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Player Profile: Oscar Zambrano, The Ecuadorian Wonderkid

Oscar Zambrano is the talk of the town at the moment, with clubs all over Europe scouting him, ranging from Barcelona to Manchester United. Zambrano is set for a move away within this January Transfer Window for a reported fee of just £5.5m, but everyone is asking the same question as the reports continue to fly in. Who is Oscar Zambrano?

The situation is similar to 2020 when Manchester United was actively looking into signing Moises Caicedo from Independiente Del Valle. The fee for Zambrano is currently £5.5m, the same price they chose not to pay for Caicedo at that time. It’s a decision the club have gone on to rue in the years that have followed, and they will want to be careful not to allow history to repeat itself with Zambrano.

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How Good Is Oscar Zambrano?

Zambrano is yet to complete 30 full 90-minute matches as a professional footballer, but his quality even within that period has shown why he’s such a hot commodity. He is a right-footed ball-winning holding midfielder, in a similar ilk to his fellow countryman Moises Caicedo. Zambrano however is more of a lone 6 to Caicedo and could play the position to a better level than the Chelsea midfielder, who is more effective as part of a double pivot.

Oscar Zambrano is a powerful tool to have on the transition in regards to progressive carries. He can get his team up the pitch through his running, which is a tool Manchester United lack in midfield at the moment. It may point toward why the Reds are scouting Zambrano, as they look to add that athleticism to the middle of the park.

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He is intelligent on the ball and has a knack for dropping into pockets of space to receive and play the ball to a team-mate. Zambrano can read the game to a high level and has a good sense of when to engage in a duel and when not to. Tackling is one of his best traits, which is helped by his ability to be in the right place at the right time. Positioning as a defensive midfielder can be just as important as a striker in the box for a tap-in, and Zambrano is in the right position more often than not.

The Ecuadorian’s line breaking ability is also one of his best traits, and it’s an abililty that all the top manager’s look for when they’re scouting a six to sign for their team. Zambrano is assured and calm in possession, and also has the vision to match to allow him to break lines from a deep position in the middle of the park.


Zambrano’s main weakness is his aerial ability. The midfielder is not top class in the air despite his physical stature, and it’s certainly one area of his game he will need to improve going forward if he is to become a top top midfielder in the modern game.

Statistical Analysis:

In the Copa Sudamericana this season, Oscar Zambrano has a passing success rate of 89.3% and a long-ball accuracy of 81%. The midfielder is averaging accurate 3.97 long balls per game, with 57.05 successful passes per 90 minutes also an impressive statistic to add to his resume.

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Dribbling isn’t usually a trait you’d associate with a defensive midfielder, but Zambrano is a very talented dribbler due to his pace on the transition and ability to breeze past players. With 2.14 successful dribbles per 90, it’s not hard to see why the Premier League are sold on the idea of signing the Ecuador international. He also has a dribble success rate of 100%, which is startling for a player of his age.

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Interceptions was something eluded to previously in the article as one of his clear traits, so it’s no surprise to see him have 1.53 per 90 minutes, along with a tackle success rate of 90%. Stats are never the ball all and end all when judging a player, but his underlying numbers being that good along with him being pleasing on the eye are a really good sign.

Who Needs Him Most?

Oscar Zambrano would be a huge addition to any midfield in the Premier League, but when it comes to the three clubs linked with hin at this moment, it’s hard to argue against Luton Town being the club who need him most. Zambrano would suit the combative style Luton have showcased in the Premier League thus far this season, and would add a new dimension of power and quality in the middle of the park. It could be the key ingredient in them staying up this season.

Manchester United could use a player like Zambrano, but he’s unlikely to come in and start straight away. The Reds however will be wary of missing out on the midfielder now for £5.5m, and watching him turn into a £105m player within 2 years. That’s what happened with Moises Caicedo, and it’s a lesson that would have hit home within the upper echelons at Manchester United last summer.

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Bournemouth are the only club to formally submit a bid thus far, and Zambrano would of course suit the style of play Andoni Iraola is trying to enforce at Bournemouth. The Cherries have gone from strength to strength in recent weeks after a rocky start, and signing Zambrano could give them that extra push to shoot further up the table.

Still, Luton Town are the club that would benefit the most from signing Zambrano, but as of right now i looks more likely that Bournemouth will win the race to sign him. That being said, Manchester United are not yet out of the race, and there could yet be twists to the tale.

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