Pervis Estupinan is a player that could become a target for big clubs soon. Currently at Osasuna in La Liga, the left-back has been loaned out by Watford. Strangely, this isn’t the first time the Hornets have sent him out on a temporary deal. This is his fifth loan deal and this is perhaps, his best one so far.
He had joined Watford from Ecuadorian club LDU Quito in the summer of 2016. He’s not made a single first-team appearance for them since, having spent five seasons on loan in Spain. The first two loan stints came at Granada. The one in the 2017-18 campaign came at Almeria and the next one came at Mallorca.
He’s been a regular at each of the clubs- like he has been for Los Rojillos this season. In the current campaign, he has made 29 appearances in all competitions. In La Liga, he’s played all but one game. He boasts of a tally of one goal and five assists in all competitions, becoming their regular left-back.
Delving further into his performances will show how good he has been. In absolute terms, he has certainly been good for a left-back. He has an XA per 90 minutes of 0.09, with his XG + XA per 90 minutes metric of 0.13 as well. That is certainly good for a left-back.
Over time, he has become a complete full-back. Unlike the modern-day players in his position, his defensive abilities go hand in hand with his attacking intent. He has tackled 72 percent of dribblers– clear proof of how he isn’t the one to go past easily.
As per Soccerment, Estupinan is adept at winning the ball back in the defensive third too. He’s made as many as 8.16 recoveries per 90 minutes and that is almost double the average for a full-back in the game today.
The metric above is a clear indication of how he is a well-balanced full-back. He constantly runs up and down the pitch, covering a lot of ground on the left side of the pitch. And a Wyscout heatmap shows how he’s heavily involved in both halves of the pitch as well.
Osasuna playing regularly in a 4-4-2 system would ideally hand Estupinan some defensive support from usual left-winger Ruben Garcia, but he’s contributed to eight goals so far. He does help out defensively and can often drop deep, but Estupinan’s defensive output in individual terms is very good indeed.
In fact, he’s been one of the club’s best players in a defensive sense and in an attacking sense too. As compared to other Osasuna players, Estupinan is on another planet and hardly anyone comes close to him. It is also crucial to bear in mind that the Ecuadorian is the second-best recovery-maker in the side, only behind Sergio Herrera.
It is very rare in the game today to have a left-back as the best defensive performance. The game is heading towards a stage where full-backs are intensive attacking wing-backs and enjoy the support of a defensive midfielder sitting in the centre-back areas. But Estupinan presents an unlikely case of not relying on a midfielder dropping in to help him. Osasuna playing in a 4-4-2 more often is perhaps complementary to that.
But it isn’t just attacking wise that Estupinan thrives. He is adept going forward- as mentioned above and he’s also one of the best-attacking contributors at the club.
Estupinan is towards the far right, thriving on his dribbling ability from the left side of the pitch. He isn’t bad in terms of creation and does second-best in that regard behind his left-side partner Ruben Garcia.
It is a collection of these abilities that make Estupinan stand out in the current team. These numbers weren’t as lofty in the previous stints and even though he hasn’t been a winger in the past, he still conjures up very impressive attacking stats for a full-back.
And talking of where he stands in the European circuit, he’s not doing badly in that regard either. Being a complete full-back certainly puts him high up in his age group of Under-23s full-backs in the top five European leagues.
While Alphonso Davies and Youcef Atal are prolific creators who perform defensive actions in brilliant fashion too, Aaron Wan-Bissaka thrives on tackling and recoveries on the ball. Real Madrid loanee Achraf Hakimi has been used in advanced positions by Lucien Favre to maximise his attacking inputs.
As for Estupinan, he’s a bit on the defensive side- slanting towards Wan-Bissaka. But his attacking input is close to Milan’s Theo Hernandez, who was the Rossoneri’s highest goalscorer at one point. Even Trent Alexander-Arnold is only just pipping Estupinan in a creative sense as it doesn’t involve crossing.
But the best thing about it is that Estupinan has done so well in the graph despite not playing for a traditional big club. Atal doesn’t either, but the youngster has been linked with multiple big clubs like Barcelona and Tottenham. There is a chance he ends up there soon.
There is every possibility that Estupinan does even better if he plays in a team that is better than Osasuna. He’ll get more of the ball and will have the openness to use it better. Despite having so less of it playing for a lesser Spanish team, he’s done well in the attacking regard. And it will only go up.
As for Watford, they’ve uncovered another talent from South America. Richarlison was one and they sold him to Everton. In Estupinan, they have a player who’s played away from the club so many times. A season in the Premier League will only help him.