Whilst the 25-year-old Argentine would be a fantastic addition for the Saints if they can get him, I’m surprised a number of other teams, especially the top six, aren’t interested in Banega.
The midfielder arrived at Valencia from Boca Juniors in his native Argentina back in 2008 – he was part of the team that won the Copa del Rey that same year alongside the likes of David Silva, Juan Mata and David Villa.
Silva and Mata, of course, moved to the Premier League to Manchester City and Chelsea respectively and David Villa remained in Spain but moved on to join champions Barcelona. Benega remained at the Mestalla where he has developed to become one of the most technically skilled and effective central midfielders in the Spanish top tier.
He’s valued around £16 million at present which, considering his former teammates at Valencia have moved on for close to double that in recent years, makes him quite a bargain.
He’s not the kind of attacking midfielder who nets huge amounts of goals and assists like Mata, he’s more of the central midfield architect of attacking play, like Silva. He spent a season on loan at Atletico Madrid, interestingly, in 2008/09, when Sergio Ageuro was still in the Spanish capital. He featured alongside the likes of Diego Forlan, Simao, Maxi Rodriguez and a young Ignacio Camacho.
In many ways Banega’s CV reads like a who’s who of Spanish football but, it seems, whilst many of his teammates have moved on to glory elsewhere, Banega has been waiting patiently in the wings at Valencia for his big chance to make a big break.
With all due respect to Southampton who, if they sign him, will have found themselves a real gem from La Liga, I’m surprised the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool aren’t looking at Ever Banega.
He’s exactly the kind of player Arsene Wenger adores at Arsenal – technically outstanding, a great attitude and work ethic and, in many ways, a similar player to former captain Cesc Fabregas.
For the same reason, and especially given the high number of Spanish stars Liverpool have brought in for the last decade, I’m surprised Brendan Rodgers hasn’t made more efforts to bring him to Anfield. He could link up with the likes of Coutinho and Joe Allen in midfield to great effect.
Andre Villas-Boas is keen to bring in more creativity to his midfield with the likes of Tom Huddleston and possibly Scott Parker going out this summer – I’m surprised he’s not considered Banega as a genuine replacement for Luka Modric. The prospect of him playing alongside Gareth Bale, Sandro, Paulinho and Lewis Holtby is, again, a tantalizing prospect.
If Pochettino brings Ever Banega to Southampton as he has confirmed is his intention, the Saints will have one of the most gifted midfielders in La Liga on their books and, I suspect, the mouth-watering prospect of which will be the envy of the Premier League.
image: © unoodostoques