For a millennial, Sergio Gomez is already making a name for himself. The 17-year-old swapped Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy in favour of a switch to Borussia Dortmund in January. Moving for just €3 million, the Bundesliga club have made a relatively risk-free signing in today’s market.
Born on the outskirts of the Spanish city, Gomez was first picked up by Espanyol before joining Barcelona at nine. Working his way through the youth ranks, Gomez played for Barcelona U19s before moving on to Barcelona B, where he played a handful of games.
Tipped to be a first team player in a couple of years, Gomez continued to impress which attracted the attention of Premier League clubs in summer 2017, according to Spanish expert David Cartlidge. But why did he choose Borussia Dortmund?
German clubs have a track record of giving youth players game time. Especially over the past decade. Their system values coaches and nurtures talent which is just one reason for their 2014 World Cup win. That had been in the making for some time.
This season alone, we’ve seen the likes of Reece Oxford and Jadon Sancho make the move to Borussia Mönchengladbach and Dortmund respectively while last season we saw Oliver Burke join RB Leipzig.
They were all given a chance to shine. And that’s one thing that Gomez will get. Turning 18 in September, the attacking-midfielder will be given every opportunity to succeed.
He’s already made his debut for Dortmund U19s, where he will spend the remaining of the season before training with the first team and even at a young age, he’s already shown what he has to offer his new employers.
Where does Sergio Gomez play?
Sergio Gomez originally started out as a forward, leading the line. But the skillset that the Spaniard possesses suits playing that little deeper. For the Spain U17s, we’ve seen Gomez play on both the left and right side of attack, as well as playing as the No 10.
For someone such a young age, Gomez possesses a rather high dribble success rate (73.9%) in comparison to Marco Reus (54.5%), who has obviously played considerably more games. The return of the German has seen Peter Stoger opt to play Reus close to Michy Batshuayi rather than out wide, as we’ve seen previously.
If Stoger 1) remains at the club next season & 2) opts to play Reus and Gomez, then we may see the latter occupy the left-flank, which is where we’ve seen some of his best football.
Against Turkey, we see that you can’t allow Gomez space on the ball. He’s able to play the ball into space, over Abel Ruiz’ marker and into the path of his teammate. Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to a goal but at just 17, Gomez has shown he possesses the vision and has the understanding of teammates on the pitch.
Again, Gomez has shown the understanding he has with Ruiz. Playing on the left side of a front three, the Spaniard dropped a little deeper into space which resulted in England right back Joel Latibeaudiere being out of position. Gomez received the ball from midfield and was able to play it through to Ruiz first time. At 17, there’s not many players that can do that to a high degree of accuracy.
Not only can he play on the left, Gomez is equally as effective on the right side, as shown below.
Realistically, Gomez had just one option to pass to here. Adaptive with both feet, he can either dribble to the by-line, which many right-footed players would do, or cut inside onto his left with little supportive options available.
With three opposing defenders surrounding him, Gomez used skill to attack the space and then cut inside between two markers onto his left foot, playing the ball to his advancing midfielder.
Already thinking of the next phase of play, he was already on the move to attack the space in behind the Turkey defence and although he didn’t receive the ball back, Gomez has shown understanding of where the space is. A key asset to have when playing in any of the three positions behind a No. 9.
With eight goals for Spain U17s, Gomez has shown that’s he’s equally good at scoring them as he is creating chances. A forward run by right-back Mateu Morey combined with the physicality of Ruiz gave Gomez space on the left-side.
Many in this position would perhaps run in behind, breaking the offside trap but instead, Gomez decided to buy his time.
Morey’s lung-bursting run into the penalty area brought the four Italy defenders with him, allowing Gomez time and space at the far post. If he had chosen to run in behind, the likelihood of him receiving the ball would’ve been slim. Instead, Morey was able to pick Gomez out who took a first touch with his left foot before cutting onto his right and bending one into the opposition goal.
In such a youthful career, Gomez has already shown Borussia Dortmund just what they can expect of him. The versatility to play anywhere behind a striker doesn’t come too often at a young age and it’s something he’s certainly worked on at La Masia.
At 17, Gomez is composed on the ball while he’s shown the understanding when to stay back and when to attack the space. Having already played for Borussia Dortmund U19s, Gomez will now have a better understanding of Dortmund’s playing style which will only help when he makes the step up in the summer.
It’s clear to see just why Premier League clubs had shown an interest in Gomez but he’s certainly made the correct choice in joining Borussia Dortmund, who strive on youth, possessing some of Europe’s best training technology.
The future certainly looks good for Gomez.