Q&A: The Croatian view on Norwich City signing Ivo Pinto
- Credit: Steve Adams
Zagreb-based football writer Aleksandar Holiga answers our questions about Norwich City's latest signing, Ivo Pinto.
How highly rated is Pinto among Dinamo supporters?
I wouldn't say he's particularly highly rated. Dinamo fans tend to prefer homegrown lads or the foreigners who they recognize as players always giving their all for the team rather than just collecting their pay checks. While I wouldn't necessarily put Pinto in the latter category, he certainly hasn't really established himself as a fan favourite and he has had many ups and downs in his form.
Is he a defensive full-back or does he like to press forward to join attacks?
He's definitely an attacking full-back. Although, curiously, he has never scored for Dinamo, he does look rather dangerous storming down the flank, overlapping with the winger and crossing the ball into the box. On the other hand, his defensive play leaves a lot to be desired. He often fails to close down players or doesn't return on time from his forward runs. I'd also say his positional sense, spatial intelligence, is rather poor; Dinamo have conceded far too many stupid goals from his side.
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Do you think his style of play is suitable for the Premier League?
He's really fast and has good stamina, so I don't expect him to have any problems with the physical side of the game in the Premier League. He will, however, have to be much more responsible defensively – something that he just didn't learn at Dinamo, where he usually played against inferior sides and pushed forward all the time. In England, his acceleration and pace won't make that much difference – if at all – while his defensive deficiencies are bound to show, like they usually did in Dinamo's European games. Still, on some occasions this season he assumed a more conservative role and did well defensively. Maybe, at least in part, a lot depends on motivation. Pinto was never very happy at Dinamo and wanted to leave on a couple of earlier occasions; maybe he will be more motivated and more tactically sound/responsible at Norwich.
The deal is reportedly worth €3million, is that a good deal for Norwich?
As you can see, I'm still undecided on his true value and potential – and I've seen his every game this season. That is, roughly, the realistic market price for him at the moment. I imagine that, for Norwich, it isn't a massive amount of money to be paid, so it's not a huge gamble on their part because Pinto could turn out to be a decent Premier League player after all – just don't expect him to be making the Team of the Week any time soon… I can't say that I've watched Norwich play that much lately, so I don't know what their other right-backs are like, but I wouldn't expect Pinto to be a massive upgrade.
And finally, does Pinto have a chance of playing for Portugal at Euro 2016?
Yes, he has been on the brink of making the national team for some time now. I think that was probably his main motivation behind the move, as he thinks he's more likely to receive a call-up if he plays in England.