Scouting Time: Nahuel Bustos
In this series, we take a look at some of the most interesting young talents in the world of football. Next up is Talleres Córdoba’s striker Nahuel Bustos.
Arsene Wenger once asserted that “South America is the only continent to develop strikers today”, and the Argentinian Primera has always proved to be a great testing ground for young forwards, be it local prospects or highly-rated talents from across the region.
Arguably the best young striker in the division last season was Nahuel Bustos, who scored 9 goals in 20 league appearances for Talleres. Unsurprisingly, this has caught the attention of a number of top clubs looking for the next potential striking sensation to emerge from Argentina.
The Cordoba-born forward made his debut way back in 2016, in a brief cameo against Chacarita, but started making waves when he scored 4 goals in 3 games at the 2018 U20 Libertadores. Bustos continued that momentum with an impressive 5 goals in 11 appearances for the Talleres senior side that season.
After a slight detour to Mexico on loan with Pachuca for six months, he returned home to La T and duly finished as joint fourth top scorer in the division in what would be his breakthrough season, earning himself a call up to the Argentina U23s in the process.
Calm and lethal in front of goal, Bustos is a clinical finisher and is capable of scoring in a variety of ways. While most of his shots and goals come from inside the box, Bustos can find the back of the net from all kinds of angles and has a real versatility in the manner of his finishes.
Here we see a trademark assured finish from Bustos, darting between the center-backs and expertly controlling the looping ball over his shoulder with one touch, before steadying himself and then finishing with his next touch.
However, he is also capable of more spectacular efforts such as the deft lob from an acute angle on his weaker left foot versus Racing and more powerful strikes from range against Lanus and bitter rivals Belgrano.
Bustos instinctive movement allows him to get in plenty of good scoring positions and his 52 shots last season were only bettered by three other players.
Coupled with his goal-scoring prowess, the 22-year-old also has bags of pace. This means he can hang on the last shoulder of the defender and use his speed to get in behind defenses where he can then finish with an effortless coolness.
This acceleration and speed mean that Bustos can also be a threat when collecting the ball in deeper positions and running at isolated opponents.
While his dribbling stats (3.86 per 90 minutes) may not necessarily jump out, his pace with the ball at his feet displays he is more than a mere penalty-box finisher and that he can create opportunities for himself and others.
Bustos’ pace and movement also give him a certain versatility that allows him to play anywhere across the front line. At his best through the middle, his skill set means that he is also effective in either of the wider strike positions in a front three.
At his best in the final third, Bustos managed a reasonable three assists last season and is good at linking up with his teammates. Although his pass accuracy (72.2%) could be improved and he could work on his back-to-goal play, Bustos is nevertheless someone who contributes in the build-up as well as his undoubted ability to finish off the moves.
Though Bustos may only have around 50 senior games under his belt, his displays over the last couple of years have provided enough evidence that he is ready to make the jump abroad. Talleres president Andres Fassi agrees and has claimed that there have been offers from four or five clubs in Europe, ranging from Russia and Germany to Spain and Portugal. Wherever he ends up, Bustos will be a great addition to any club and one to watch in the future.