The decision to give Davinson Sanchez a new contract just a year after arriving showed without a shadow of a doubt how highly the 21-year old is rated by the club.
Spending a £42m on the defender clearly demonstrated the club knew the player had a massive future, but like many fans, I have been surprised by how quickly he has adapted during his first season.
For sure, there have been some poor displays, like the 3-1 home defeat to Manchester City, but the consistency the centre-half has shown during his first campaign in England has been quite remarkable.
His centre-back partner Jan Vertonghen had his own say on our no.6’s displays in a recent interview with the club:
“I still remember his debut, I think it was away at Everton, how well he did, how impressive he was. No doubt, no nerves, just like he started playing and he had the same level over the season and it was an unbelievable level.”
“It’s a big compliment to him. I came here when I was 25 and it was hard. He does it when he’s 21 and with only one season in Europe in his legs. He’s unbelievable and I’ve been very impressed with him.”
I think my excitement over Sanchez is not necessarily what I have seen from him already, but the potential for what may be to come. We conceded 36 goals in 38 league games last season, which was ten more than in the previous campaign, but you have to keep things in context as Vertonghen rightly points out.
Sanchez’s rise to prominence has been pretty meteoric. The defender was still playing football in his native Colombia for Atletico Nacional just two years ago. He helped Ajax to the Europa League final in his first season playing in Europe, and in his second helped us to a third-place finish.
With Toby Alderweireld’s injury problems and issues over his contract, it could have proven a much more difficult campaign if we hadn’t recruited the Colombian last summer.
There are clearly still deficiencies in his game. Positional awareness and concentration can certainly be still improved, but all the attributes are there. He possesses fantastic agility, he is capable on the ball and has some excellent defensive qualities.
It’s probably wise not to get too far ahead of ourselves. He has a good first season. We will now need to see if he can keep that up and improve during his second year and beyond. The £42m is certainly looking like money well spent though.