Despite the fact that Valencia have been looking far from their best during the last few years, or even last decade, club captain Carlos Soler is still managing to stand out with his consistently solid performances, earning himself an important spot within the plans of Spain national coach Luis Enrique.
Not only that, the 25-year-old has attracted the interest of many European giants that are interested to land him, especially with him having only one year left in his contract with the La Liga side. Taking into account Valencia’s financial situation, the latter club might be open to sell its club academy product, so they avoid losing him for free next year.
In this case, the Spanish club should already be shortlisting some potential replacements for the Spain international. Our pick for Valencia would be Fiorentina’s midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura, who was about to play under the lead of Gennaro Gattuso in the past should “Rino” haven’t parted ways with La Viola.
Bonaventura can be a good low-cost replacement for Soler in that advanced left central midfielder role. The former Italy international’s ability to register a good amount of goal contributions per season is one the main factors that privileges him in our case study. Acquiring Cavani is great, but losing Soler and Guedes’ G/A could leave a huge gap that would definitely need to be filled.
As is the case for Soler, Giacomo has both the capacity of scoring either from long shots or advancing to the box, while also being creative feeding his mates with enough final third passes. This can be highlighted by his 4 goals, 9 assists in 2511 mins of Serie A and Coppa Italia last term, plus 0.09 xA and 1.15 key passes per 90 during the last year.
Off-ball, and despite his old age, the veteran central midfielder still works as hard as Soler in terms of pressing, or even more, exactly like Gattuso wants his mids to perform, averaging 5.57 pressures in the final third ranking in the 95th percentile.
Carlos Soler’s specialty in set-pieces could be missed, but still, Giacomo is a good corner-kick taker for example, and has all that it takes to fill this void as well, thanks to his crossing quality. In fact, what could be missed is Soler’s physical strength compared to Bonaventura’s. If that could decrease the team’s chances to win the midfield battle, lining him up with the club’s newest arrival and physically gifted Nico Gonzalez might balance things for Los Che.
On the other hand, the 33-year-old has some additional things to offer, things which his Spanish counterpart doesn’t necessarily excel in, like dribbling and ball progression, highlighted by his 1.11 successful dribbles per 90 (65.9% success percentage), 251.18 yards as total carrying distance, 136.97 progressive carrying distance, 7.22 progressive carries, 2.67 carries into final third and 0.95 carries into penalty area, all per 90, which see him rank in the 81th, 84th, 94th 96th and 99th percentile respectively.
With that being said, there might be many better and especially younger options than Bonaventura in the market, but taking a look into Valencia’s financial situation, the Italian midfield might be the way to go for them. With his 3M market value – according to Transfermarkt – La Viola’s requests would be more than affordable should they get open for selling such a valuable asset in Giacomo Bonaventura.
By: Karim Bouchaia / @BotolaScouting
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Quality Sport Images / Getty Images