Jhon Duran is an 18-year-old striker who plays for Chicago Fire in MLS. Chicago bought Duran from Envigrado in Colombia when he was 17 but he was only able to move abroad this season. He took a little bit of time to find his feet in MLS but has put together a very strong first season despite being on a poor Chicago team. Duran is reportedly drawing interest from the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea and frankly, I don’t think that interest is at all misplaced. He already has two caps for the senior Colombian national team.
Duran has fantastic physical traits, especially for an 18-year-old. He is 6’0 with a very muscular build relative to his age. He is really good in aerial battles and great at protecting the ball with his body. He is also quite quick and a regular danger to make runs in behind the opposition defence. You have to imagine these traits are only going to improve as he gets older. He also has great off-the-ball movement which pairs well with his speed to help him evade defenders in the box. Duran takes a ton of shots, which is partly because he doesn’t mind having a go from distance, but also because his physical traits and intelligent movement make him really good at creating separation from defenders.
Duran’s technical skills are not quite as developed as his physicality or his off-the-ball movement. That’s not to say that he totally lacks skill because that is not the case, it’s just that his technical ability isn’t outstanding at the MLS level. His first touch can be a bit bouncy and he is not the greatest at retaining the ball. His physicality does make him hard to stop once he gets up to speed but he is not a great 1v1 dribbler. His passing is not amazing but he is capable of some basic link-up play.
Still, despite these shortcomings, Duran has been a really effective striker. He has eight goals and five assists this season and is in the 94th percentile for non-penalty expected goals per 90 minutes. When you consider he has achieved this as an 18-year-old on a terrible team that might not even hit 40 goals this season, it’s hard not to get excited about just how high he could go. Breaking through at a club like Liverpool or Chelsea is never easy but I would be quite surprised if he didn’t have a long career in one of Europe’s top leagues.