Despite the ongoing tug of war over Jesus--the one between Roma and Inter, not God and the Devil--the club is one step closer to securing a new, versatile central defender, Real's 26-year-old Spaniard, Nacho Fernandez. After several days of speculation, the clubs have reportedly hammered out a loan deal, and are only waiting for Nacho's blessing, though that is considered imminent.
As far as the details are concerned, most media outlets are pointing towards an initial €2 million loan, with a possible option to buy, though that has not been verified. Considering that Nacho is Madrid born and raised, knowing no other club besides Real, that's not surprising. However, given the Galacticos bottomless checkbook, it's no safe bet he'll ever earn starters minutes with the club of his birth no matter how well he performs for Roma.
We discussed the ins and outs of Nacho last week, but here's the gist:
Quite honestly, if we're looking for a buy low, breakout candidate, Nacho seems a prime suspect. This past season, the first in which he eclipsed 1,000 league minutes, Nacho completed nearly 90% of his passes while averaging more than two interceptions and clearances per match. In fact, his 6.91 defensive actions per 90 minutes was good for fourth on the squad last year. Maintaining that level of accuracy and activity without the benefit of consistent playing time speaks to his focus and ability to rise to the occasion.
Nacho provides the added luxury of being able to play anywhere on the backline, something Spalletti spoke to at a press conference today, though not in direct relation to Nacho.
Also in consideration of what the club can afford for now. We want top quality players, we're looking to bring in the best players possible.
We need a minimum of two defenders, we need versatile players. A left-footed player can play on the right, but it's more difficult the other way. [Antonio] Rüdiger made us comfortable last year with his versatility
While Nacho doesn't address the left-footed part of that equation, he's certainly versatile and he's definitely affordable, and his addition doesn't necessarily preclude a Juan Jesus signing either. Considering their combined versatility and cost, Nacho and Jesus seem like Roma's most likely additions at this point.
I am not the most fervent follower of La Liga, but I've certainly become sold on the merits of Nacho Fernandez. While he's not exactly a spring chicken, he hasn't racked up a ton of miles over the years and last season, his first taste of semi-serious minutes, was actually quite encouraging.
I can end this with a litany of Nacho puns, but I'll take the high road--this could be the perfect confluence of player, timing and opportunity. Worst case scenario, Nacho repeats last season's performance and provides Roma with a steady third option at the back, but the best case could see Roma unearthing a diamond.