Should the Premier League take a punt on Fernando Gago?

Fernando Gago Valencia midfielder

It was always a surprise when Valencia swooped in to sign Fernando Gago from Real Madrid, wrapping the deal up along with the permanent signing of Sergio Canales (although don’t forget the buyback clause Real like to insert into their sales). The Argentine was never really what Los Che needed, and now, following a string of unimpressive performances, the club and player are looking to part ways.

It’s been six months since his signing from Real, but not a whole lot has happened. Gago isn’t an all-action defensive midfielder who  towers above all others in the middle of the pitch. He’s a good player, but his recent time in Spain at both clubs has left much to be desired.

You’ve got to admire him for pushing the boat out, but Gago fancies a move away from the Mestalla and to a bigger club. Well that may be difficult seeing as he hasn’t really put himself in the shop window. Wages may be one thing, although he’s certainly not a name that warrants a pay packet in or near the top earners at any giant in England, Spain or Italy. Again I’ll reiterate: he is a good player, but not one that would see Europe’s elite scramble for his signature.

The thing is he’d do incredibly well at a whole host of teams who might jump at the chance to sign him. Teams like Swansea would appear to be the perfect home. Unfortunately they don’t fall into what he is likely to view as a ‘big’ club.

The player was left out of Valencia’s last squad against Deportivo on the weekend and the club would ideally like to get this one wrapped up before the deadline on Thursday. Such is the situation with Gago and Valencia that the club would be willing to accept a low fee for the transfer, and that should prompt many in the Premier League to make enquiries.

Gago is a holding midfielder but one who reads the game well and is more likely to intercept opposition passes than out-muscle opponents. In fact, he’s not very strong at all. He’s certainly not the player big clubs would want as their protector ahead of the defence. If he’s supporting another stronger player we may see the best of him, but not as the only defensive midfielder in a team.

He has the passing range and vision, and he’s a player who will cover plenty of ground. But it’s his recent form that comes into question. Could he do a job at clubs like Arsenal or Tottenham? Maybe, provided he rediscovered the qualities that saw him make the move to Real Madrid in 2007. However, it’s also clear to see that the player is down on his confidence and makes noticeable mistakes with many aspects of his game, from simple passes to a lack of positional awareness.

The worry again would also be the lack of power he can offer from the centre of midfield, where Arsenal may be looking for a player in the mould of Mohamed Diame and Spurs likely to need a midfielder who can make similar contributions to that of Sandro.

The problem is the player himself and these reported demands. He wants the good life at a big club, but he may have to settle for what he gets. There will be an abundance of good clubs after him, but for now the ship may have sailed in terms of him challenging for league titles in the near future.

As mentioned, clubs like Swansea would do well to add Gago considering his age, 26, and the relatively low fee Valencia are looking for.

Ahead of the deadline this Thursday, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in England. However, I don’t expect to see him challenging for the title or major European honours between now and the end of the season. Even as an extra body and to add to a small squad, Gago may be a waste of time for some clubs. The player’s priority now should be to take regular first-team football, regardless of how prestigious his next destination is.


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