While all eyes have been on Ezequiel Barco’s future, Independiente look set for their first high-profile departure since lifting the Copa Sudamericana with captain Nicolas Tagliafico poised to sign for Dutch giants Ajax.
Interest in the defender has only intensified since the victory over Flamengo and on Thursday it is understood that Ajax reached an agreement with Independiente. The Eredivisie club had one offer rejected last week but are now thought to have satisfied El Rojo with a fee around $6 million.
Real Betis had entered the race days earlier which also failed to meet Independiente’s valuation but with Tagliafico’s relatively small release clause and the club having promised the defender that he could leave if it was met, it was only a matter of time.
Despite sealing a place in the 2018 Copa Libertadores, Tagliafico desired a move to Europe and at 25 has done more than enough to deserve that. The Banfield academy product has established himself as one of the best defenders in Argentina since returning from a brief spell in Spain with Real Murcia and later signing for Independiente in 2015.
An outstanding leader and versatile defender who can play at either left-back or centrally, Tagliafico has been vital to Independiente’s resurgence.
Tagliafico will be hoping there he can force his way into Jorge Sampaoli’s World Cup plans after catching the eye in the Estadio Libertadores de América. With his indefatigable running, decent burst of speed, strong tackling and heading, the 25-year-old is an ideal left-back option but has shown the leadership and organisational qualities to move inside and start centrally.
¡Nos ganaron de mano! 😂
Emanuel Britez jugará en #Independiente.
— C. A. Independiente (@Independiente) December 28, 2017