This one is a bit of a left field choice, I admit, but I thought it was time to go off the beaten track a little bit. Pedro Obiang is a Spaniard of Equatorial Guinean descent. He was born in Madrid, and spent his youth playing for several regional clubs in the capital before joining Atletico’s academy in 2007. He was only there for a year, and when he was sixteen, the youngest age at which a player can be transferred internationally, he moved to Italy, joining Genoan side Sampdoria.
The twenty year old midfielder has largely enjoyed his time in Italy, and has asserted himself as a first team regular over the last couple of seasons. He played for the youth and B teams prior to that, whilst also joining up with the senior squad for preseason. However, he has made more than sixty league appearances for the first team now, and helped the club return to Serie A at the first time of asking last season, with victory in the playoffs. He scored his first and so far only goal of his career this January, as Sampdoria thrashed Pescara 6-0. He also laid on two goals for teammates in this match.
Likened to Yaya Toure, under-21 international Obiang has been linked with a move away from Sampdoria this summer, with several Premier League clubs on his trail. Manchester City head that queue, according to reports, but Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea are also very keen on the youngster. The player himself has stated a desire to return to Spain to play for Real Madrid. However, Samp have not resigned themselves to losing their prize asset. He is on a long term contract, which does not expire until 2016, and talks are ongoing between the club and the player’s agent, Jose Miguel Gonzalez, over a new deal.
If the player does move this summer, then Manchester City could well be seen as having an advantage over their rivals. And that advantage is Roberto Mancini. The City boss played for Sampdoria for a decade and a half, and therefore will have a good relationship with the club, something which could see him seal a deal.
Obiang is primarily a defensive midfielder, a position he has really made his own since breaking into the team, hence the comparisons with Toure. However, like the Ivory Coast international, while his main function is to break up opposition attacks, he can also get forward and support his teammates in attack. If he can start adding goals to his game, then he is going to be a very good prospect indeed. No matter how happy he says he is in Italy, I cannot see him still being there when the 2013-14 season gets underway. On the International front, Obiang is capped for Spain a handful of times at youth levels.