What can Fulham expect from Fernando Amorebieta?

Athletic Bilbao

Fulham have agreed a deal for the 28-year-old defender that will see him arrive at Craven Cottage on a free this summer, and if he can overcome his disciplinary issues, Amorebieta could be an excellent signing.

Those who claim that attacking players like Lionel Messi get an easy ride in the Spanish first division have perhaps never seen Fernando Amorebieta play, with the Athletic Bilbao defender notorious for taking no prisoners on the pitch.

The Venezuelan centre back's disciplinary record has been the main blemish on his time at Bilbao, and the eleven red cards he has received whilst at the Basque club have been part of the reason why a big move has not materialised for Amorebieta, who has been linked with Arsenal and Liverpool in the past.

In the end Fulham are the club that have taken the risk of bringing Amorebieta to the Premier League, and if he can keep his rash side in check, there is no doubt that the Venezuelan is an accomplished centre back.

The 28 year old was a key part of the Athletic Bilbao side that reached the Spanish Cup and Europa League final under Marco Bielsa last season, particularly impressing in their fantastic win over Manchester United.

With Brede Hangeland recently agreeing a new two year deal, Fulham's back line is looking in fine fettle for next season, and Amorebieta brings an element of class on the ball to go alongside his sterner side.

Comfortable carrying the ball forward on playing long passes, and excellent in the air, Amorebieta has all the attributes required to be a real success for Martin Jol's side next season.

However the worry will always be that he will end up missing 5-10 games through suspension, especially as he looks to settle in a new division. Amorebieta is no doubt aware of his disciplinary record, and perhaps this move might spark a new, more restrained approach. If he does rein himself in, Amorebieta could well be a superb addition to Fulham's ranks.

image: © birasuegi

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