Argentinos Juniors had a rather underwhelming 2023, despite qualifying for Copa Sudamericana this year.
Even though 22-year-old Luciano Gondou led their scoring chart, the player that stood apart from everyone else in terms of quality was Federico Redondo.
His surname holds a certain stature in world football, and the 20-year-old has been living up to it since last year. Gabriel Milito deployed him in a double pivot system, but Redondo has shown time and time again that he can function as a lone defensive midfielder.
Comfortably one of the best young midfielders in Argentina last season, offers from Europe are expected to knock on his doors soon, especially with his contract running out in December this year.
On hand to discuss the player in detail is @totoscrib.
Federico Redondo Player profile
At a towering 6'2", Federico possesses both strength and athleticism, but it's his brilliance and talent on and off the ball that truly sets him apart. He always scans the ground, at a rate that only comes naturally to world class defensive midfielders. Redondo’s anticipation skill is near perfect because of this.
As he often drops deep to receive the ball from the goalkeeper or centre backs, he does his due diligence before asking for the pass.
Even with an opponent ready to press him, Redondo pre-plans on which foot he is going to receive the pass and the direction towards which he will turn. Even at a young age, the son of Fernando has mastered the art of disguising his intentions. The way he positions his body to get the ball and turn is brilliant.
Redondo is never not aware of what is happening around him. He always moves into the right space, at the right time. This spatial savvy helps him to be free when the ball reaches him.
And even if there is a marker who is ready to close him down, the Argentine does not shy away from taking on that opponent.
He is not hesitant to invite press at times, so that he can create space for his teammates and then find the right passing lane to move the ball forward.
Passing is not the only way for Federico to push the ball to the final third. His physique allows him to progress through bounding and stomping strides.
However, for a player who gives 50.77 passes per 90, more than half of them are not progressive. This is also because the opponents sometimes set up in a way to shut him down and force lateral and backward passes.
At times his success rate when it comes to taking on his marker also leaves a bit to be desired. However, that is not something he cannot work on and perfect in the future.
Redondo is a phenom in the making when it comes to his off the ball actions. He not only dictates the game in possession, but charges toward the opponents to win the ball back.
He promptly uses his strength and the length of his hands and legs to dispossess the strikers. Already one of the finest in the league in ball recoveries and interception, his imposing presence helps him do well aerially too.
This aligns with the fact that he has won 67% of the duels he engaged in with 9.06 ball recoveries per 90. His pace while defending transitions can be pointed out as a weakness, but that is something a good rest defence set-up by the right manager can fix to an extent.
This same issue often makes him prone to committing fouls as well.
Redondo has already caught the attention of many European giants and of Argentina’s biggest club in River Plate. His ability to seamlessly pull off reverse passes to break the first line of defense or find the strikers alone makes him a prized possession.
Comfortable as a lone pivot or partnered with another midfielder at the base of the midfield, his profile is highly sought after in the game these days.
Season coming to an end in Argentina should make it easier for European clubs to negotiate for him.
As the CONMEBOL pre-olympic tournament starts on 20th of January and the player is very likely to be called up by Mascherano if he is fully fit by that time, Argentinos Juniors can soon expect some queries.
Despite being compared with some very good players of his skill-set, Redondo has it all to be a player of his own style in the future. He has room for improvement in certain areas, but the sky is the limit for him.
Hailing from a nation where deep-lying midfielders are revered a lot, or the ‘5’ as they call it, expectations for him are higher than ever.