32. Davinson Sánchez
Hailing from Colombia, Davinson Sánchez has already established himself as one of the top young centre backs in Europe. Still very raw, Davinson has come up extremely quickly in the footballing world, and is set for a great career. After breaking through Nacional at a very young age (almost 4 years ago, aged 17), Davinson’s rise has been commendable. His performances for Nacional saw him scouted by various European clubs, and he ended up with two big offers from Ajax and Barcelona. He took the former option as Ajax are known to be an excellent gateway for South American talent, and did not fancy playing at Barcelona B. At 5m euros, Davinson is turning out to be a steal.
A centre back with huge potential, Davinson Sánchez has now attracted the interest of some of the biggest clubs around Europe, with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Tottenham and Chelsea now rumoured to be looking at the young Colombian. Davinson Sánchez has been a revelation in his first season at Ajax, which speaks volumes of not only his ball playing ability, but his readiness to make the step up to the next level. He slotted into Peter Bosz’s totaal voetbal system at Ajax with ease, already establishing himself as one of the best defenders in the Eredivisie.
Sánchez has all the physical and technical attributes – strong in the air, quick to cover spaces and distances, comfortable with his ball at the feet – to become a complete centre back. He has led from the back impressively – even making it easy for fellow top centre back prospect, 17 year-old Mathijs De Ligt, to slot into the Ajax side without much problem. The two formed an exciting pairing at the back and became a strong foundation for Ajax’s footballing philosophy, both being comfortable to play in a high line with minimum protection. Davinson’s football education at Ajax will serve him well in his career – he is the sort of defender that can play in almost any system.
Whilst Davinson’s talent is exciting, like every young centre back, he can make mistakes due to sometimes being overzealous in trying to immediately win the ball back. He is also sometimes too confident on the ball due to his ability on it, but the raw, natural defending ability is certainly there. Davinson’s ability was very recognized by the Ajacieden, who voted him player of the season for his performances in 16/17.
It is no surprise that some of the more lavish European clubs are already looking at him to make that next step up. Tottenham seem to be the most interested – which might be a good option for Davinson as Tottenham already have some top ex-Ajax talents in Erikson, Vertonghen and Alderweireld. Davinson must pick his next destination carefully if he is to continue his meteoric rise in European football.
By: Thomas Anderson/@andoculture