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Burnley are looking to further strengthen their midfield and have identified La Liga club Eibar’s Gonzalo Escalante as a potential target, according to reports from Sky Sports.
The 24-year old played a key role for his club as they finished 10th in the La Liga standings, by scoring 2 goals and 3 assists from 30 league outings. The report claims that Sean Dyche is an admirer of Escalante and that the Clarets have been scouting him for close to a year now. Any potential move in the summer is likely to cost Burnley in the range of £6million.
Let’s see who exactly Gonzalo Escalante is and what will he be able to bring to the table, if Burnley sign him.
Born in Bella Vista, Argentina, on 27 March 1993, Escalante began his footballing journey with Boca Juniors. Having come through the ranks with the Argentine giants, he broke through into the first team in 2013, making his debut against San Martin de San Juan on 13 April. Having made 11 appearances for the club in over a year, the midfielder was loaned out to Italian Serie B side Catania in August 2014, with an option to buy.
Having impressed in the first few months at his new club, Catania made the move for Escalante a permanent one in January 2015. He finished the season with a solitary goal from 26 league games. The Argentine was taken on loan by Eibar in the summer of 2015 for a year. He scored in his debut for the La Liga club, in a 3-1 win against Granada. The temporary move was made permanent in January 2016, with him signing a contract with the Armeros until 2020.
Having finished his first season with 3 goals and 2 assists in 34 league games, he managed to produce almost similar returns last season, scoring 2 goals and 3 assists in 30 matches.
Primarily a central midfielder, who can play as a classic No.8 or in a defensive midfield role, Escalante is also adept at slotting in on the right-hand side of a 4-4-2 as well.
The 24-year old possesses all the necessary attributes to perform the holding role in the middle of the park. An excellent tackler of the ball, last season he won 59 of his 87 tackles (68% success) and made a total of 41 interceptions and 25 blocks too. His ability to read the danger and the positional awareness that he displays in the midfield are strong features of his game.
However, he does lack the range of distribution from the deep areas and prefers to keep it simple with short passes. Escalante isn’t someone who will get you a lot of goals or chances to score, as he prefers to sit behind. Most of his movement on the pitch is usually lateral. And he does tend to give away a lot of fouls, although that is natural for someone playing the role that he plays in. Last season, he accumulated 10 yellow cards and 1 red card.
Escalante has a contract until 2020 with Eibar, but according to Sky Sports, he will be available at £6million. The Argentine will add some bite and tenacity in the middle of the park, but doesn’t offer a great deal going forward.
Burnley have strengthened their midfield already this summer, having brought in Jack Cork from Swansea City, who operates in a similar position to Escalante. The 24-year old will not improve the first-team a great deal and will largely be a squad player if signed by the Clarets.