Diego Carlos: A man in demand but only 79p

When you think about top drawer centre backs it’s highly plausible that Diego Carlos doesn’t immediately spring to mind. He doesn’t get the same sort of headlines as a Kalidou Koulibaly, for example, but that could all change in the coming months as rumours of a £65m move gather pace. We aim to give you the inside track as we answer the question ‘who is Diego Carlos?’.

A stuttering start to life

Carlos, who was born in Barra Bonita, Sao Paulo, spent his youth career with America-SP up until the age of 17 when he moved to Desportivo Brasil – a club in the lower echelons of the Sao Paulo state pyramid. A number of loan spells around Brazil followed but Carlos failed to establish himself at senior level with any of the sides who took him.

Estoril, who had just finished fourth in Liga NOS under the tutelage of Marco Silva, offered Carlos a route to Europe on a free transfer.

Playing time in Portugal

When Estoril signed Carlos it was a move based solely on a belief that the Brazilian had untapped potential. He was immediately loaned to Porto where he would get his first run of sustained football albeit in their B team who were competing in the second tier.

It took a couple of months for Carlos to force his way into the team but after eventually getting a few games of 90 minutes under his belt it became clear that their thoughts regarding his potential were not wrong. The main thing that stood out in Carlos’ play was his ‘take no prisoners’ approach to protecting his goal. His performances earned him a chance with his parent club.

Estoril’s European adventure was well and truly in the rear-view mirror after they only managed to finish 12th in the 2014/15 campaign. Carlos didn’t mind. He was finally playing in the top tier, even if it wasn’t in one of the top five leagues. It was a huge moment for him particularly as their early season form had them knocking around the top end. They eventually fell away and finished in eighth with Carlos racking up 31 league appearances as a key figure at the heart of defence.

Stepping up

Carlos made such an impression in Liga NOS that Nantes bought him to France for a fee in the region of £1.2m. In three years in France, Carlos’ game improved with the centre back growing more at ease on the ball as Nantes flirted with European qualification in his first two years at the club. Unfortunately, they had to settle for top half finishes with his third and final year in France ending in a disappointing 12th place.

On an individual level though, Carlos had flourished in Ligue 1. He made 108 appearances across all competitions – scoring four goals – and even wore the captain’s armband on a few occasions. A move to bigger things was inevitable and last summer Sevilla came calling with an offer of £13.5m.

Since heading to La Liga, he’s become an essential part of Sevilla’s march towards Champions League football. He’s played in near on every minute of their league season so far with the side on course to set their best defensive return for several years. Across the prior four seasons, they’ve shipped on average 1.3 goals per game but that drops to sub 1 when you look at games where Carlos has played this season.

Style of play

As touched on, first and foremost, Carlos knows how to defend. He’ll put his body between the ball and goal at any cost and isn’t afraid of a little bit of physical contact. In fact, he loves it. He’s formidable in the air too having won 60.2% of his aerial duals this season but his concentration is where he really excels. That aids him with his tackling and an 89.7% success rate is testament to how hard he is to get the better of.

Don’t get confused though. Just because Carlos can defend, it doesn’t mean he can’t play. His overall passing stats give him an 82% completion but that’s dragged down somewhat by the occasional long ball he attempts to play. If you focus on the shorter passes, which is his preference, then he only misplaces 9.9% of them.

In terms of potential dividend returns, Carlos does offer some hope of a return. Over the last 18 months he’s scooped three top defender wins and two star player awards. With La Liga now back up and running there is potential further PB wins will follow.

What next for Diego Carlos?

Carlos insists he’s ‘happy’ at Sevilla but he has left the door open for a move by citing the fact he wants to achieve ‘success’ before moving on. Given Sevilla are seen as very much a Europa League team it might be that Champions League qualification is enough. That’s very realistic this term with the side currently in third.

With Real Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal and Liverpool all linked over the past few weeks it is highly likely that Carlos has his head turned. A move to any of those clubs will see his price of £0.79 boom.

So, now you know a bit more, is anyone ready to take a punt on Diego Carlos?

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