Who is Erick Pulgar? Things to know about the Chilean midfielder

Ali Rampling
Jan 16, 2021, 1:15 PM GMT
Who is Erick Pulgar?
Who is Erick Pulgar? | TF-Images/Getty Images

With the January window open, the transfer rumour mill is in full operation.

One man mentioned in relation to a move elsewhere is Fiorentina's Erick Pulgar. Leeds are said to be ready to reignite their pursuit of the midfielder, having been linked with him during the 2020 summer window, while Atletico Madrid have also previously been cited with an interest.

Don't know who he is? You're probably not alone, don't worry. Here's everything you need to know about the Chilean international.

1. He's a combative midfielder

Pulgar is always in the thick of the action
Pulgar is always in the thick of the action | Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Pulgar is a central midfielder, usually operating as the deepest lying defensive midfielder in a midfield three for his national side Chile. For Fiorentina, he has been utilised both as a number four and in a slightly more advanced midfield role.

Standing at 6'1, the 27-year-old is a tenacious, pitbull of a midfielder who Fiorentina boss Cesare Prandelli has previously described as 'powerful'. He made 66 tackles in Serie A last term - averaging two per game.

Pulgar has also goals in him, an eye for a pass and quality in the final third, finding the net seven times last term.

2. He offers versatility

Pulgar can operate in central midfield and central defence
Pulgar can operate in central midfield and central defence | Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Capable of operating as a defensive midfielder and in a more advanced role, Pulgar offers plenty of versatility in the middle of the park.

However, he can also be deployed in a more defensive role, having started out as a centre back.

Pulgar began his professional career as a central defender with Deportes Antofagasta in his native Chile. A move to Universidad Catolica in 2014 saw him flit between centre back and defensive midfield, but it was not until he joined Bologna the following year that defensive midfield became the Chilean international's primary position.

3. He's a set piece threat

Pulgar on penalty duty for Fiorentina
Pulgar on penalty duty for Fiorentina | Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Pulgar is a bit of a set piece specialist. He's no stranger to finding the net with a stunning free kick or two, scoring a particular beauty from an acute angle for Bologna against Sampdoria in 2019.

He also possesses a wicked corner delivery, laying on seven assists from corners during the 2019/20 season. Pulgar even scored directly from a corner for Bologna against Fiorentina during the 2017/18 season.

And he's not a bad penalty taker either.

"It is not as easy to shoot penalties as Pulgar shoots them," Bologna manager Sinisa Mihajlovic told El Grafico.“Regarding free kicks, I can already say that he is better than me."

4. He shone at the Copa America

Pulgar caught the eye at the Copa America
Pulgar caught the eye at the Copa America | NELSON ALMEIDA/Getty Images

Pulgar's performances at the 2019 Copa America ultimately earned him his big move to Fiorentina.

The midfielder played every minute of Chile's run to the semi finals of the competition, turning in a player of the match performance during his country's quarter final penalty shootout victory over Colombia.

Few Chile players came out of their 3-0 semi final exit to Peru with a great deal of credit, but again Pulgar was regarded as his team's star performer. A €10m move to Fiorentina followed that summer.

5. He doesn't hide his ambitions

Pulgar has never shied away from making his lofty ambitions crystal clear.

Following his stellar showing at the Copa America, the then Bologna man told La Tercera that he was grateful for his time at the Serie A outfit, but was keen to move elsewhere in order to better himself.

"I have been in Bologna for four years, it is a beautiful city and I am used to it, but the time has come to make the leap," Pulgar said. "I need it. I have to take a step forward in my career to be able to fight for more things,"