The Spaniard can operate on the flanks as well as a No. 10.
FC Goa’s foreign contingent has seen a massive overhaul ahead of the upcoming Indian Super League 2022/23 season. Apart from Edu Bedia, most of their overseas players were not retained or joined other clubs. Last season, one of the instrumental figures in FC Goa’s midfield was Alberto Noguera. With Noguera not continuing at the club, FC Goa needed a like for like replacement. That came with the signing of Iker Guarrotxena.
However, signing Guarrotxena wasn’t an easy task. A few European clubs along with an ISL club were after his signature. But ultimately, it was Carlos Pena’s side who signed the player.
Notably, both Ravi Puskur (Director of Football) and head coach Carlos Pena played a decisive role in convincing him. The 29-year-old has signed a multi-year deal.
Iker Guarrotxena hails from Athletic Bilbao’s youth academy. Like most other Spaniards in India, he too, has played for clubs like CD Tenerife, CyD Leonessa and CD Mirandes back in Spain.
The winger-cum-attacking midfielder has plied his trade in Greece, Poland and Australia as well. In 2018, he moved from Cyd Leonessa to Polish outfit Pogon Szczecin, for a hefty transfer fee.
After one year and five months in Poland, Guarrotxena shifted to the Greek side Volos NPS. A year later, the midfielder signed for Australian club Western United for a short period before returning to Spain at UD Logrones.
Type of player
Iker Guarrotxena might play an integral role in the team. He has played a total of 309 matches in his career, of which 127 came in La Liga 2. Although he is not a centre-forward, he has scored 60 goals.
In fact, last season, during his stay at UD Logrones, the 29-year-old played an instrumental role for the team. In 39 matches, he scored 14 goals and assisted thrice.
The 29-year-old is a versatile player. Although he plays mainly as a winger, the previous two seasons saw him operate mostly as a centre-forward, a second striker, and an attacking midfielder.
It seems Iker Guarrotxena will not be used on the flanks. The reason is Noah Sadaoui’s addition and the search for Alexander Romario Jesuraj’s replacement. Although, during an emergency on the wings, his services will be essential.
What does he bring to the team?
FC Goa have completed the signing of all their foreigners. Their playing positions suggest that Carlos Pena will not use Iker Guarrotxena as a regular starter.
But yes, the Spaniard has the ability to score goals. He will play a key role when Vazquez is out of form or is absent. Also, since he is a replacement of Alberto Noguera — and is accustomed to a second striker and attacking midfield role — Guarrotxena may get a place in the starting line-up in more of a creative role than a poaching one.
A question mark will be there on who will do the creative part if Vazquez and Sadaoui are playing upfront. FC Goa have always used a double pivot and hopefully, Carlos Pena won’t change it unless he shifts to a 4-3-3 formation.
In that case, it will be Brandon Fernandes and Edu Bedia creating play and Glan Martins playing as an enforcer. Otherwise in a 4-2-3-1, the playmaking duties will be upon Guarrotxena.