In the first part of our FM scouting series, we looked at United’s new DP forward Hamdi Salihi. Now it’s time to turn our attention to central defender Emiliano Dudar…
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What jumps out immediately is Dudar’s marking ability and aerial power, the later of which, given his size, was to be expected. While he’s not the quickest, he’s not exactly slow either. Additionally, he’s strong, positionally aware, reads the game fairly well, and is a reliable tackler. All excellent boxes to tick on the center back “want list.”
Though he’s not the most gifted on the ball, he’s not horrible either but unfortunately also looks to be prone to the occasional lapse in concentration (Wait! United defender? Lapse in concentration? Sounds about right). Likewise, his stats suggest he might struggle against dribbling wizards or highly mobile and unpredictable attackers.
But how does he compare to our two incumbents?
First, Dudar vs. Jakovic…
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While Dudar shades things in the air, Jakovic is rated as far more accomplished with the ball at his feet, which shouldn’t be surprising given that this is one of Jakovic’s primary strengths as a player. So, while Jakovic gets the database’s nod as more well-rounded, Dudar probably has the slight edge as a pure defender.
What about McDonald?
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Here the distinctions are even smaller. McDonald is the more fleet of foot and the more versatile positionally, but Dudar has the edge in the air and on pure defensive skill. Nevertheless, the differences between them appears marginal, and both are roughly similar types of player.
I’d throw up a comparison to Ethan White as well, but given that his ratings in the game were based on an extremely limited data-set for his time as a pro, I don’t feel that they are either accurate or useful here.
So what’s the overall takeaway?
If you put your faith in the database, Dudar is probably the most accomplished pure defender in the United center back corps, and certainly the man you’d want to turn to if you’ll be facing a traditional target forward. He’ll likely also be a force on set pieces (in both directions, and I’d argue that his value on defensive set pieces will be the greater one). That said, the differences between him and the two incumbents is not so vast that he’d be automatically guaranteed a starting role, even if these were my three options in an FM game. Still, three roughly-equivalent options for two spots is a good choice to have to make, right?
Also, things get really interesting and offer an excellent counterpoint to my worries in the first post about tactical flexibility when you look at the options now available. Having added both a third good choice at center back and Russell’s ability to play both centrally and wide means that Benny’s sometime-flirtation with three at the back last year might become a more viable option when chasing a game or needing to pack the midfield.
While it’s comforting to have the database back up the FO’s faith in these players, the proof, of course, will be in their play. And, as anybody who’s watched any league for any amount of time will know, a period of adaptation is to be expected. That said, both of these guys would, on paper, make the Football Manager version of United a better squad. Take that for what it’s worth…
Though it does somewhat fly in the face of the assessment (by a scout? on the GoffBlog?) that Dudar could pick a pass and had good vision for a center back. ↩
That said, based on this evidence, I’d start Dudar and Jakovic as an iron fist + velvet glove pairing, with Dudar staying at home and fighting aerial battles while Jakovic is given license to carry the ball out from the back and serves more as cover defensively. ↩