Adding to the doping accusations that have plagued Russian sports for years, the country’s footballing prospects also dropped after the nation invaded Ukraine. This act invited a host of sanctions from several sporting organisations, such as UEFA and FIFA. As a result, the national team and all its clubs were suspended from all competitions. It was a significant setback for all the players plying their trade in the league. However, the ban didn’t affect Russian players in other leagues, so the talented Anton Efremov has been allowed to continue his career with the Spanish club Villarreal.
Christened as the new Pau Torres, Anton Efremov is regarded as one of the best young defenders in the Spanish league. While he has yet to make his senior team debut, big things are expected from the teenager.
So, who is Anton Efremoc, and how good is he?
Playing career so far
Anton Artyomovich Efremov was born on June 11, 2003 in Nizhniy Novgorod, western Russia. Efremov’s career started at the local club DYuTs Sormovo in 2007 when he was just four. The youngster would spend the next six years at the club but left in 2013 to join Nizhny Novgorod, now known as FC Pari Nizhny Novgorod who play in the Russian Premier League since the 2021-22 season.
However, after three years at the club, one thing became clear; Efremov’s talent was far superior to any team in the city of Nizhny Novgorod. This is why his parents decided that Moscow was the best place for the player to take his game to the next level.
And in 2016, the then-12-year-old joined Lokomotiv Moscow, one of the biggest clubs in Russia. The same story, however, repeated itself precisely after three years as Efremoc’s talent became too big for any club’s youth system in the entire nation.
Efremov then moved to Spain, joining La Liga club Villarreal in 2019. However, what was supposed to be a dream move soon became a nightmare as his work visa was delayed, barring him from playing a game for the club. After one year with no end in sight over the availability of his visa, Efremov returned to his native, joining Chertanovo Moscow.
However, when the 2020-21 season ended, Villarreal put in all their efforts to try to re-sign Efremov. This time the bureaucratic delays were absent as the Russian signed for Villarreal on a professional contract which was valid till 2024.
Anton Efremov stats
When Efremov returned to Russia in 2020, he spent his time playing for both the under-17 and under-19 teams. He made his debut for the under-19s on September 11, 2021. And he grabbed the opportunity with both hands scoring a goal on his debut.
In addition, he also made five appearances for the under-17 scoring another goal. He also got two matches for the senior side, one each in the Russian Cup and the Russian Premier League.
In the current season, Efremov has been played sporadically as he gets used to the Villarreal C’s playing style. However, the defender has played ten times for the team, making the team in the last four appearances which shows he is becoming an integral part of the team and has helped the team keep two clean sheets.
Anton Efremov scout report
Anton Efremov is a 1.9-metre-tall defender who is brilliant at both the defensive and offensive aspects of the game. Efremov is a player who prefers to be the line breaker for his team with his impeccable passing. Since Villarreal also play a high line, Efremov’s pace comes in handy, especially when the team is facing a counterattack.
The Russian also does not hesitate to make a tackle near his goal, and most of the time, he is successful, which shows his impressive talent and his confidence in his skills.
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What makes him special
Anton Efrremov could have been a far better player than his current version had the visa issues not destroyed his entire season. The lack of football during the time set back his development significantly. However, the fact that he has managed to get his season back on track and is close to making his debut for the senior team by the end of the season or the start of the next season shows his strong mental attitude,
This skill will immensely help him as he looks to make his name among the top five leagues in the world.
Anton Efremov’s potential and transfer news
Anton Efremov has only made ten appearances this season, but it was enough evidence for Villarreal to offer him a contract extension. His original contract was due to end in 2024, but under the new agreement, he will stay at the club till 2026 with an option to extend for a further season.
This means that any club looking to sign him must now pay top dollar. However, for now, Efremov is at Villarreal and should work to prove himself as the next Pau Torres or even outperform him.