Why the impressive Aridane Santana is a smart addition to the Hyderabad FC attack!

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Aridane Santana Hyderabad FC Odisha FC ISL 6
ISL
The burly Spaniard had an impressive debut season in the ISL last time around...

It is no secret that most successful teams in the Indian Super League (ISL) have had prolific strikers powering their attack.

Be it Ferran Corominas for FC Goa, Miku for Bengaluru FC, Roy Krishna for ATK or Nerijus Valskis for Chennaiyin FC, a top marksman is a difference maker when things get tight in the ISL or any league for that matter.

Hyderabad FC, who had an extremely disappointing inaugural season last time around, have been hard at work in the off season, trying to put together a competitive squad.

Apart from recruiting some interesting overseas players in Australian attacker Joel Chianese and Brazilian midfielder Joao Victor, the Nizams have made a brilliant addition to their attack by roping in former Odisha FC striker Aridane Santana.

While Santana might not be the biggest name when it comes to attacking signings in the ISL this time around, one can't overlook the Spaniard's performances from last season.

If one goes by just the numbers, Santana scored nine goals last season for Odisha FC and contributed two assists in just 14 matches before seeing his campaign come to a premature end due to an unfortunate injury to his left foot.

Aridane Santana Odisha FC

Santana, who has an impressive goal conversion rate of 24 per cent, was at one point leading the goalscoring charts ahead of the likes of Bartholomew Ogbeche, Krishna or even Valskis and it seemed he would propel Odisha into the play-offs. But the team lost their way towards the end and finished outside the top four.

Though Santana's replacement, Manuel Onwu, scored seven goals for Odisha in the remaining games, it was evident that Santana's contribution was not just limited to goals.

Santana, though he stands 6'3" tall and has a burly physique, is much more than just a target man. He is surprisingly agile for his stature and has nimble feet that he puts to good use. The former Tenerife striker was heavily involved in the build-up play for Odisha FC, forming a deadly partnership with Xisco Hernandez.

He would drop deep when required and play in his teammates or spread the ball wide to the wingers as and when required. And inside the penalty box, his physique did come of use to him.

Crucially, Santana did help out in defence too, especially during set-pieces. 16 tackles, 38 clearances and 10 blocks in 14 matches show that Santana is a team player who contributes in whatever manner he can.

The 33-year-old is without doubt a smart addition to Hyderabad FC who struggled in all areas of the pitch last season. They scored just 21 goals the entire season and conceded 39. Most of their overseas players, with the exception of probably Marcelinho, struggled to make an impact last season.

Santana being a proven player, Hyderabad's shrewd move should pay off provided unfortunate instances like injuries do not play spoilsport.

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