Bastian Yanez is a young Chilean winger, born in 2001. This season is his first proper senior season getting big minutes, and he has been impressive. How impressive? Well as I’m typing this, he is giving an interview to TNT Chile telling how happy he and his father are that he already got a call up to the Chilean National Team. Both he and his father cried when they got the news. This what I really like about Yanez he cares, he fucking cares about every single ball and possession. When the team scores, he is the happiest person on the field. When they go a goal down it hurts him physically.
Yanez is a traditional, classical left winger. Athletic, fast dribbler with a great cross, running to turn defense to offense with direct running along the touch line or running behind the defense to cross or shot. Let’s take a deeper look as to what makes him such a talented prospect.
Runs with and without the ball
Yanez has a very interesting combination of straight-line explosiveness, strength and ability that makes him deadly on the counter or any time there is space available on the wing. And here we see a typical example. Once the ball is at his feet, he is off, aggressively passing one opponent after the other, trying to transition quickly to the opposition third. He is very strong and thick for his age; this makes him difficult to shake or dispossess when he has the ball. So far this season he averages 5 attempted dribbles per 90, with a success rate of 60%, and almost 2 progressive runs and 2 suffered fouls per 90 minutes.
Here we see a typical possession when Union is attacking and have possession deep into their opposition’s half. The full back will drop wide, their playmaker Mendez will move around and create numerical advantages which leaves space for a pacey player like Yanez to run into. Even when running at his most explosive he is able to deliver a perfect cross, which luckily for Union is turned into a pretty combination goal.
Potential for Positional Fluidity
Because few teams in the top European leagues play with a traditional winger and opt to have their width be a product of their full backs coming forward, it is unlikely that Yanez, when he moves to Europe, will play a similar role. But luckily for him he has qualities that make him a candidate for other roles. He is a great one and one defender and presser of the ball. His defensive duels on the ground are close to 60% on a good volume per 90. And grit is in his nature. This makes me think that he could very well be turned into a very aggressive left back, something similar to what Gosens does with Atalanta or what Spinazzolla did with the Italian national team during the last Euros.
There is also the option of turning him into an Inside Forward. While he doesn’t really get many shooting opportunities for Union and they exclusively play him as a left winger, he has a very precise shot, with over 50% on target ratio. And as we can see on the highlight above, he seems like he knows how to get by guys and create a shooting opportunity for himself. Hopefully he gets used this way more often, and we see more goals like this.
With all his potential, crossing is still his biggest weapon and best ability to create for others. And as we see above, he is ready and able to create clear cut chances for his teammates as soon as you leave him a bit of space on the flank. So far this season he has a high volume of crosses, close to 6, but still manages a very high completion percentage of 36%.
The quality of his crossing also translates to set piece situations, even if he takes more corners than free kicks. The ball has the characteric combination of speed, dip and curve that all great set piece takes have.
In terms of his potential and how good he could become I have settled with two players. One of the case he turns into an Inside Forward later, and one if he goes the Attacking Wing Back route.
Yanez could be a better, more complete Jean Meneses, if he goes the Inside Forward route. Meneses is also Chilean, and plays for Leon in Mexico.
For the case that teams turn him into an attacking Wing Back, I think he could end up being a player similar to Spinazolla, the Roma and Italy Wing Back, one of the stars of the last Euro’s and one of the most entertaining wing back in world football at the moment.