AGONA Spotlight: Emanuel Insua, A shining light for Panathinaikos
He does not score often but when he does, Panathinaikos’ left back Emanuel Insua does it in style and turns heads.
Here is the lowdown on the Argentine that has endeared himself in Athens.
Career before Panathinaikos
Born in the Argentinean capital Buenos Aires on the 10th of April, 1991, he came through the ranks at boyhood club Boca Juniors and made his professional debut in 2012 at the age of 21. In 2015, he joined then La Liga club Granada for a fee rumoured to be in the region of 2.5 million euros. He only lasted one season in Spain before moving to Udinese, but again life was not easy in Italy as he struggled to adapt to living in a foreign country. He did not make a first team appearance in the Serie A.
As a result, he was loaned out to Newell’s Old Boys and then Racing Club in his native Argentina and steadily regained his confidence. He signed with Panathinaikos in the summer of 2017. In Greece, has been a consistent performer and is one of the first names on the team sheet every week, resurrecting his career.
Last summer, La Liga club Las Palmas made a tempting offer but Nikos Dabizas and Giorgos Donis held firm, knowing how vital he is to the Greens.
Insua is the younger brother of former Liverpool fullback Emiliano Insua, who currently plies his trade in the Bundesliga for Stuttgart.
Coming of age in the 2018/19 season
Things were supposed to be tough for the Trifylli this season, but the Argentine has come of age as he enters his peak. The man aptly nicknamed the “bison” due to his power, aggression, passion, and ability to cover large distances of the pitch has now found a home at Panathinaikos amidst this season’s rebuilding.
Overall, this season can be seen as a massive step in the right direction as many talented youngsters have experienced regular first team football. However, cool, experienced heads are required during this time and that is exactly what Insua provides in an abundance.
He stated that he must “hunt for every ball like it is the last one” and enjoys the attacking side of the game when mentioning “my confidence rises every time I move higher up the pitch to attack the opposition back line and look for gaps.” It is this mentality that has been pivotal for Donis.
He has mustered three outstanding strikes during his time with Panathinaikos over the last two seasons. His first came in a home match last season against Lamia, which resulted in a 2-0 win. It involved a cheeky back-heel and a brilliant curling effort.
His second came in November 2018, in a 5-1 demolition of battlers Apollon Smyrnis. The left back scored after playing a neat one-two with Federico Macheda.
His third and most recent strike was possibly the most spectacular. His looping effort when lobbing the Aris goalkeeper sealed a great 2-0 win at OAKA.
Future at the Club
The Argentine has stated that he “always tries his best for Panathinaikos and the fans” and that he “feels very happy at the club”.
Now that he has found a home in Athens after previous failed stints in Europe, both parties are keen to talk about a new deal. In fact, a contract extension has become a priority for Dabizas as his current deal ends at the end of next season.
While the financial outlook at the club has somewhat improved, there will not be much room for increased earnings on Insua’s part. He is currently on a deal worth 250,000 Euro per season. Panathinaikos’ intention will be to reward him with a new long-term offer with a view to stability as he enters the best years of his career.