Scouting Report: Can Espanyol's Jhon Cordoba Be the Colombian Didier Drogba?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentFebruary 7, 2014

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 18:  Jhon Cordoba (L) of RCD Espanyol Jonny Castro of RC Celta de Vigo during the La Liga match between RCD Espanyol and RC Celta de Vigo at Cornella-El Prat Stadium on January 18, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Here is a scouting report on Espanyol loanee Jhon Cordoba, a 20-year-old Colombian youth international centre-forward, who has characteristics alike to Didier Drogba.

"We are trying to reach an agreement [with Queretaro; holds Cordoba's playing rights] for Cordoba to stay on," Espanyol sporting director Oscar Perarnau said, per Tom Conn at Inside Spanish Football. "He's become an explosive player for us."

Raw Talent

Perarnau is right when he says Cordoba is "explosive" because it should be the first word that comes to mind when you watch him zip past opposing players.

Cordoba is a unique prospect because he is a 6'2" and 187-pound centre-forward who can outmuscle and outpace the large majority of La Liga defenders. 

Valencia's Ricardo Costa could not stop Cordoba creating something out of nothing with a deep run. 

Source: LigaBBVA.com

Same case against Real Madrid when he burst down the right flank, cut in, accelerated past Luka Modric, pushed Angel di Maria out the way, evaded Pepe's tackle and got off a shot. 

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Source: LigaBBVA.com

Cordoba's linkup play is satisfactory and while he has yet to register a La Liga assist, he did lob a consummate through ball to Sergio Garcia, so there is potential there. 

Source: LigaBBVA.com

Speaking of potential, Cordoba has shown snippets of being a goalscorer. 

After running on to Garcia's backheel, Cordoba's quick-feet took Valencia centre-back Jeremy Mathieu out of the play.

It gave Cordoba the space he needed to hit a rocket-like shot past Diego Alves. 

Source: LigaBBVA.com

Yet, goals like that have been rare for Cordoba as his primary obstacle to greatness is an inability to consistently convert goal-scoring chances.

He fails to score 84.6 percent of the time he takes a shot, per Squawka, thus why he has only scored two goals from 13 league games. 

During the 1-0 Copa del Rey defeat to Real, he found himself right in front of goal against Iker Casillas.

Cordoba could have placed his shot to Casillas's right or left, but chose to hit it centrally and squandered another opportunity to score. 

Source: LigaBBVA.com

This is why Cordoba did not become a household name after the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup when he only scored twice: A deflected goal against Australia and a penalty against El Salvador. 

Mind you, FIFA's technical study group still recognised Cordoba along with teammate Juan Quintero as Colombia's two key players in the technical report, per FIFA.com

Cordoba showed glimpses of world-class promise for Colombia at the U-20 World Cup and it has been the same for Espanyol this season: Exciting, but lacks productivity. 

Source: FIFA.com

Drogba Comparisons

Cordoba has an aerial presence averaging 3.1 headers per game, is a physically imposing figure and is a raw prospect, which defined Drogba early on in his career. 

"At 23, he [Drogba] was still almost a substitute of a substitute with Le Mans in France's second division," per Simon Kuper's book Soccer Men

If Cordoba can fulfill his world-class upside, he will be even better than Drogba. 

@allanjianga

+allanjiang

Statistics via WhoScoredFFT Stats ZoneSquawka and Transfermarkt.

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