Monchi returned to Seville a year ago, and instantly worked his magic, plucking Lucas Ocampos and Diego Carlos from Ligue 1 to slot into Julen Lopetegui’s new-look team.
Both have excelled this season so far, despite their team’s loss of momentum as the campaign wore on. Barcelona are being mentioned in connection with tricky Argentine winger Ocampos; while European champions Liverpool are apparently interested in the Carlos, the impressive central defender.
The former has had a few years bouncing around the top leagues in Europe already, and while a good value buy from Monchi, was not as much of a hidden gem. His the ceiling of his ability seems to be as a very good player rather than a great one.
Carlos was more of a mystery – unheralded and often benched in his early days in Europe, even playing with Porto’s B team. A spell at Nantes sent his career on a major upswing, but his season in La Liga so far has confirmed him as a defender with a bright future, and as another great find to be added to the list of Monchi’s credits.
An absolute titan physically, the 27 year old has got all the tools to be a perfect option to replace and rotate with either Virgil Van Dijk or Joe Gomez. While he’s less polished technically than either, his defensive instincts are great and he has suited a high-pressing system in Spain as much as he did a more conservative one back in France.
Carlos is a dynamic defender, who finds himself involved in the play all over the pitch. While he’s too heavily built to be truly quick, his good top speed and athletic frame means he’s not afraid to engage the opposition high up, or cross the halfway line to help build the play. He would be very comfortable moving wide to cover behind Liverpool’s aggressive wing backs in Jurgen Klopp’s system.
On the ball he is calm and effective, although limited in comparison to the very best players in that position. But this has not held him back so far, and playing alongside Van Dijk would allow him to keep his use of the ball simple while he focuses on positioning himself for the counter-attack.
His buyout clause is set at €75m, which is a vast sum for a player whose rough edges still haven’t been filed off. But given the financial pressures Sevilla may be coming under this summer, Jurgen Klopp’s transfer team may be able to get him for significantly less.
If a deal can be agreed around €40m – likely with major add-ons – that would be a move very much worth considering for the Reds. He has only just passed his 27th birthday, and should be at his peak for the next few years. A Liverpool side whose window for winning trophies can make an instant upgrade to their squad to keep their impressive momentum going.
As for Sevilla, they’re going to have to hope that their Monchi can replicate last summer’s successes all over again if they want to remain genuinely competitive in La Liga.
“I’d rather have a hole in the squad than an a**ehole” – who said this about his team? Find out here.