THE AGONASPORT PROFILE: ANDRES CHAVEZ
AGONAsport Nick Tsambouniaris give us a breakdown of who is Marcus Berg’s replacement at Panathinaikos, Andres Chavez.
Argentine striker Andres Chavez will replace Marcus Berg as the new #9 of Panathinaikos. Chavez started his career in his native Argentina with Primera Division club Banfield, making his senior debut in 2010 as a 19 year old. In 2014, he made the step up by switching to Argentine giants Boca Juniors and made a telling impact within months by scoring the all important goal to secure the Copa Argentina for his club.
Whilst at Boca he made 64 appearances, scoring 18 goals in the process. He spent last season on loan at Brazilian club Sao Paulo, where he again caught the eye with a host of impressive performances by scoring 9 goals in 30 appearances.
Chavez has been described by Panathinaikos manager Marinos Ouzounidis as someone who will bring “personality, passion and goals” and don’t long-suffering fans know how much these three qualities are needed! The playing squad and club as a whole can do with a confident, charismatic #9 to lead the line. It will undoubtedly boost the spirits of the squad and in addition go a long way to help foster the culture Ouzounidis is trying to implement at the club.
He also differs from his predecessor Berg in this aspect as he will play up to the crowd and get the fans on side with whole-hearted performances. His passion is evident in his wild goal celebrations that will certainly put a smile on the face of the fan base. He is known to celebrate every goal he scores enthusiastically. This will again assist in getting the fans on side and illustrates Ouzounidis is seeking to add the right type of character.
STYLE OF PLAY
While he does not possess a terrific goals to games ratio, he is still a respectable option for Ouzounidis to turn to after missing out on Finnish international Teemu Pukki due to financial restraints imposed by Giannis Alafouzos. Chavez is now entering the prime of his career and a change of scenery by moving to a European league could be just what the doctor ordered.
He has an eye for the spectacular as demonstrated by the array of world-class goals he has scored from outside the box, however his predominate strengths are his strong left foot and great presence in the penalty box which even the most organised defences in the Greek SuperLeague will fear as he has relied on his left foot and sheer physicality for goals.
Furthermore, he can drift out to wide areas when needed to drag opposing centre backs out of play and open up space for teammates to attack. This could come in handy as it will complement the likes of Lucas Villafanez, Omri Altman and Robin Lod. In addition, it is hoped Chavez links up well and builds a solid understanding with countryman Villafanez when he returns from injury.
Chavez also joins a growing list of Argentineans to wear the Panathinaikos shirt and he will no doubt hope to emulate the feats of the popular Ezequiel Gonzalez and Sebastian Leto.
As it can be observed, this signing makes sense as Chavez offers an upside both on and off the field. Ouzounidis has signed a hungry player keen to prove a point and on paper looks to complement the attacking setup we have seen so far this season in the UEFA Europa League ties.
The Latin American flavour of Chavez, Luciano, Cabezas and Villafanez offers signs of hope. It is also a shrewd piece of business off the field as his passion should get fans excited and the Prasini have picked him up for less money than the older alternative of Pukki.
Naturally there is a risk associated with a player who has no experience playing in a European league but on the face of it, it looks like one the club needed to take it simply based on the tight financial constraints. He has a higher ceiling than Berg and it is now up to Ouzounidis to get the best out of him.