Sevilla’s towering centre-half Federico Fazio has become that much more of a realistic transfer target for both Arsenal and Manchester United in the wake of the transfer ban placed upon Barcelona, who had been leading the race for his signature.
The Argentine’s sterling work at the heart of the Los Palanganas defence has been instrumental in guiding a side tipped for relegation after a close-season fire sale into genuine top-four contenders.
Just six points off fourth-placed Athletic with seven games to go, they’re a generously-priced 13/2 shot for a Champions League berth in 2014/15.
Fazio is probably best understood as a central-defender in the Per Mertesacker mould.
While he is naturally dominant in the air due to his epic proportions, he is the thinker to his partner’s action man, preferring to take an extra step back in order to better read the breakdown of the game.
It’s perhaps why he averages a stellar 3.3 interceptions per game, but only 1.2 tackles, painting a picture of an ideal partner in crime for a smaller man who covers ground fast and relishes his tackles such as Laurent Koscielny.
Thought of as among the finest defenders in the Primera Division, Barcelona have been admirers for some time, interest his teammate Diego Perrotti agreed was warranted in no uncertain terms, telling El Desmarque Radio:
“I see him at Barcelona. Fede is going to be the best central defender in Europe. With his height and his way of playing he will be the best – nothing is missing for him to be a starter at Barcelona.”
Sadly for the Blaugrana it now seems highly unlikely that they will be able to snap up the 26-year-old, who is valued at between £4m and £7m according to Talksport.
Fazio’s agent, on the other hand, will be overjoyed, with the kaiboshing of the Catalunyans’ summer recruitment drive setting off a scrum for his client’s signature known already to be four clubs deep.
Alongside the Gunners and Man Utd, Tottenham and Fiorentina are also known to hold a candle for the 6ft 5in colossus.