FC Barcelona are once more on the hunt for young South American talents to reinforce their squad, and their latest option is Fabricio Díaz. The 20-year old pivot has a lot of qualities that a club like Barça would rate highly.
Díaz currently plays for Liverpool FC Montevideo, in the Uruguayan capital. He was captain of the Uruguay side for the recent South American U-20 Championship, leading them to the final against Vitor Roque’s Brazil. He had a great tournament, scoring five times and dishing out two assists.
His club have determined a transfer value of €6 million for him, a number that in this day and age is very affordable. Barcelona offered €5 million before the tournament, indicating a clear interest in his services, and an increase of a mere €1 million is certainly possible.
Díaz has experience playing in a 4-3-3, and although Xavi Hernandez’s tactics recently have gone away from that formation, it’s still one Barcelona are known for using. He usually plays as a lone pivot, showing off good defensive instincts and a talent for recovering balls. Toughness, positioning, and tackling are some of his strengths.
He’s also quite good going forward, exhibiting passing skill and cleverness when it comes to finding spaces in the defense. His through balls have impressed on more than one occasion, and he’s shown recently that he has an eye for goal and isn’t afraid to try a shot from distance.
If Barcelona are to acquire him, they’ll have to act fast, as there is renewed interest in Díaz from Brazil. Flamengo and Palmeiras are both rumored to be interested in Díaz, likely offering him a starting role, something which Barça won’t. However, Barça offer a chance to play on the biggest stages of European football, a fact that Fabricio Díaz must be taking into account.
As far as fit within the team, I see Díaz occupying a similar role as Frenkie de Jong, a box-to-box midfielder that works hard defensively, loves carrying the ball forward with the dribble, and possesses passing vision. While he does play as a pivot, it’s unclear at this point whether he can be a replacement for Sergio Busquets (but, to be fair, it seems extremely difficult to find someone with Busquets’s profile).
For €6 million, he’s certainly worth pursuing for Barça. Time will tell if these rumors will materialize into something real, but Fabricio Díaz has a lot of potential.