23 year-old Argentinian center back Mateo Musacchio is not exactly a household name on these shores, however for his current club Villarreal he is a staple. Entering his fourth campaign in La Liga, Musacchio is one of the more experienced and settled centre backs in European football and at 23, that is quite the achievement.
At six foot tall, Musacchio is not the most imposing defender in the game and is actually much more comfortable with the ball at his feet, but in this age of ball-playing centre-backs, that can hardly be held against him. It would also be folly to suggest that Mateo Musacchio is to be disregarded when it comes to the physical side of the game, when last season alone the Argentinian was involved in 136 aerial duels, winning 51%, a great return for any player. Musacchio also topped the list in interceptions last season for the Yellow Submarines of Villarreal with 108 and with two International caps for Argentina already and after a fantastic domestic campaign in 2013/14, there were a few raised eyebrows when Musacchio was left out of Argentina Coach Alejandro Sabella’s World Cup squad this summer.
Who’s Interested? Tottenham Hotspur
This summer has seen Tottenham Hotspur undergo a huge shift with the appointment of what Spurs fans will hope to be a long-term first team coach in ex-Southampton man Mauricio Pochettino. If Pochettino’s time at Southampton is anything to go by, then a high defensive line will more than likely be Tottenham’s approach this season and a player of Musacchio’s talents seem custom built to fit that bill.
Tottenham are not short of defensive numbers, but are very much lacking in standout quality. Jan Vertonghen is the most secure defensive player in the North London side’s set-up and would provide good partnership to a similarly technical Mateo Musacchio – a partnership that could finally ease the pressure on a position that Tottenham have struggled with for the last few years.
Valued at £16million, Musacchio’s contract reportedly includes a 35% sell on fee to his first club River Plate, which might see the price rise to around £20million. Controversial third party ownership has got young Mateo caught in something of a transfer purgatory this summer, but if he’s the guy Daniel Levy wants, he’s more than like the guy that Spurs will get.
Words by Ben Fawcett