Holan rebuilds UC

A new stage begins at Universidad Católica. The crusaders let seven members of the squad leave and another four are waiting to say goodbye, since they are not part of the plans of DT Ariel Holan. A profound change, after the disappointment in the 2022 season, and in San Carlos de Apoquindo hope is placed on the five signings announced so far: Alexander Aravena, Franco di Santo, Guillermo Burdisso, Byron Nieto and Eugenio Mena.

Hello, it has been clear. “We make an in-depth evaluation of the team that we want to build, it is not filling in boxes with roles and functions, but rather trying to search for many of the team’s references in this term of the cycle, such as Luciano (Aued), Germán (Lanaro) and the ‘Chapa’ (José Pedro Fuenzalida), who have been protagonists in the club’s history in the last five years. Going back to rebuild a team with that temperament and personality is a very important challenge.”said the DT.

Clean slate

Apart from those mentioned at the time by Holan, they are no longer in San Carlos de Apoquindo Sebastián Pérez, Yamil Asad, Juan Leiva and Fabián Orellana. They would be added in the coming days Felipe Gutiérrez, Raimundo Rebolledo, Tomás Asta-Buruaga and Nehuén Paz. In total, the number of starts will reach 11 players, a total reformulation in search of improving the level of play and directly contesting the title again.

Gutiérrez never had a football fiat with Holan and his situation is understood. After the coach’s arrival in 2022, the left-hander left for the Colorado Rapids of the United States MLS and is now back with the squad, but will go on loan. Rebolledo, for his part, is the third right-back behind Mauricio Isla and Nieto, so he is looking to leave. Finally, Asta-Buruaga and Paz have no place in the squad, due to the presence of Branco Ampuero, Gary Kagelmacher and the newcomer Burdisso, the defenders who will dispute the position in the duo of the center of the defense.

Two or three defenders

Holan, in 2023, aspires to the formation of a team that operates under the game principles that constitute the essence of its football proposal (width, penetration, associated play and high pressure block). He intervened deeply in the squad and, pending one or two new reinforcements, the outlook is more or less clear regarding the eleven that the Argentine coach is looking for.

In the goal, the presence of Matías Dituro does not admit any discussion for the coach. So much so that he immediately opted for the substitution of sebastian perez once the former Celta de Vigo returned to UC. Apparently, the great performances of the starting goalkeeper until then did not have much weight in Holan’s decision. He was one of the good figures of the Crusaders, but today he is starting a new stage in Unión Española after leaving San Carlos de Apoquindo.

For sure, the starting full-backs will be Isla and Mena. The doubt arises in the axis of the last line. Ampuero and Kagelmacher closed the year as the pair of defenders, but now Burdisso has joined. In any case, the presence of three central defenders with a title label generates the expectation that for a moment the DT will choose to act with a trio of defenders. Isla and Mena would assume the role of wingers or full-backs.

the missing man

In the midfield, the panorama is not yet defined. At first glance, Ignacio Saavedra and César Pinares appear fixed in the trio of flyers that Holan uses. Perhaps, the third quota initially has been defined by DT for Bryan González, a youth who would also meet the requirements of the Under 21 players, although during practices he has used Nieto as a mixed midfielder.

However, one of the last signings will be precisely a central or mixed midfielder, or a man who also fulfills both roles. The obstacle, yes, is found in the five quotas for foreigners. Pending the nationalization of Dituro, today they are complete (the goalkeeper, Kagelmacher, Di Santo, Zampedri and Burdisso), but at UC they trust in the release of a place for the incorporation of a foreign midfielder.

In the offensive sector, the matter is already resolved. Aravena and Di Santo arrived, joining Gonzalo Tapia, Clemente Montes and Zampedri. An attacking trio made up of the two new signings and the scorer of the 2022 National Championship does not seem unreasonable. The chance also arises that for a moment Holan defines acting with two center forwards and, in this scenario, clearly Di Santo and Zampedri emerge as starters.