According to various reports from Argentina, Villarreal have acquired the player they hope will be the next Rodri, if not Bruno: 21 year-old Santiago (Santy) Cáceres from Vélez Sarsfield (Argentina).
He’s only been a regular for them for a season but was chosen their player of the year for 2017, and his market value has gone from virtually nothing to €6m in a year according to transfermarkt.
Argentine fans see him as a possible/probable successor to Carlos Mascherano in the national team, which suggests he’s more of a tough-tackling midfielder, though he’s also been described as a Xabi Alonso-type deep playmaker as well.
I have not been able to find footage of him in action yet, but I did find a fairly comprehensive statistical analysis of his work so far this season (23 matches). From the stats he seems to be a good tackler and calm presence on the ball, and someone who will provide some bite in midfield. (Here, by comparison, is Rodri’s rating from the same website, based on last year’s performances for Villarreal—rather similar).
Interesting too that Atleti were taking a hard look at acquiring him themselves until Rodri’s emergence, and, like Rodri, Santy had recently increased his contract buyout so as to make sure Velez got a reasonable return on him (one report says we’ve been talking to Velez about him since January).
The exact terms of the deal aren’t quite clear—I have seen reports that we are paying roughly €10m, and that we are paying US $10m (which would be more like €8.5m). It does appear Velez will get 10% of his transfer fee if we sell him on at some point. Everyone is agreed he is signing a four-year deal with us. The most detailed data I have seen claim we are paying €9m and his new contract will have a €30m release clause; make of that what you will, since we usually don’t disclose that sort of thing.
Welcome, Santy!! We are excited to see you in yellow!!!