Date of Birth: 03.06.1998 (18 years old)
Position: Central Midfielder
Team: Ajax Cape Town
Country: South Africa
Value: € 75.000
Contract Until: 2020
Height: 1.67 m
Grant Margeman was born on June 3, 1998, in Cape Town, the capital of the Western Cape province of South Africa. At a very early age, he succeeded to attract the attention of scouts of Ajax Cape Town, which is the feeder club of Amsterdam based AFC Ajax, and joined the club’s youth team.
At this point, it is time to mention briefly about Ajax Cape Town. Ajax Cape Town was formed in 1999, and since then their priority has been to identify the young talent in South Africa and to provide them football opportunities instead of winning titles. Although the biggest achievements of the club were finishing the league as runners-up in 2003/04, 2007/08 and 2010/11, they proceed on their way in accordance with their motto, ‘No youth, no future’. Accordingly, they presented many important players to football. Along with the players who still play in South Africa such as Khama Billiat, Granwald Scott, Nazeer Allie and Thulani Hlatshwayo, a lot of important players who play for European clubs such as Lebogang Manyama, Daylon Claasen, Eyong Enoh, Steven Pienaar, Thulani Serero and Keagan Dolly also played for Ajax Cape Town.
Let’s get back to Grant Margeman, thanks to his bright performance in youth team and his skills, he impressed the manager, Stanley Menzo, and was one of seven players who got promoted to first team squad at the beginning of 2016/17 season. In his first season for Ajax Cape Town, the young midfielder played 847 minutes in 14 games and made a great first impression by scoring 3 goals and providing 3 assists. Meanwhile, he was shown 3 yellow and 1 red cards and missed 2 games due to the red card.
In February, 2017, Margeman was invited to the South Africa U20 national team for the first time and played 389 minutes and scored once in 5 games in 2017 U20 Africa Cup of Nations which took place in Zambia. Margeman had a part in South Africa U20 team’s fourth-place finish in the tournament after being eliminated by the host, Zambia, in the semi final. The young player also played for South Africa U20 national team in 2017 U20 World Cup which took place in South Korea.
The young player, mostly play in the midfield in 4-2-3-1 formation both for Ajax Cape Town and for South Africa U20 national team. Even though the tactical formation in which he takes part is almost same all the time, in the pitch sometimes he plays as an attacking midfielder and sometimes he takes position close to his team’s defensive line and takes a more defensive role. It can be said that Margeman overcomes both defensive and offensive duties succesfully. He also experienced 4-1-4-1 and 4-3-3 formations as well.
Strengths (Agility, Work rate, Dribbling, Off-the-ball, Aerial Duels)
Margeman’s physical attributes draw attention in the first instance. Thanks to his pace and acceleration, it is possible to see the young player near the opponent’s goal right after helping his team defend or close to his team’s goal immediately after support his team attacking. By this means he helps his team increase in number in the attacking third and prevent the danger of any vulnerability and weaknesses in defence while returning from an attack. His work rate also helps him support his team in both defence and offence. Even though his 1.67cm height, it is possible to associate his success in aerial duels to his physical attributes. Thanks to his jumping ability, he completes 70% of the aerial challenges successfully.
Margeman’s dribbling ability also glitters as a strength. We must say that he has quite good ball control and does not lose the ball easily. His 59% dribbling success rate reflects his ability. The player for whom we mentioned aerial duel success above, also shows important success when it comes to challenges with a 57% success rate. Furthermore, he scored 3 goals and made 3 assists in 14 games in 2016/17 season and attempted 2.4 key passes per game. It would be correct to call him a ‘man of action’ although he is only 18.
In modern football, a player’s off-the-ball skills are as important as his on-the-ball skills. With this in mind, we can say that Margeman utilizes impressive positioning and off-the-ball skills. When he defends he positions well in a way that opponents cannot pass to each other easily, on the other hand, when he joins the attack he finds the space near opponent’s penalty arc and seeks an opportunity for shooting at goal.
Weaknesses (Passing, Tackling, Crossing)
It would be correct to say that passing quality is a ‘sine qua non’ considering that he is at the center of the game thanks to his position. However, young midfielder’s 70% passing accuracy is a bit dissappointing. Although his long and accurate passes remind of Raul Meireles from time to time, particularly his misplaced short passes might be surprising. In order to prove himself, he must increase his pas quality and raise his passing accuracy.
Another weakness of the South African player which leaps one’s eye is his tackling ability. We can say that this ability which particularly gains dramatic importance when he gets a more defensive role, is not at the top level. His 55% tackling ratio is not enough considering his position. Moreover, it is sometimes possible to witness that he commits pointless fouls close to his side’s goal and gives the opponent a chance for a dangerous attack because of timing errors.
Finally, we can speak of his crossing ability, even though it is not of critical importance considering his position, it might cause him to diversify his game and be used as an ‘ancillary weapon’. As we mentioned above, Margeman attracts attention with his goal plus assist contribution and key pass attempts, however, his performance becomes dissappointing when it comes to crossing. He makes 0.4 cross attempts per game and almost non of them hits the bull’s eye, which clearly means that he sends the ball inside the opposition penalty box randomly once in every two games. Again, remember that crossing is not crucial for his role.
Similar Players: Blaise Matuidi, Jean Michael Seri, Raul Meireles
Grant Margeman, who embodies plenty of the attributes of ‘box-to-box’ midfielders, has remarkable similarities with Blaise Matuidi. Along with the attributes about which someone might have an opinion at first glance such as height and weight, he reminds of Matuidi when it comes to agility, acceleration and athleticism. He also resembles Jean Michael Seri in many respects such as mental attributes, execution of both defensive and offensive duties succesfully and accurate through balls behind the defense. Thanks to his diagonal, deep and long passes, one may remember Raul Meireles while watching Margeman.