Argentine youth system has dried up some what in the recent years with various drawbacks such as immense corruption, lack of proper organisation and long term planning etc being the attributed reasons. In fact things were so bad during Copa 2017, that it was said that Lionel Messi was paying the security staff of AFA from his own pocket during the entire tournament. Argentina have not produced a world class defender after Roberto Ayala left the scene in 2007, they have not produced a world class full back after Zanetti, a world class CM has not come out from Argentina for decades, Cambiasso and Mascherano were the last two famous No 5 from Argentina and both have retired, they have not produced a WC goalkeeper for ages,but one position Argentina was never short of is the CF/SS/ST position which they have never stopped producing. Apart from one of the all time bests in Lionel Messi operating in current era , the baton from Batigol,Crespo etc has been passed down to the likes of Milito, Higuain, Aguero etc and which is being carried forward by the likes of Icardi and Dybala. However, a new name which has burst on to the scene in recent times and is causing a lot of ravings is Lautaro Martinez, the boy from Racing Club who has now joined Inter.
Lautaro Martinez is a typical Latin American CF i.e. he has the technical abilities combined with strength and finishing and is being stylistically compared to the likes of Aguero and Romario. Of course Parts of Europe and Latin America has always been miles ahead of English football in matters of tactical evolution and have been producing CF’s of similar molds. Whilst the England team until recent times did not deploy a technical creative CF specializing in Zonal link up play (Sterling is more of a wide forward and Owen relied more on his pace and running off the shoulder of the last defender than build up play), their emphasis historically always being on strong muscular target men, Latin Americans started producing such players decades earlier with players who were adept at playing the role of “Ponta da lanca” made famous by the all time great named Pele and then with players like Jairzinho, Tostao, Hugo Sanchez,Romario etc. Even the much fan followed EPL was tactically much inferior to its European counterparts until recent times when innovative managers like Pep, Klopp, Pochettino etc have started the revolution there, which explains their timid showing in the European Competitions in the last decade and more. Lautaro is in the mold of the traditional Latin American CF who helps in link up play, bamboozles with clever movements, takes on defenders and finishes with aplomb. Entire Europe was scouting him last season and he ultimately joined Inter Milan for a hefty sum.
Lautaro has all the skills and has performed with much consistency during his Racing days. But he is not the finished product yet and needs to be nurtured and given effort to get acclaimed with the higher standards of European football. Inter will no doubt groom him to form a formidable partnership with Icardi or even replace him eventually if Icardi leaves for a blockbuster move to any of the current European giants.But there are definitely kinks in his game which requires to be ironed out. At Racing he has been deployed as a second striker as well as a lone striker. His passing is good, so is his link up play, but he still lacks the composure and sometimes takes the wrong decision which is understandable him being only 20. This is one aspect he needs to work on and improve his passing accuracy as well as final ball. Also he needs to take care of the ball more so that he curbs down being dispossessed under pressure, lack of composure means he loses the ball too much despite having a good first touch. He needs to work on his other aspects of the game too such as turning round the defender and finishing with his either feet especially the weaker foot, a feat Aguero is master of. Only talent and promise is not enough today to sustain a player in the highest of stages. We have seen a plethora of player failing to live up to their potential either due to losing their way or due to injuries. However if Lautaro Martinez can keep on working on his game and remains devoid of injuries, we can hope to see another Argentine Forward reigning supreme in the European scene in the coming years.