John Alberto Fernandes Luigi Olof Guidetti doesn’t just have one of the longest names in the Premier League, he’s also had one of the longest waits to make an appearance.
The 21-year-old Swede has been on Manchester City’s books for six years, but he hadn’t played in the Premier League until coming off the bench for a 10-minute cameo on Saturday following a loan move to Stoke City.
But despite having made only one competitive appearance for the Sky Blues – when he set up the winner against West Bromwich Albion in a 2010 League Cup game – Guidetti has carved out a reputation as one of Europe’s most clinical young strikers after a devastating loan spell at Feyenoord.
Guidetti joined the Rotterdam club for the 2011-12 season and racked up an astonishing tally of 20 goals in just 23 appearances. The youngster bagged three hat-tricks in succession during his spell at De Kuip stadium, leading coach Ronald Koeman to dub him as a “phenomenal” talent who could one day exceed his compatriot Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
High praise indeed – but what sort of a player are Stoke City getting?
At 6 ft 1, Guidetti is a strong, tall, technical striker who is well equipped to lead the line effectively. He has drawn comparisons with former Manchester City player Mario Balotelli for his physical prowess, pace, and ability to score goals with both feet.
Koeman said that Guidetti’s technical ability was “on the same level as players such as Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder at that age”.
As his record suggests, Guidetti is a superb finisher who is also adept at shooting early from the edge of the area. However, as well as his goalscoring credentials, he is also good at bringing team-mates into play – he notched nine assists during his time at Feyenoord.
Guidetti grew up in Kenya and his game still exhibits a number of attributes that he picked up playing street football in the slums of Nairobi. He has superb control, excellent reaction speed, and he loves to take opponents on.
Guidetti’s weaknesses include a tendency to lose concentration – a bad habit underlined by one particular incident during his spell in Holland. After scoring from the penalty spot against RKC Waalwijk, the Swede celebrated by ripping off his shirt, earning him his second yellow card of the game. Waalwijk went on to equalise, and a remorseful Guidetti described the incident as “one of the worst moments of my life”.
But despite what this anecdote might suggest, those close to Guidetti say he has impressive personal qualities for one so young.
“John is very mature for his age,” says Bojan Djordjic, Guidetti’s former team-mate at Brommapojkarna in Sweden. “He knows what he wants and he follows this up in his actions.”Guidetti has set up a foundation to help children from his former home in Kenya.
Guidetti is at the back of a long queue at Manchester City, and he won’t be usurping Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko any time soon. But his record suggests that he could be a more-than-useful addition to Mark Hughes’s squad.
The test now for Guidetti is to reproduce his goalscoring feats in the Premier League. But as a boy whose feet bled until they toughened up when he played barefoot on the streets of Kenya, he’s unlikely to be fazed by the challenge.