Should Mamelodi Sundowns complete the signing of midfielder Erwin Saavedra, they would be getting a player with a dynamic range of abilities.
Should Saavedra indeed become the latest South American to join the club known as the Brazilians, he may end up replacing another player from the same continent at Downs, Gaston Sirino.
That’s because Masandawana already have a full quota of five foreign players and so would need to offload one to make way for Saavedra.
It’s widely thought that it could be Sirino who leaves – while he’s had a successful stay with Sundowns, his relationship with the club seems to have turned sour after he made it clear he wanted to join former coach Pitso Mosimane at Al Ahly, the Egyptian giants.
Should that be the case, Saavedra would however be effectively a like-for-like swap for Sirino – in a Youtube highlights package, the Bolivian can be seen exhibiting several similar characteristics to the Venezuelan currently on Downs’ books.
That includes quick feet for dribbling, a wonderful drop of a shoulder with a change of direction, the acceleration required to beat an opponent, the guile to thread in a teammate on goal, and a clinical touch in front of goal.
However, while Sirino operates further forward, Saavedra generally operates closer to the centre circle, while having the power to burst forward on occasion.
Like former Sundowns skipper Hlompho Kekana, he’s able to pull the strings with a strong passing game in the centre of the park and when needed, is not scared to go into a challenge.
And like Kekana, Saavedra has a knack of scoring some spectacular long-range goals; there are some impressive examples online.
The 25-year-old Saavedra is currently on national team duty (World Cup qualifiers versus Venezuela and Chile) and may only arrive in South Africa in early February, if the deal does indeed go through.
Currently valued around one million Euros last season for his club side Bolivar, Saavedra delivered 13 goals and nine assists in 36 league and cup matches.