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Villarreal linked to Serie A defenders

Does Italy contain the defender Villarreal need?

AC Milan v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Calciomercato has mentioned Roma defender Federico Fazio and Mateo Musacchio of AC Milan as options for the Villarreal CB situation. We have of course seen Mateo here before, and neither of these links are especially strong yet, but is either defender the one we need?

Cards on the table, with each passing day I get a little less picky about CB depth, but let’s compare these players. Fazio is 33 years old, Musacchio is 29. Right away that makes me prefer a Musacchio return if those are the only options. But who is the better player?

First thing I did was grab some a radar of data comparing the last two seasons in Serie A:

Frankly, Fazio is a much more well rounded defender. If you isolate his numbers to only 2019-2020, they decline a bit, but he does a wider array of things at a better level than Mateo at this point. That’s not to say either of them are especially good. I hold the position that La Liga is a much tougher league than Serie A and I just don’t think either of these guys really need a step up in level at this point in their careers.

I ran quick searches on both guys though I will save you all the graphics. It’s worth noting that Mateo is primarily a RCB and Fazio is primarily a LCB, and with Albiol’s age I think we need an RCB worse, in my opinion. Neither of their ball retention scores by smarterscout’s metrics were particularly special, but Musacchio in the last few seasons is well above average in that metric and Fabio was below average last season and has never been especially strong in that area. A CB who loses the ball a lot is dangerous.

Smarterscout has earmarked Fazio as a ‘high performer’ for a La Liga standard, which is fine but I think I don’t think he’s as good a fit for what Villarreal need at this point. If we have to take one or the other, I want the younger man who knows the club better and plays on the side of the CB pairing we need worse.

I’m getting less picky all the time, but I don’t particularly want either option. If these links are genuinely the type of CBs we are looking at, I think it signals the idea that Villarreal wants to be shrewd and ambitious for this coming season without spending a ton of money. I have some thoughts and opinions on that as well, but that’s probably its own article topic.