What Aberdeen are getting in marquee summer signing Christian Ramirez

Everything Aberdeen fans need to know about their new US international striker

Christian Ramirez in action for Los Angeles FC in 2018. Picture: Getty
Christian Ramirez in action for Los Angeles FC in 2018. Picture: Getty

Christian Ramirez is a mixed bag of a forward. There are a number of strengths which should have Aberdeen fans reverberating with excitement to see their new No.9 in action, but also a few obvious weaknesses which, if not managed properly by Stephen Glass, could see the US international become something of a dud and an embarrassing episode for the Pittodrie club who’ve already been burnt through their American connection with the signing and subsequent perma-absence of Ronald Hernandez.

At 6ft 2in, Ramirez fits the mould of a traditional target man. He’s got a broad frame that packs great strength. When he gets his back into opposing defenders there’s little they can do except retreat or foul. Getting around him isn’t really an option.

It is not a body which contains a tremendous amount of athleticism, however. He moves awkwardly and can appear cumbersome, possessing little pace or acceleration. Seeing balls launched over his head, or even at his head – for a guy his size, he isn’t great in the air either – is not going to suit his style. On the other hand, if he gets the ball into his feet then his supporting midfielders and fellow attackers should have a lot of success feeding off his distribution. Ramirez is a very strong passer for a striker. Not only in terms of efficiency (his 81 per cent success rate would have him in the top five for Scottish Premiership goal hangers last term, per Wyscout) but also creatively. He can thread through balls and switch play when the situation demands, while he always seems to pick the correct option.

And what he lacks in quickness of movement he makes up for in quickness of thought. He has impressive spatial awareness of both opponents and team-mates and will often attempt first-time balls to catch the defence cold. Then again, his touch can be erratic, which could be exposed by the frenzied nature of Scottish football.

He does work hard from the front and, again defying his lack of speed, manages to get around the final third. He won’t be a stationary target. He also has a knack of earning more fouls than those he concedes; always a handy skill for a target man to have.

As with any incoming striker, fans will want to know one thing: will he score goals? Again, there’s some concern, but the signs are largely positive. He hits the target with excellent technique and accuracy: over 52 per cent for his career and over 57 per cent in the 2019 MLS campaign, where he led the entire league in that category. It’s helped him hit the back of the net 100 times in 226 career games.

Unease comes from his deteriorating strike-rate. The majority of his goals came during his prolific days with Minnesota United, who played in the NASL for Ramirez’s first three seasons before gaining entry into the premier US soccer competition. He continued his red hot form in his first MLS campaign but has cooled off a little since then, netting a goal every three-and-a-half games since 2018. That may be enough for Dons supporters to be content if his all-round game adapts comfortably to his new environment.

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