Milan, Inter, Arsenal: Why is everyone chasing Bologna's Erick Pulgar?

Milan, Inter, Arsenal: Why is everyone chasing Bologna's Erick Pulgar?
2019-04-07 - 11:30
Bologna midfielder Erick Pulgar is dominating the headlines at the moment. After a strong performance with Chile at Copa America, the side eliminated in the semi-final against Peru, and an important string of performances with Bologna in the 18/19 season to save the side from relegation, Pulgar is wanted by a whole array of clubs, including Premier League side Arsenal, as well as Italian sides Roma, AC Milan and Inter Milan, amongst others.

But why is everyone chasing Pulgar? What makes him such a special talent?

Well, aside from his €12 million release clause, which makes him a steal for any interested party, Pulgar is an extremely talented player. At 25-years-old, the Chilean offers a midway point between youth and experience and has spent nearly four years in Serie A, giving him around 100 games of top flight experience. 

Positionally, Pulgar often plays as a defensive midfielder but can, for this reason, play in a more advanced central midfield role. A lot of comparisons have been made, however, between Puglar and another famous Chilean midfielder, Barcelona and former Juventus star Arturo Vidal. From the charts embedded below, you can see a near-direct comparison between the strengths and weaknesses of both players side-by-side.

As you can see, despite Vidal contributing more to the offensive phases of play for Barcelona, with a more advanced role in midfield, Pulgar is entirely more defensive-orientated. It is worth noting, however, that as Pulgar plays for a side that spend more time defending than Barcelona, this makes up for some of the differences in statistics.

Pulgar's high amount of defensive recoveries per game, as well as interceptions and percentage of defensive duels won per game, all of which are higher than Vidal's equivalent statistics, suggest that he is a mature defensive midfielder for his age and boasts similar strengths to his compatriot.

Not only this, but Pulgar also gives away less fouls on average per game, which is an often underlooked statistic. With this, Pulgar is giving away less careless possession per game than Vidal but perhaps also hints at a reluctance to get stuck in. However, you do not always want a defensive midfielder to go to the ground, especially if they are already winning a fair percentage of their defensive duels.

With all this considered, as well as the aforementioned release clause that Bologna are working hard to eliminate, Pulgar would be a great deal for the club who snap him up - and has a lot to offer for any of the top sides who are in pursuit of his signature.