record not many can match, especially given the fact that he hasn’t played for the biggest clubs, who create plenty of chances. Not one to spurn too many opportunities that come his way, Alfreð has made his name as a fox-in-the-box.
Aside from his finishing, his link up play with the midfield is one that will no doubt interest plenty of clubs, and aside from his 14 goals this season, he also has three assists to his name and has played almost 2 key passes each game, which is impressive, considering the fact that he is the player tasked with leading the attack.
Apart from his clinical finishing, if there is one thing that the Icelandic forward is good at, it is his ability to not just hold the ball, but make good use of it as well. His intelligence on the ball and his close control is one aspect which sets him apart from most forwards.
Although he is the leading attacker, Alfreð is known for pressing from the front and his contribution in defense is one that shouldn’t be discounted. He averages almost a tackle every game and is very adept at intercepting balls from the back. This coupled with his clinical finishing makes him a threat for any defense.
Although Alfreð stands little over 6 feet in height, his ability in the air is not one of his greatest strengths. Although he is well-built, he still isn’t very physical in his play and at times can be bullied off the ball a little too easily. Although this doesn’t bode too well, if he is to come to the Premier League, it is certainly something that can be worked on, in the training ground.
Another area that needs to be worked on, is the timing of his runs. Alfreð is someone who plays on the shoulder of the last defender and as a result is caught offside plenty of times. In fact, he averages close to 2 off sides per game and that is certainly one aspect of his play that needs some attention.
Alfreð would be a perfect fit for a mid-table club, who are on the lookout for a finisher. Whilst he is not the finished article, he has all the makings of a great goal scorer and a move to the Premier League would do him a world of good. There are reports that West Ham are interested in the Icelandic forward, and that looks like the perfect destination for both him and the Hammers.Published 21 Nov 2013, 00:20 IST