To describe Nicolas Tagliafico as a ‘defender’ is like describing Jedward as ‘musicians’. It’s technically true, but not really.
This 5ft 8ins bundle of irrepressible energy takes being a modern day full-back to a whole new level, to the point where you’re more likely to see him popping up with goals in the opposition box than you are making last ditch challenges in his own.
And, true to form, Ajax’s Argentine steam train has already got himself on the scoresheet five times this season, the most recent strike a clever volley in Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of arch rivals Feyenoord.
Tagliafico is just one away from matching his 2018/19 tally of six, in 29 fewer games no less.
Just to put it in perspective, the 27-year-old has found the back of the net more often this season than Nicolas Pepe, the £72 million forward he could have joined at Arsenal this summer – if he wasn’t so keen to stick around and lift more trophies in Amsterdam that is.
The Sun (25 March, page 51) reported that The Gunners were eyeing a £15 million deal for Tagliafico, having been blown away by his barnstorming performances as Ajax raced to the Champions League semi-finals, stunning Bayern Munich, Juventus and Real Madrid along the way.
Arsenal did end the summer with Kieran Tierney on board and he has the potential to be their finest left back since Ashley Cole was patrolling the flanks at Highbury.
But with Unai Emery more over-reliant than ever on Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s ability to produce something out of nothing, Tagliafico’s eye for a goal could have come in handy.
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