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Villarreal Q&A with Into the Calderon: Get to know Rafael Santos Borré

Villarreal USA enlisted the help of our friends at Into the Calderon to bring you a detailed rundown on our latest signing Rafael Santos Borré.

Melbourne Victory v Atletico de Madrid Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

For those who are unfamiliar with Villarreal’s new acquired signing, Colombian striker Rafael Santos Borré, we took some time to get a detailed rundown by the experts from SB Nation’s Colchoneros blog Into the Calderon.

Many thanks go out to Jeremy Beren who’s the co-editor at Into the Calderon, for taking some time to analyze and answer a few questions about Villarreal’s latest addition. Make sure to give them a follow on Twitter @IntotheCalderon and please visit their site for the greatest and most complete content on the Colchoneros.

Q: Could you give us a quick profile on Santos Borré, and highlight some of his attributes and weaknesses based off of his matches during preseason?.

A. Rafael Santos Borré is a very good forward prospect. What stands out most to me is his movement. He's definitely not a typical #9; he's not very big or powerful. But he's very clever and watching him when he played for Deportivo Cali in Colombia, he often found himself free in the box or worked himself into advantageous positions.

So, I'd say his movement and his fitness are his top qualities at this point, and he could stand to improve his aerial abilities and finishing (which was good in South America, so that should come with time).

Q. Borré’s loan to Villarreal means that this will be the first time he plays in a bigger league in Europe outside South America. What were the sensations surrounding Borré during preseason?. How did Borré coped with the transition during preseason under the training of Profe. Ortega?

2. A. Borré turned a lot of heads starting with the first couple days of training. He adjusted to El Profe's training regimen very quickly and AS reported earlier this month that Simeone was considering keeping him in the first team. He was impressive overall and it seems as if he made his loan move a very difficult decision for the club.

Q. Given that Marcelino’s Villarreal and Simeone’s Atleti play rather alike, with both managers having a pragmatic approach, even the 4-4-2 formation and the fact that both managers prefer playing with 2 strikers, how does Borré best fits in your side?

  • 3. A. For Atleti this preseason, Simeone tried a few different things but Borré operated in a deeper, second-striker type of role - which I'm guessing is the role he'll be asked to play mostly at El Madrigal.

Q. Borré certainly isn’t a bigger guy. It is rather obvious he won’t be operating as a target man for Villarreal despite being the replacement for Soldado. Where do you guys see him best fitting at Villarreal?. In a 4-4-2 system or a 4-2-3-1?

4. After Soldado's injury, a player like Borre is needed to pair with the bigger, more clinical finisher in Bakambu. Borre fits because he'll play deeper and in a perfect tactical world he would be offered a freer role. He won't be required to score a dozen league goals; just outthink his marker, move well and find an understanding with Bakambu. So that said, he fits best in a 4-4-2. We'll see if Escriba agrees.

Q. Given that Villarreal and Atleti had players switching clubs in the past like Forlán and Godín, it would be difficult for us to not ask you about Vietto. Why did Vietto had such a hard time to break into the starting XI since he was one of the signings Simeone requested and despite the fact that both of them worked together previously at Racing?.
5. A. Vietto's struggles remain difficult to explain away. He never grasped Simeone's system - which changed from their time at Racing. What brought him down was a combination of below-standard fitness levels - starting from the very first training to his bout with appendicitis and onwards - and a lack of confidence. Vietto averaged only 2.3 shots per 90 minutes last season; in 2014-15, he averaged nearly 4 four shots per 90. He looked lost after December. It was difficult to watch.

Hindsight is 20/20 but the move from Villarreal to Atleti probably came too soon. I believe Vietto could be quite good one day but after last season, I'm just not sure when. It was best for everyone involved when Sevilla pounced on him.

Q. For our last question, what are the expectations back at the Vicente Calderón for Borre?. How do you guys feel about his move to Villarreal?

6. A. I'm very excited about Borre going to you guys. He'll get Champions League experience right away and the move to a big club will show just how ready he is for the demands of La Liga. If he does well, then I would expect Atletico bring him back next summer. If he doesn't do as well as the Atleti hierarchy anticipates, he will spend another year away and probably at a smaller club. But Villarreal was an unexpected destination for the 20-year-old, I think he'll do well and you'll enjoy him.