Name: Davinson Sanchez
Position: Centre back
Born in Caloto, Colombia on the 12th June 1996, Sanchez has risen to prominence in a short space of time. He has only been in Europe for a year and started off at professional Colombian side Atletico Nacional in 2013, where he stayed until Ajax signed him last summer. Sanchez made 26 league appearances for the Colombian side, and scored his first goal in the Copa Libertadores in March 2016, a 3-0 win against Sporting Cristal.
Such were his impressive performances, and obvious potential, Barcelona came knocking on the door last summer, looking to add Sanchez to their B side where he would develop before being integrated into the first team. However, Sanchez saw Ajax as the best club for him to develop and receive regular minutes. He joined the Dutch club for €5 million in June 2016, signing a contract until 2021.
He has had a wonderful first year in Holland, helping the club to reach the Europa League final, where they lost out to Manchester United. He scored an impressive six goals in 32 league games for the club last season. Sanchez has played for the full national Colombian side on two occasions, and that number will only increase.
What’s all the fuss about?
Sanchez is a monster of a centre back. He is one of the quickest defenders in world football and is exceptional at tracking back for the recovery tackle. He may be 6’2″, which doesn’t make him the biggest centre half, however his strength and presence sees him dominate strikers in the air, and on the ground. However, you would be mistaken for thinking Sanchez is all brawn and no brain.
Although Sanchez’s positioning can be suspect, and often have to rely on his pace and superb tackling to recover from his mistake, he reads the game well and is still only 21. He will undoubtedly improve in this area, especially if he joins Spurs and learns from Mauricio Pochettino and fellow centre half’s Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. If he can improve in this area, he could become one of the best central defenders in world football.
To play for Ajax, you must be comfortable on the ball and Sanchez has greatly improved in this area as the season has gone on. He now regularly plays accurate, long balls into his forwards’ paths and is comfortable to receive the ball at the back. If there is no option to pass, he is more than happy to dribble his way out of defence, powering his way past the opposition. The Colombian international is also a very handy goal threat. He has good technique when striking the ball and can lash one home from outside the box. Due to his presence, he is also effective when crosses are being played into the box, scoring numerous goals from set pieces for Ajax last season.
Where would he fit in?
Sanchez would add wonderful depth to a squad currently lacking in it. Spurs have had the best defence in the league for the past two seasons and signing someone as good as Sanchez would only improve that. He would be perfect as the wide, right centre back in a back three, where he will have extra cover, and can rotate with Eric Dier in that position, allowing him time to settle into English football.
It is a big step up to go from the Eredivisie to the Premier League and due to his age, that settling in period will be crucial for his development. His signing will also mean Eric Dier can play more in his favoured central midfield position where he can then rotate with Victor Wanyama. The signing of Sanchez then would not only increase the depth and quality in defence, but also in midfield. The 21-year-old has also shown he can play in a back four, meaning Pochettino could switch between his two favourite set ups of 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-2-1 and still include Sanchez in both sides.
Spurs also struggled against sides who pressed them high and looked to take advantage of the space in behind their defence last season. With them now playing their home games at Wembley, a bigger pitch than White Hart Lane, that problem will only increase. Having the pace and ability of Sanchez to make those recovery runs on the rare occasions the opposition do get behind their backline could prove crucial for Spurs. It will take a lot of money to bring Sanchez in, upwards of £35 million is being discussed. However, with his quality and potential, it would be a wonderful capture for Spurs.
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