Morning Editorial: Davinson Sanchez Has The Tools To Excel In English Fooball
Tottenham are closing in on their first signing of the transfer window after they agreed a club record fee of up to £42m with Ajax for centre-half Davinson Sánchez, with the Colombia defender now expected to compete his move in the coming days. Mauricio Pochettino made the 21-year-old his primary defensive target after an impressive debut season in European football in which Ajax reached the Europa League final, when they were beaten by Manchester United.
Tottenham officials travelled to Amsterdam on Monday in an attempt to thrash out a deal, with the Dutch side initially adamant that they would not sell for less than €50m. A first bid worth an initial £25m was rejected but a new offer that will see Spurs pay £28m up front with up to £14m in performance-related bonuses has been agreed in principle. So what will the north London side be getting in Sanchez? Above all, he is a very aggressive defender that enjoys playing on the front foot. His interception and aerial duel statistics are extremely impressive, but his style also leaves him prone to positional errors and last ditch defending.
Even though Sanchez’s comfort levels on the ball improved throughout the 2016-17 season, it’s worth noting that Jose Mourinho specifically chose to target him in the Europa League final due to his uncertainty in possession. Manchester United would press high in midfield and on his centre back partner Matthias de Ligt, but sit off the Colombian and force him to break the lines – which he couldn’t do. Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld are already so assured with the ball at their feet so learning from them might be hugely beneficial.
Players (and defenders in particular) who combine aggressiveness, speed and forward passing are difficult to find. That’s why it shouldn’t surprise that after just one full season in Europe, vultures are circling the skies of Amsterdam, hoping to take Sanchez off Ajax’s hands. But if Sanchez were to opt for a move to either, he’d been doing the opposite of what he did last summer: prioritising football. He’s good, but he’s not breaking up the central-defensive partnerships already in place at Spurs or Barcelona, however, his raw abilities could see him flourish in English football.