The cold hard facts suggest that Borja Baston is having a better season than both Fernando Torres and Jackson Martinez combined. The Eibar striker has seven goals while Torres and Martinez have four combined. Could Baston earn himself a spot in the Atletico Madrid squad next season?
Borja Baston's Journey
At the beginning of Borja's journey, competing in Atleti's academy, he was compared favourably to Torres. There were journalists who predicted that Borja could reach the heights Torres reached and some even said he could go further. Borja was the main reason Alvaro Morata signed with Real Madrid. Morata and Baston were competing for one position on the team and Morata was regularly put in the shadow by Baston. This was also the case in the Spanish national youth teams.
Baston suffered bad luck on the injury front and has had to take a different path on his way to los rojiblancos' first team by spending time on loan at Murcia, Huesca, Deportivo and Zaragoza. Last year, he proved he was ready to take the step up and play in a La Liga side having scored 22 goals for Zaragoza. Simeone, however, decided to look for another loan, this time in the Basque country, and to Eibar he went. Baston has scored seven goals now in 13 league appearences so far, bringing about the debate as to whether he is up to the task of playing regularly as the focal point of the attack at the Calderon
Baston vs. Torres and Martinez
Cholo Simeone's tatical system usually only requires two number nines in the squad. This year the manager has chosen Jackson Martinez and Fernando Torres to cover the role. The Colombian still has three years left on his contract and so his continuation in the red and white of Atletico seems a formality. Fernando, however, is in the opposite situation. His contract expires in June 2016 and it is unclear as to whether Atletico and the canterano will part ways or not.
Perhaps there is no greater motivation for a footballer to succeed than to play in a team where he has played since he was a child. Borja Baston has certainly imagined it, while dreaming, thousands of times of hitting the back of the net at the Vicente Calderon. The Madrid las also knows the club intrinsically, has played in several preseasons with the team and would not need as long to assimilate to life at the club. We could see a high level of performance for an early stage from the player.
In any case, it seems that Borja Baston's profile best fits as a reserve striker for Atletico as they club have always bet on a top class attacker, see Diego Forlan, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa. Moreover, by his nature, the canterano resembles Jackson Martinez: a front man accustomed to as few touches as possible to make goals and being a permanent fixture in the opponents' area. This does not happen as often now as Torres is quite different in that respect. Simeone chose to have a little more versatility in the squad with Torres and Martinez mainly in the squad. It must also be mentioned that Baston is a forward who relies heavily on goalscoring runs and would need to be the first choice striker in order to be of benefit to the team. This could stand against him.
However, there are still many games left and if injuries respect Borja, this debate will remain open. Clearly, in good shape, the Academy player is a valid option for a first-class team and why shouldn't that team be Atletico Madrid?