After a breakthrough 15/16 season with CSKA Moscow and dazzling performances at the 2016 European Championships, the world took notice of Aleksandr Golovin.
The Russian sensation was linked to many elite clubs around Europe, but chose to stay at his first professional club.
Two years later, at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Aleksandr Golovin was once again impressive as Russia beat Spain to reach the quarter-finals of the competition. This time around, he was even better. In the two years since his breakthrough, Golovin had improved his game and was now running Russia’s midfield.
Following the World Cup, Aleksandr Golovin sealed a move to Monaco, where he has been ever since. His role at Monaco is different to the one he plays with the national team, but his versatility and superb adaptability make him a complete midfielder.
While moving to Monaco was a fantastic decision to further his career, it seems inevitable that an elite club will swoop in for him sooner rather than later.
Here’s what makes Aleksandr Golovin so good.
Ball progression and vision
One of Golovin’s best qualities is his ability to move the ball forward. He loves to move ahead with the ball and exploit the gaps between the lines. Golovin's remarkable spatial awareness allows him to drift into space and connect the play.
In the 2019/20 season, Golovin ranked 4th on the list of players in terms of progressive carrying distance in Ligue 1.
When he has the ball, Golovin is one of the most dangerous players in Ligue 1. In the 19/20 season, he made a total of 45 key passes. His stats are just as impressive when looked at on a per 90 basis. Golovin made 1.9 key passes, completed 1.6 dribbles, and took 1.5 shots per 90 last season.
Aleksandr Golovin is generally given a free role at Monaco and is allowed to link-up play. However, he is also extremely astute in making space for his teammates when he is off the ball. Golovin's intelligent movement allows the likes of Wissam Ben Yedder and Islam Slimani to receive the ball in scoring positions.
Versatility and game sense
Unlike technical ability, there are very few ways to train game sense. Usually, as a player gets more experience playing first-team football, they develop a better understanding of the sport. However, Golovin seems to be one of the players who has an inherent ability to read the game.
While Golovin prefers to play in a central role, Leonardo Jardim has deployed him in various positions to great effect. His ability to perform in any area of the midfield is paralleled by his superb tactical adaptability. Whether he is asked to play as a central midfielder in a 4-3-3 or out wide in a 4-4-2, Golovin rarely disappoints.
In conclusion, Aleksandr Golovin is an intelligent player who is showing every sign of living up to the hype surrounding him. Although he is valued at 20 million euros by transfermarkt, Monaco will likely demand a much higher fee from any club that wants to sign him. It is also possible that Golovin remains at Monaco after having signed a new 4-year deal in March.Published 06 Sep 2020, 20:30 IST