Mainz Welcomes the ‘Chilean Zlatan’

It’s hard to decide whether it’s a compliment to be labelled the ‘Chilean Zlatan’. If it’s because you share the incredibly talented footballing ability of Ibrahimović then it is, but if it’s down to an arrogant, non-conformist attitude like the Swede, then perhaps not so much.

Which ‘Zlatan’ 1. FSV Mainz 05 have signed in the form of Chilean striker Nicolás Castillo remains to be seen, but one thing is certain, the ‘Null-Fünfer’ need his goals after a relatively barren Hinrunde that saw them hit the back of the net just 19 times (albeit ten times more often than HSV!).

Mainz have taken the option to sign the 21-year-old striker on loan from Belgian side Club Bruges until the end of the season with an option to buy built into the deal. The South American attacker only arrived in Europe this time last year when the Belgian giants signed him from CD Universidad Catolica for three million euros. During his time with the ‘Blauw-Zwart’ he has scored 13 goals in 13 outings and was handed his full international debut in 2013 in a World Cup qualifier with Peru.

It was at the 2013 U-20 World Cup that Castillo started attracting attention with Manchester United reported at the time to be interested in his signature. The move to Old Trafford didn’t materialise, and Bruges snapped the Santiago-born striker up on a four-year deal for around three million euros. At the time both Fiorentina and Hannover were keen on signing him.

So what’s with the Zlatan comparison?

Castillo can be impulsive and opinionated which has landed him in trouble in the past and it is not rare to see him in a running verbal/ physical battle with opposing defenders, while referees aren’t immune from a tongue-lashing if free kicks don’t go his way.

That said, Mainz have signed an attacking talent, who along with Ángelo Henríquez is seen as one of Chile’s most promising strikers. Despite not being the biggest frontman azt 5’11”, he is good in the air, provides a physical presence and can play as the lone forward or with a partner bringing them into play with his sound technical ability.

Any arrogance he possesses is a sign of his own confidence in his abilities. If that self-confidence converts itself into performances on the pitch and if he can form a quick relationship with Shinji Okazaki, then Mainz will have pulled off quite an astute piece of transfer window business.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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