Monchi appears to have done it again.
The Spanish sporting director’s reputation as the master of the transfer market took a hammering during his time at Roma.
But now back at Sevilla, Monchi appears to have got his mojo back.
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Jule Kounde, Fernando, Olivier Torres and Lucas Ocampos have all proven excellent additions, after arriving at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan last year, while Sergio Reguilon enjoyed a sensational season on loan from Real Madrid.
However, one summer signing stands above all others – Diego Carlos.
During his first spell in Andalusia, Monchi made Sevilla millions of euro in profit with bargain buys such as Dani Alves, Ivan Rakitic, Seydou Keita, Adriano, Julio Baptista and Federico Fazio.
The first four on that list all subsequently went to Barcelona and, during his stellar debut season in La Liga, Carlos was tipped for a transfer to Camp Nou.
There appears no chance of that happening now, though. Put quite simply: the Catalans can’t afford him.
A year after joining Sevilla from Nantes for €15 million (£14m/$17m), Carlos is already worth at least three times that amount.
Indeed, the Rojiblancos are insisting that the Brazilian defender won’t be allowed to leave for anything less than his buy-out clause: €75m (£68m/$86m).
Of course, it would be surprising if such a figure was met during the current economic crisis caused by coronavirus.
However, there is no shortage of clubs willing to try to do a deal with Sevilla for their most valuable asset.
As well as Barca, Madrid have also been linked with a move for Carlos, which makes sense given their interest in finding a long-term successor to captain Sergio Ramos, who is now 34.
The most concrete interest, though, is to be found not in Spain, but England.
As Goal revealed earlier last month, Sevilla have received two bids for Carlos from Premier League clubs. The first offer arrived in June, and the second in the middle of July.
Carlos certainly looks ideally suited for English football.
He may have struggled with Adama Traore’s pace in Tuesday’s Europa League quarter-final win over Wolves, giving away a penalty for tripping the winger in the area, but few defenders can keep up with one of the fastest players in the game today.
For the most part, Carlos was his usually composed and dominant self in a defence that he and Kounde have transformed into one of the best in Spain, if not Europe.
Indeed, this season, only champions Real Madrid and the perennially mean Atletico Madrid conceded fewer goals than Sevilla in La Liga (34).
What’s more, the backline has been breached just four times during their run to the last four of the Europa League.
Sevilla haven’t shipped a single goal in their last five games in all competitions and are unbeaten in their past 19. Carlos has been key in that regard.
He made the most clearances and headed clearances in La Liga in 2019-20, while he ranked joint-fifth for blocks.
Carlos only made 30 tackles but that’s largely down to the fact that so few attackers can get the better of him. Indeed, he was dribbled past just 11 times; Ramos, for example, was rounded 31 times last season.
Carlos is also renowned for his talent on the ball and he has created 14 chances in all competitions in 2019-20 – twice as many as Ramos. However, the current Sevilla star is nothing like as impressive in possession.
Carlos may have a respectable pass accuracy of 84.51 per cent but that’s below the likes of Ramos, Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet (all above 91%).
The contrast in quality becomes even more pronounced in the opposition half. Carlos is always very keen to play raking passes from deep but they often miss their intended target.
Indeed, his pass accuracy in the opposition half is just 68.77%, which is, on average, 20% below the likes of Lenglet, Ramos and Pique.
At 27, then, Carlos is not quite at the level of the game’s best ball-playing centre-halves. But he would clearly prove an ideal foil for such a defender at one of England’s top clubs. One could definitely see him thriving alongside Virgil van Dijk, for example.
Of course, Liverpool certainly wouldn’t be willing to meet Sevilla’s asking price but Chelsea, by contrast, have demonstrated a renewed willingness to splash the cash this summer and are in dire need of a physically dominant centre-half.
Arsenal have far less money to spend but they too need to strengthen their defence and it is no surprise that both London clubs have been strongly linked with Carlos in recent weeks.
Of course, eyebrows would still be raised if Mikel Arteta opted to spend a significant chunk of his limited transfer budget on a player who has never been capped at any level by Brazil and was considered nothing more than a solid centre-half by Ligue 1 followers during his three years at Nantes between 2016 and 2019.
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Still, despite his penchant for overly ambitious passes and occasionally ill-timed challenges, Carlos has undeniably been a colossus at the back for Sevilla this season.
An impressive showing against Manchester United’s fantastic attack would also go a long way towards expelling any lingering doubts over his quality.
And prove that Monchi really has reclaimed his title as the master of the transfer market.
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