Nicolás Miremont –
On December 17, Eintracht Frankfurt confirmed the signing of Ecuadorian centre-back Andersson Ordóñez from Barcelona de Guayaquil, who were crowned champions of Ecuador this month. The young defender, who is only 22 years, will join the the Eagles on a four year deal (2016-2020) after four great seasons in the Ecuadorian Serie A.
Transfermarkt.de had reported on the transfer rumour during the previous week and, at the time gave the move a 78% chance of happening. The deal was closed this week and the player joined one of the most interesting sides competing in the Bundesliga this season.
Andersson Ordóñez and his time in Ecuador
Ordóñez joined Barcelona’s academy in 2009 and, after a good debut season at Barcelona’s second division squad in 2011, he got his well deserved promotion to the top tier. His first experience at the highest football level in 2012 rewarded him and his club with the Ecuadorian Serie A title. Barcelona finished first in both halves of the season despite having to switch managers in the middle of the competition, the club and our featured defender lifted Barcelona’s 14th title.
This, however, is mere statistics, for Andersson only featured in the squad twice wearing the #53 in his jersey. The young defender played two consecutive matches against El Nacional and Liga de Quito, where he did quite well and was praised as one of the best in his team. After that, it looked like his manager, Gustavo Costas, would pick him to be Barcelona’s starting youngster that year—his spot, however, was taken by one of his team mates and Andersson started a process of familiarisation with the bench.
— HinchaAmarillo.com (@Hincha_Amarillo) September 23, 2016
The 2013 season was not yet Ordóñez’ time to shine, as he was still considered a substitute by the manager. The Ecuadorian was not included in that year’s Copa Libertadores roster, in which Barcelona had a dreadful performance.
The international stage, however, decided to give Andersson a chance. The centre-back was included in Ecuador’s list prior to facing the 2013 U-20 South American tournament in Argentina. After qualifying for the second round, finishing third out of five teams in Group B, Ecuador finished last in the final hexagon with no points and conceding 11 goals in the process. Certainly, this was not the best performance of the under-20 Ecuadorian defence, particularly for Ordóñez’, who played 9 matches in this tournament.
The following year saw Ordóñez wearing #3 on his jersey and being featured in the squad a lot more regularly despite the fact that he was only 20 years old. His side had a regular season, where they finished second in the Serie A and subsequently, could not go past the second stage of the Copa Sudamericana.
Unfortunately, a series of injuries that season kept him off the pitch for quite some time. Because of this, the player chose to leave the club on loan to El Nacional, where he played during the 2015 season. Andersson was featured in the starting eleven a lot more often during this period, although his team only finished sixth out of 12 teams that season.
This year was different for Ordóñez. Recognition as a promising football player influenced his return to Barcelona. Throughout the season he went from substitute to the starting centre-backs that won the competition, finishing first in both halves and only conceding 35 goals in 44 matches.
Ordóñez will join more Latin players at Frankfurt
Having a solid defence is certainly vital for a manager whose preferred formation is the 3-5-2. The centre-backs must cover the full-backs’ rear side as they move higher up the touchline.
Andersson’s signing came as no surprise as Frankfurt had already demonstrated interest in the player. In Germany, Ordóñez will join several other Spanish-speaking players such as David Abraham, Jesús Vallejo, Omar Mascarell and Marco Fabián. Together, they will try to stop the likes of Bayern München, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and many other threats to their excellent campaign.
— Eintracht Frankfurt (@Eintracht) December 16, 2016
The Ecuadorian’s release clause was triggered by a €1 million offer from Frankfurt. This sum led to complaints from Barcelona fans regarding the small amount of money that the Europeans had to pay for their jewel, which is a product of the Barcelona academy.
How will Ordóñez fit in Kovac’s game plan?
There is a great deal that an Ecuadorian centre-back can offer in the Bundesliga.
Firstly, there is his physical presence. His 186 cm will add to Frankfurt’s strength. This is crucial when it comes to rejecting throws and crosses which will mostly be directed toward the likes of Robert Lewandowski (1,84 m), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (1,87 m) and Stefan Kießling (1,91m).
In addition, his strength and rather quick reaction time will bring peace to a line of defence which is quite good, although there is room for some improvement, given that they have conceded 12 goals in 15 matches, a situation which has already lead to bitter draws or even losses against weaker opposition.
Last, but not least, is the language factor. Frankfurt’s solid back-line is often formed by two Spanish-speaking players: David Abraham (Argentina) and Jesús Vallejo (Spain). Being Ecuadorian will definitely help Andersson understand what is going on next to him with as little effort as that which might be made by a hypothetical all-German defence, for instance. Should Ordóñez win Kovac’s trust over the course of the winter, he would mean a big plus in terms of communication and quality for the red side.
Ordóñez follows Frankfurt’s transfer policy
Ordóñez has now entered the list of affordable signings Frankfurt has made over the course of the last two seasons. This strategy seems to be paying off, as the immediate quality of the players is not what concerns Niko Kovac the most. Instead, the Croatian has identified his Latin American players’ abilities with amazing precision. This has allowed him to build a solid base which has largely been the generator of die Adler’s success this first half of the season.
Frankfurt is starting to tweak their transfer policy. The trend this season seems to be aimed towards turning the club into a popular destination for loaned players and young talents in the making, something our German expert, Manuel Veth, has already explained here. Ordóñez is one of the most promising defenders in Ecuador, whose capacity to adapt has served as a proof of his maturity.
This season could be crucial for Andersson. With the winter break getting closer, he will look to demonstrate his aptitudes to Kovac with the objective of being taken into account for the second half of the season, where Frankfurt could clinch a European Competition spot.
As the Bundesliga gets even more interesting with the likes of RB Leipzig, 1. FC Köln and Hertha Berlin, the red eagles will be setting high standards for themselves regarding this season’s objectives. Ordóñez should be a fine addition to the squad where Latin American talent has already performed very well this year. Let’s hope Andersson can adapt and successfully defend Eintracht Frankfurt’s excellent project.
Nicolás Miremont is a born and raised Boca Juniors fan, but his heart has a special place for Manchester United, Zenit Saint Petersburg and Dynamo Kiev. Miremont loves to support the underdogs. Miremont enjoys watching smaller competitions especially those from Eastern Europe, but also his native Argentina. Follow him on Twitter @Miremont_Nico