As the transfer window slammed shut, fans of Everton were left shaking their head due to the transfer activities of their club. Fan favorite Mikel Arteta left on the last moments of the deadline day to Arsenal in a £10m deal. Earlier that day, strikers Jermaine Beckford and Yakubu too departed Goodison Park for Leicester and Blackburn respectively.When it was announced that Everton had signed 23 year old Argentine striker Denis Stracqualursi on loan from Tigres, fans were left with a major ‘who is he?‘
Stracqualursi, or ‘Denis the Menace’ as the Everton fans have nick-named him, started his career in the Argentinian 3rd division team Union de Sunchales in 2007. He played 24 games for Union and scored 11 goals and earned himself a transfer to Gimnasia-LP. In the two seasons he played for Gimnasia, Stracqualursi scored a paltry 6 goals in 45 games and was loaned out to Tigre at the start of the 2010/11 season with an option to make the deal permanent. Stracqualursi had a very productive season with struggling Tigre as he topped the goal scoring charts with 21 goals in 38 games.
Stracqualursi is so different from the archetypical Argentinian forwards. He is tall (6’3″) and powerfully built and unlike his short albeit tricky peers, Stracqualursi is more like an old fashioned No9. He is very strong in the air and is essentially a player who prefers being inside the box and waiting for the opportune moment to pounce. It is no wonder that a majority of his goals have either been headers or tap-ins. With his aerial ability, he would be a very welcome addition to the Everton squad where Leighton Baines would take glee pinging cross after cross onto Stracqualursi’s head. His defining moment came when he hit a hattrick against Boca and that too at the Bombonera no less. He planted two good headers and converted a penalty as he scored the first hattrick in 15 years at the Bombonera. I checked the youtube and found this spiffy compilation by someone on Stracqualursi.
Now let’s talk about the negatives. Inspite of his good aerial abilities, Stracqualursi’s positioning leaves a lot to be desired as you could see from the video. At 2:37, Stracqualursi tries to get on to a cross but his positioning fails him and he eventually scores the rebound ball from his colleague. Also the Premier League will present him a different set of challenge with defenders who are actually good in the air. Stracqualursi reportedly came to England to go on trial with Championship big spenders Leicester City but couldn’t convince Sven Goran Erikson, who instead plumped for Beckford. But I wouldn’t take Sven’s judgement on a striker as the gospel as his previous buys like Jo, Rolando Bianchi and Felipe Caicedo present a different story altogether. Maybe Sven can’t spot talent or maybe this time he actually found that the player was pants, that time only would tell us. But there should be something good about Traka (as he is known) that Napoli decided to submit a £6m bid for his services only to be knocked back by Tigre who themselves paid only £1.17m to make his transfer permanent.
For now David Moyes and the Everton fans would be hoping that Traka’s no nosense style would click and he could start pinging in the goals. If the player applies his mind and works more on his positioning, he could become a force to be reckoned with.