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Mamelodi Sundowns

New Age Kekana? What R18m Midfielder Brings To Sundowns

Mamelodi Sundowns coup of Bolivar midfielder Erwin Saavedra has been well publicized; but what exactly are the Brazilians getting in return for their reported R18m transfer fee.

As reported by the Siya crew, the Bolivian international is set to complete a bumper move to the Chloorkop-based outfit in the coming days, with his club Bolivar bidding farewell to their captain.

With very little information known about the 25-year-old midfielder, Soccer Laduma takes a look at what Saavedra brings to Sundowns’ star-studded table.

Leadership

Despite being only 25, Saavedra was named as the captain of Bolivar, where he came through the club’s ranks having joined in 2013. The midfielder spent nearly a decade at the club where he led them to four trophies. Saavedra is also a regular in the Bolivian national team where he has been regarded as one of the senior figures of the side.

Skill

A common thread amongst South American players is their prowess when it comes to one-on-one duels. Evidence presented in videos of the midfielder shows how easily he manages to glide past opponents in the middle of the park. It is also a quality he possesses when in the box where he shows deft composure before slotting home.

Long range shooting

This is perhaps the one element where Saavedra brings a different element to the Brazilians. Since the departure of Hlompho Kekana who was known for his trademark thunderbolts, Sundowns have been lacking in that area. Saavedra could prove to be a solution for the team in this regard, especially when coming up against teams with more rigid defence lines. A number of Saavedra’s goals for Bolivar have come from well outside the 18-yard area with a technique hardly seen in the DStv Premiership.

Goals

Whether he is scoring them or setting them up, Saavedra is all about goals. In his last season with Bolivar, he managed 13 goals in all competitions – although he is the club’s designated penalty taker –  it is worth noting, however that he chips in with a fair number of assists too. The Bolivia international has provided nine assists for his teammates in the 2021 season.

Should Saavedra manage to hit the ground running when he lands in Mzansi, his signing will go a long way in aiding Sundowns’ plight to get back to the summit of continental football and replicate the feats of 2016 when they were crowned CAF Champions League winners.

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