While digging around for a bit of info on Arsenal target Fabricio Coloccini, La Liga Review stumbled upon a slightly disturbing photo of Deportivo's Xisco and De Guzman engaging in a bit of, erm , ball juggling. While we are on the subject of Xisco, we take a closer look at the young Deportivo forward...
The picture appeared in the local Galician Paper and features the in form Depor striker Xisco, and his Canadian team mate Julian de Guzman celebrating Xisco's second goal by tickling each other testicles.
Can anybody, please, tell us what that is all about?
While we are on the subject of Xisco, it's probably about time La Liga Review took a closer look at a player who is suddenly winning many admirers.
21 year old Francisco Jiménez Tejada(Palma, 1986), Xisco, as he is known suddenly seems to have found his feet in the Primera after finally getting the chance to feature for the Deportivo first team. Miguel Angel Lotina's faith in the young striker has dramatically been repaid with five goals in the Galician club's last two fixtures and, at present, he is the clubs top goal scorer with nine goals in seventeen starts.
The young striker started off in the youth ranks at Depor back in 2002 and quickly progressed to the Deportivo B team. He got his breakthrough with the first team under Javier Irureta during the 2004- 2005 season but struggled to stake a regular place in the first team, facing competition from the likes of Rubén Castro, Taborda, Arizmendi and Diego Tristán.
In spite of the arrival of Caparrós in the summer of 2005, a coach who has a reputation for developing young players, Xisco remained unable to consolidate himself in the senior squad. By the summer of 2006, and with the arrival of new signings Riki and Bodipo as well as the talented Adrián from Real Oviedo, it was decided that, at 20 years old, Xisco should go out on loan in order to get some regular competitive experience.
The powerful young forward therefore found himself on loan at Vecindario, a struggling second division club in the Canary Islands where he must have felt as if he had disappeared forever from the spotlight of top flight Spanish football. However, his 13 goals in 27 appearances for the floundering second division outfit earned him a call up to the Spanish under 21's and, perhaps more importantly, a recall to the Depor first team.
Xisco has gradually earned the trust of Lotina at Depor his recent goal rush has been instrumental in securing the Galician side's last two wins that have edged them closer to the magical 42 points and Primera Liga safety.
On a personal level, Xisco's determination, while out on loan, to earn a return to Depor coupled with his application and work rate since re-joining the squad has earned him the respect of his peers in the first team. Here's what a few of them have had to say about him recently:
PABLO AMO: "He is the first line of defence for the team. His work rate and tireless chasing the opposition down causes all sorts of problems.
"He wins almost every single 50/50 ball and, just as importantly, he hold the ball up well - waiting for the second line to push up and that gives us a lot of freedom"
JUAN RODRÍGUEZ: "He learned a lot in the last couple of seasons. He's learned that he's got to be able to do more than just be strong and a great header of the ball. He now puts the opposition defenders under constant pressure and is key to our defensive structure."
LAFITA: "From an attacking midfield position, I'll look up and Xisco is always my first option for a pass. His movement off the shoulder of the defender is excellent and he always offers us plenty of options. The way he holds the ball up makes him the refernce point for the rest of the team."
"You have just got to realise how hard he works to understand how important he can be to a team"
DE GUZMÁN: "He's alert, rapid and physically very strong. That strength enables him to hold the ball up and he very rarely loses it. A lot of the time he is the first person we look for in attack and in a counter attack."
With a contract that expires in 2010 and a buyout clause of just 5 million euros, if he keeps scoring at the rate of a goal very other game, then we are sure to be hearing Xisco's name in the transfer gossip columns quite soon. Those qualities, his strength and work rate, make him sound like the perfect candidate for the English game, and a number of Premiership club's have been monitoring him. Just how his penchant for his team mates genitalia would be received in England is another matter altogether.