Aimar Oroz | Osasuna

A glimpse at the heatmap of Aimar Oroz might still leave you guessing about exactly where the young Spaniard lines up for Osasuna.

A central midfielder, winger, and occasional striker all-in-one, Oroz is ever-present for Osasuna in La Liga in his 2nd season as a regular starter for the side.

Having tallied up 9 goal contributions (3 goals and 6 assists) in 23 starts last season, the current campaign hasn’t quite been the leap forward Oroz might have been hoping for. Despite being a permanent feature of the Osasuna starting XI, he’s thus far only contributed a single goal and assist for his side in the league this season.

The pre-match graphics presented on the broadcast would typically tell you that Oroz is set to line up on the left side of a 4-3-3, and while the 21-year-old spends plenty of time on the left, you’re equally as likely to catch him occupying space down the middle of the pitch and the right-hand-side.

Oroz is always on the move. Constantly searching for space between lines of the opposition. His movement indicates a desire to get hold of the ball and influence the game, but as can be typical of young players, his influence on the game is often fleeting. Quick, exciting moments, but limited touches.

That said, Oroz does play with sharpness and intention. Whether receiving the ball in central midfield from his defence, or participating in attacking moves in the opposition final third, he’s looking to progress the ball quickly and get on the move again.

With an array of flicks and tricks in his arsenal, it can be hard to predict exactly what Oroz is going to do when he receives the ball – especially on the half-turn, as he likes to do.

If not a quick one-two or a first-time pass to set through another player, Oroz will most likely do his favourite thing. Drive.

The boy can run. 

If given half a chance, Oroz will often choose to carry the ball forward himself before laying it off to another forward. With superb close control and a surprising burst of pace, it’s obvious why this is a key part of his game.

Aimar Oroz ranks very highly among Europe’s top 5 leagues when it comes to progressive carrying, and rather impressively, at both carrying the ball into the final and into the opposition penalty area. His area of influence with the ball-at-feet can easily be described as “the entire opposition half of the pitch”.

The focus of this piece has very much been on the influence Oroz wields in attack, but his defensive contributions don’t go unnoticed. High work-rate and intelligence displayed in the press and no stranger to a physical battle, Oroz is willing to work for the team. 

Of course, it also doesn’t go unnoticed that a slim frame and lack of particular height don’t lend themselves to exceptional duel-winning capabilities. There’s often a tendency to demand that players like this “fill out” to maximise their capacity to win challenges – without taking into account the effect such an effort would have on their agility and movement. 

While Oroz may benefit from a little more strength, it’s unlikely to hold him back from achieving his potential. As long as he continues to battle and fight for the team like his life depends on it.

While a lack of clinicality in the final third might be dampening the excitement around Oroz after a flying start to life in La Liga, his ability shouldn’t be doubted. A season of relative “struggle” may even be a positive for a player who at one stage seemed to be courting the attention of Barcelona. Develop in the right environment, gain experience, and move when the time is right.

As it stands, Osasuna has Oroz tied down until 2026 – and is looking to activate an extension. If the youngster can keep up his form and return to contributing in front of goal, there’s no doubt interest will resurface in the Summer.