Exclusive: Insight into Angelo Henriquez and why he shouldn’t join Dinamo Zagreb

Exclusive: Insight into Angelo Henriquez and why he shouldn’t join Dinamo Zagreb

Angelo Henriquez has enjoyed a very impressive loan spell this season at Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb and his goalscoring form has got lots of Manchester United fans talking about him.

Dinamo have an option to sign Henriquez at the end of his loan and it begs the question, is there any chance the Chilean striker will come back to United?

We’ve had a chat with Croatia based journalist Alexandar Holiga to get some insight into his future and we find out why Henriquez should think twice about moving to Zagreb at the end of this season.

Hello Alex. Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi, my name is Aleksandar Holiga. I’m an independent football writer based in Zagreb, Croatia. Currently I’m a columnist for the Jutarnji list daily newspaper in Croatia as well as Bleacher Report, while I also contribute to other media mainly in the UK like FourFourTwo, the Guardian and When Saturday Comes.

What do you think of Angelo from what you have seen of him so far? How has he done?

He’s a very promising young striker who should have a place in a much stronger team than Dinamo, and I believe he will. He has had immediate impact there, scoring goals and generally performing well. He’s a constant danger for opposing defences and immensely better than Dinamo’s other centre-forward, Duje Cop. I’d even say his the best Dinamo player at the moment.

“I’d even say Henriquez is the best Dinamo player at the moment.”

What are his strengths according to you? Does he help the team create when he isn’t scoring?

He possesses an extraordinary spatial intelligence and is very rational with his attacking play. He doesn’t need or seek much of the ball and doesn’t hang on the offside line all the time. Instead he drops back and knows how to ‘hide’ himself before making a quick run forward when he sees an opening in the opposing defence. He’s a bird of prey that can be lethal in front of the goal, but is also aware of his team mates’ movements so he can contribute with assists as well.

On the other hand, his defensive play still leaves something to be desired and he would need to improve on that before being completely ready for top level football, although I think he could even now be a decent option for Manchester United.

If you could compare him to a modern day footballer, who would it be? Who does he share most attributes with according to you?

I’d say Chicharito, maybe. He can be as good or better than the Mexican was in his prime.

Has he settled in well at Dinamo?

It seems he has. I don’t think he has had any real problems settling in. In Dinamo, he has a fellow Chilean, Junior Fernandes, and probably everyone in the squad speaks some English, so there shouldn’t have been any problems with that. His performances suggest he hasn’t needed much time to adapt.

He has scored 14 goals so far this season. Do the fans like him?

That should have been the easiest question to answer, but actually it’s the hardest one. I’m sure Dinamo fans can see his value for the team and he’s been nothing but professional since he joined, but Dinamo and their fans have a very specific relationship – uneasy, to say the least. There were mere 3,000 in a recent decisive league clash between Dinamo and Rijeka, and one third of those were away supporters. Dinamo fans are at war with the club – many have been banned from the stadium and many more others are boycotting it, protesting because of the way it is being run.

For explanation, I suggest you read this and this.

Angelo said that van Gaal promised that he’ll bring him back if he does well on loan. Angelo’s father recently told La Tercera that returning to Man United and succeeding there is one of his main goals. But Dinamo have an option to buy him at the end of the loan.

Do you reckon he will decide to stay at Dinamo?

Dinamo have publicly stated their intention to buy off his contract. However, Angelo has been at the club for long enough now and he must have realized it’s not an ideal environment for a young player to develop.

Many promising youngsters – including Inter’s Mateo Kovacic, Leverkusen’s Tin Jedvaj and Barcelona’s Alen Halilovic – have recently left the club as teenagers, not only because Dinamo wanted to cash in but also because they needed to do so in order to fulfil their potential.

Even Andrej Kramaric, who is the hottest player in Croatia right now and will move abroad this winter, had to leave Dinamo for Rijeka because he only stagnated there. I’m quite sure staying at Dinamo is not what Angelo wants and if it’s up to him, he surely won’t.

Has Angelo said anything to the local press/media regarding his future?

Not really, apart from this, but that was more than two months ago. I don’t think he wants to stay at Dinamo. He’s now up for a wasted 6-7 months because Dinamo are out of the Europa League and they don’t really need him to win another domestic title.

Dinamo’s annual budget is bigger than that of all the other nine league clubs combined and playing for them in the Croatian league presents no proper challenge. It would be very hard for him to improve there because the tempo in the league is much slower than in the Premier League, the demands in most games are very low and the coaching he can get is quite poor.

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Sam founded The Peoples Person back in 2011 after writing his university dissertation on The Munich Air Disaster. Since then, the website has been creating daily Man United content on everything from transfers and features to full match day coverage.