His omission from the Argentina World Cup squad in favour of Martin Demichelis may have deterred many from signing Federico Fazio this summer, but not Arsene Wenger or Brendan Rodgers.
The Arsenal and Liverpool bosses are allegedly embroiled in a ‘bidding war’ (as the Daily Star are dubbing it) for the Sevilla star, though armistice may be reached quickly with the La Liga outfit willing to relinquish their towering defensive titan for just £8m.
Given that the same squad of negotiators were demanding in excess of £30m for sought-after left-back Alberto Moreno, it seems unlikely they’d hand over their rearguard marshal for such a paltry figure, but double, even triple the price would be worth either of the Premier League pair paying.
Fazio’s importance to the Europa League winners is underlined by their distinctly increased losing percentage when the 27-year-old was absent last term.
He missed 16 matches in 2013/14 and Los Rojiblancos lost 31 per cent of them.
Conversely, they were defeated in just 24 per cent of the 37 games he featured.
Furthermore, an overwhelming 11 of the 14 clean sheets Unai Emery’s men mustered last time around were done so with Fazio holding the fort.
He was responsible for 7.6 clearances per appearance on average, while he also made 1.4 tackles and 3.2 interceptions every time he donned the red and white of Sevilla in league and continental competition.
Crucially to the possession-obsessed supremos at Arsenal and Liverpool, his near-80 per cent pass completion rate means he could effortlessly ingratiate himself into systems that involve developing attacks from the back.
Compared to Thomas Vermaelen and Daniel Agger – the men in both squads who Fazio is regarded as a replacement for – the Argentine’s statistical superiority is evident.
Both averaged fewer than six clearances per outing last term, while their one & 1.4 tackles and 1.4 & 1.1 interceptions on average also fail to rival those of the 27-year-old.