Swansea City have completed the £11 million signing of Las Palmas holding midfielder Roque Mesa, as reported on the club’s official website. The news comes after the 28-year-old enjoyed the finest season of his career which saw him named as one of the best performers in La Liga in 2016-17.
Likened in style to the likes of Luka Modric, Xavi and Joe Allen, Swansea fans will be licking their lips at the prospect of their own Spanish midfield maestro. With a unique old fashioned style of moustache and tucked in shirt, he is bound to be one to keep an eye out for in the Premier League next season.
Only Steven N’Zonzi completed more passes in La Liga last season and Mesa came only three short of Xavi’s record of 125 completed passes in one La Liga game last season. His vision and footwork mean that he can often pick out passes that no-one else on the field could even imagine, let alone anticipate.
Mesa is also defensively strong. Whilst not his forte, he is capable of breaking up play in front of a back four and will certainly put his foot in, as he picked up 14 yellow cards last season alone. Swans fans can expect him to line-up, like Allen previously, in a more liberated role from deep, functioning as more of a playmaker than an N’Golo Kante style destroyer.
However, the news of an imminent move to England was met with doubt by many Spanish football experts and fans. For the player, the move undoubtedly makes sense. Whilst it will mean leaving his homeland on the party islands for the south of Wales, he is likely to see his wages increase astronomically and have a shot at football in a new and challenging environment.
Having failed to miss out on a call-up to the Spanish national team as many had suggested he could be in contention for, he may well have felt that he had nothing to lose.
Mesa is very a good player, but he lacks the physicality, height, strength and pace that many claim are crucial to adapt to the Premier League. His technical abilities are above and beyond the required standard, but some fear that he will not be given the opportunity to show that. With less time on the ball, he may not be able to show off his best skills and range of passing.
That said, the 28-year-old is a player of extreme quality. Having been linked with Sevilla and Roma, according to The Sun, and often labelled one of the best players outside of Madrid or Barcelona, it is a huge coup for the Swans.
Some have immediately drawn comparisons with last season’s star signing in Borja Baston, who disappointed and has now returned to Spain with Malaga on loan, but that is unfair. Mesa is a player with greater quality, experience and work ethic and will give his all to succeed in the Premier League. Whether his quality alone is enough to do that, only time will tell.
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