Some notes on Armando Shashoua’s loan move to Spanish side Atlético Baleares:
On Sunday it was announced via Atlético Baleares’ official Twitter account that young Spurs midfielder Armando Shashoua had joined the Spanish club, on loan until the end of June. Shashoua follows in his older brother Samuels (Samuel is also on loan at Atlético from Tenerife) footsteps in joining the Balearic club on loan. As you will all know from reading my many match reports and player reviews, Armando is one of my favourite ever Spurs youth players. A very technical and highly skilful player who can operate either as a central midfielder or as a CAM (Armando has been playing much more as a CAM for Spurs’ development side this season). Shashoua has the ability to glide gracefully past much bigger opponents, owing to his great balance and dribbling ability. So far this season the attacking midfielder has been directly involved in eight goals for Spurs’ development side (five goals and three assists) from 14 appearances. The 19 year old who was our under 18’s captain last season, has adapted really well to life in under 23 football and he has put in some match winning performances from the number ten position. Single handedly winning our under 23’s games against the likes of Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Shashoua will have undoubtedly impressed clubs who had been monitoring him.
The Englishman who is also eligible to represent Spain, Venezuela, America and Egypt, is a very hot prospect at Spurs and his season so far has been one of great personal progress for the teenager from West London. Atlético Baleares ply their trade in the third tier of Spanish football (the Segunda Division B – Group 1) and Manix Mandiola’s side are currently situated in second place in the 20 team league, after coming so close last season to being promoted to the second tier. In terms of competition for the CM/CAM role, Armando will be competing with Scottish youngster Jordan Holsgrove (on loan from Reading) as well as Gorka Iturraspe, Marc Rovirola and Alberto Villapalos. I would imagine that Shashoua will play as an eight or more likely as a ten however, he has the on the ball strength and the tenacity to play as a four/holding midfielder in the men’s game. The Spanish third tier for those who aren’t aware isn’t exactly all Tiki-taka and smooth attacking play. It is in fact a very physical league and it can also be quite scrappy as I found out from last season, when I watched Samuel Shashoua and Anthony Georgiou in action on a regular basis. Armando will offer this talented and inform Atlético team a lot. As a midfield craftsman he will create numerous chances for the Atlético forwards (their top scorer this season is striker Toni Gabarré).
Shashoua is a forward passer who has a lovely weight of pass, and more importantly he knows when to make it. In addition, he is very adaptable to games and situations, and despite his small stature he imposes himself well on games and rarely gives away the ball. Constantly pressing the oppositions players, Armando is a real grafter who as well as being creative is very combative. Providing brains with brawn the highly intelligent footballer who was educated at Harrow School, often drops deep to link the play and keep the ball moving. Furthermore, the 19 year old has excellent off the ball movement and on the ball he will show off his lovely dribbling ability, which he can do at speed. Shashoua reminds me quite a bit of Brighton & Hove Albion first teamer and Colombia international Steven Alzate in his style of play. Both players have lovely balance, passing ability and both ooze class on the ball. Like Shashoua, Alzate has a real footballing brain and he is also versatile and adaptable. In addition both players do a very good job at linking the play. Another thing that Armando can offer this Atlético team is goals. As he has shown over the past two seasons is that he is a goal scorer. He is a poacher, and a number of his goals are tap ins owing to his fine positioning and movement in and around the danger zone.
I am delighted that Armando will get the opportunity to test himself against senior footballers on a regular basis, and I am sure that it will really aid his development in the game and make him a better player for when he returns to Spurs. The strides that Shashoua has made over the last year and a half have been remarkable and he certainly isn’t finished yet. This fantastic loan move will challenge him and also test him just like it did with Samuel last season I.E: adapting to a new culture. I have no doubts that Armando will make this loan move a success and force his way into this Atlético team. He should be extremely proud of himself for the way that he has played and developed over the past two and a half seasons. Watching him grow as a footballer has been wonderful and it will be just as great watching him take his first steps into the senior game. I would like to wish Armando all the very best of luck for this loan move and I look forward to following his games.