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Analysis: Known as ‘Superman’, who is Aberdeen signing target Christian Ramirez?

Striker Christian Ramirez is a target for Aberdeen.
Striker Christian Ramirez is a target for Aberdeen.

He is known as “Superman” in the United States and the Dons aim to bring striker Christian Ramirez to Pittodrie to save the attack next season.

Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, but he could be in the eed of Aberdeen next season.

Such was the goal-scoring prowess and popularity of the 30-year-old USA international during his time at Minnesota United, the fans gave Ramirez the superhero tag.

He forged a prolific strike partnership at Minnesota with Miguel Ibarra – also known as “Batman” by the fans.

It was a lethal partnership that busted nets, not crime.

Now Aberdeen have made an ambitious bid to secure Houston Dynamo striker Ramirez, capped twice by the United States.

Dons boss Stephen Glass made a bid to sign Ramirez last year when interim manager of Atlanta United, but Houston knocked back the approach.

However, Glass has resurrected his interest in a striker, who has just seven months left on his contract.

With the ability to score goals, physicality and deliver strong hold-up play, Glass will be confident Scottish defenders will not be Kryptonite to the striker.

But who is “Superman”?

The transformation of Ramirez into “Superman” has been more of a slow burn than Clark Kent quickly donning a costume in a phone box.

In truth Ramirez is more akin to Leicester City and England striker Jamie Vary than the DC Comics crime-buster in that he has taken the unconventional route from the lower leagues up through the pyramid structure to the top.

Ramirez began his career at Concordia University in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) before moving to Orange County Blue Star.

He then sealed a switch to Charlotte Eagles in the American third division, which was then know as the USL Pro League, in 2012, received one-to-one striker coaching during that time with Aberdeen assistant manager Allan Russell via his Superior Striker enterprise.

Ramirez began his career as a defensive midfielder and cites his hero as Italy, Juventus and AC Milan legend Andrea Pirlo.

He wore number 21 for most of his career in homage to Pirlo.

Houston Dynamo forward Christian Ramirez (13) dribbles the ball against former club Minnesota United FC in September 2020

However, it was when moved into a centre-forward role Ramirez rapidly earned a reputation as a prolific scorer and netted four goals in three play-off appearances to fire the Eagles to the USL Pro Championship final, where they lost to Orlando City SC.

In front of 20,866 spectators, Ramirez netted twice in the final, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Eagles losing 7-4.

On that game, Ramirez said: “That was the largest crowd I had ever played in front of.

“To score twice in that environment assured me that I belong at that stage and I could hang in front of that many people.”

That form did not go unnoticed and secured a move to Minnesota United in the NASL, the then-American second division.

In his first three years at Minnesota United, the striker was named in the league’s top XI team of the season.

That debut season yielded 19 goals for Ramirez, including a sensational over-head bicycle kick that won the Goal of the Year award.

During his time at Minnesota, he forged a partnership and friendship with Ibarra.

That partnership saw both players excel with Ibarra becoming the first NASL Modern Era player to receive a call-up to the United States national team.

His team-mate Ramirez would follow into the international set-up soon after.

In 93 appearances for Minnesota United in the NASL, Ramirez netted 55 goals.

Minnesota United then stepped up to Major League Soccer, the top-flight, in 2017 and Ramirez was one of their key performers – netting 14 goals.

That earned a debut call-up to the United States squad for a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina in January 2018, although he did not play.

He  finally earned a debut cap a year later in a 3-0 defeat of Panama on January 27 – and scored.

In that scoring international debut, Ramirez drifted in behind the two centre-backs with perfectly timed movement to meet a low cross from Jonathan Lewis and then calmly convert from six yards.

The commentator hailed Ramirez as a player who had been a goal scorer all his career.

The commentator said: “The doubters continue to fuel the fire for Christian Ramirez, but he continues to score goals.

“His entire career, his entire life, he has been a goal-scorer.

“Right spot, right time.

“What a moment in your debut.”

Aberdeen target Christian Ramirez in action for Houston Dynamo.

Although a fans’ favourite and key player for Minnesota United, the striker was then transferred to Los Angeles FC in the MLS.

He had a frustrating spell at Los Angeles, scoring four goals from 20 appearances.

Houston Dynamo moved to sign him in August 2019 and the attacker had a strong end to the campaign, netting five times in 10 games and pitching in with a number of assists.

However, it was not enough to prevent Houston failing to reach the play-offs.

Although Glass’ bid to land Ramirez for Atlanta United last year was rejected, Houston head coach Tab Ramos would now be prepared to let Ramirez go to free up wages.

Now Glass’ interest in the striker has been resurrected, there could be obstacles in the way to Aberdeen getting a deal done.

The Dons would need to agree a deal with Major League Soccer, because all league contracts are centralised.

Another complication is a work permit as Ramirez is unlikely to meet the current criteria.

Any move may have to go through the appeals process and Aberdeen would have to put forward the case that Ramirez will be beneficial to Scottish football.

A journey from the lower reaches of American soccer could have another chapter with a move to Scotland – if those hurdles can be negotiated.

Ramirez is known as “Superman”  – if he can deliver goals for Aberdeen, every member of the Red Army will be a superfan of the striker.

This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.