It is no secret that Kaizer Chiefs have had and maintain serious interest in signing Junior Mendieta, the Argentinian attacking midfielder who currently plays for Stellenbosch FC. The Argentine has certainly flirted with the idea of moving to a giant club like AmaKhosi where he feels he can help Chiefs challenge for silverware once again.
“Rumours are always good because it means one is doing things well. But I am always focused on what I am doing now and defend the shirt I am wearing,” Mendieta told Sowetan.
“I would like to play in a big team and fight for important things. It would be nice to play in Europe too; time will tell. In the meantime, I will continue to work hard, always giving my best where I have to.
“It’s obvious that one always wants to grow and progress, and if it [the opportunity to move to a bigger club] arrives, it is welcomed. But it also has to be a good fit for my family. I think that’s the most important thing for me.”
Mendieta, you could say, is a typical Argentinian player who has adapted well to the demands of South African football. The playmaker is definitely not a luxury player who becomes a liability to the team. Mendieta is aggressive not only on offensive actions but defensive too; he tracks back fantastically well and always contributes to the team.
Where the Khosi nation can get excited is that his technical ability has to be one of the best in the league. His reception of the ball in small areas makes him almost impossible to get close to for defenders. He has terrific pace and a burst of acceleration that can take him past players with ease.
The only question mark is that he is turning 30 in June, and we have recently praised the fact that Chiefs are promoting more young players and trying to work on a new model. Although Mendieta is a top player who would improve Chiefs, as he can operate as a #10 but also as a wide left player, this may stunt the development of someone like Mduduzi Shabalala, which would be a shame.
Overall, it would be a nice problem for Arthur Zwane to have, as Mendieta offers him great tactical flexibility in possession and would give Zwane a tenacity that neither Du Preez nor Dolly seem to bring to the side anymore. It is possible that a youngster like Shabalala can learn off someone like Mendieta and actually complement each other. Time will tell if Chiefs get their man and if Mendieta will get his dream move.
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