The Sardinian club of Cagliari look to have unearthed a real gem in Victor Ibarbo.
From the current crop of Colombians with blistering pace, power and precociousness the 22 year old was snapped up by Cagliari in 2011. The youngster had made over a hundred appearances with Colombian club Atlético Nacional after a €4 million preliminary deal with Udinese fell through.
Regarded in his homeland as one with serious potential, we are only now seeing it come to fruition albeit at 22 years of age. It is claimed he can run a hundred metres in 10 seconds, a time which puts him in the sprinter category, and while the speed alone was probably enough to leave Colombian defenders in his wake, the more demanding technical rigours of Serie A saw his astonishing development stall somewhat.
Ibarbo 's impressive stamina and speed while performing for Nacional saw comparisons with compatriot Pablo Armero. His first appearances for Cagiari have been mostly off the bench and as an attacking midfielder, where he failed to make the same impression. However manager Davide Ballardini pushing him forward into a striking role seems to suit him far better. For all his pace his reading of the game and off the ball movement seem to be deficiencies that a more instinctual striker's position can offset.
Having showed so much early potential the Colombian has attracted attention from Manchester United, Arsenal and Real Madrid, where you would believe that were he surrounded by superior quality he would thrive. However for a footballer whose game is based on pure pace, it is important that he add other facets to his game if he is to live at the highest level for a significant amount of time.
Ibarbo looks made for the English game and you could easily see him plying his trade in any number of Premiership clubs. His application and professionalism are reportedly beyond reproach, so you'd have to believe that along with his natural ability he is destined for great things.
Recent transfer rumours have also linked the player with Napoli where he looks well suited to their counter-attacking style. But as the Partenopei are already full with this type of player Hamsik, Pandev, Illustrious, Vargas, El Kaddouri, a move to the English league would offer more opportunities for the Colombian to prove himself.
By Hugo Mc Cafferty