Santiago Ascacibar bid farewell to Estudiantes over two weeks ago when given a standing ovation at the end of the Copa Sudamericana victory over Nacional Potosí but when his apparently imminent transfer to Zenit St Petersburg fell through, the 20-year-old was left in limbo. The Russian club eventually opted for Matías Kranevitter but what may be their loss, could be VfB Stuttgart’s gain.
It is understood that the Bundesliga club have offered Estudiantes in the region of $8 million and with Ascacibar ready to make the next step in his career, a five-year deal is close to completion.
During a transfer window of wildly inflated prices, a deal for one of Argentina’s brightest midfield prospects represents tremendous value at anywhere close to the fee reported and would be a real coup for Stuttgart.
Since making his senior debut for Estudiantes at the start of 2016, Ascacibar has barely put a foot wrong and immediately established himself as one of the best ball winners in the Primera.
A tigerish presence in front of the defence, Ascacibar reads the game with a maturity beyond his years, is a superb tackler and an efficient passer. With an innate leadership that saw the youngster captain Argentina’s under-20s and feature for La Albiceleste’s Olympic side, it is clear to see why for many El Ruso is a natural successor to Javier Mascherano as number five for the national side.
For a league well used to players leaving for Europe prematurely, Ascacibar is one who has served his apprenticeship and is ready to test himself at the next level to aid his development.