The right-back situation seemed healthy at the start of the season. In the books we have Mario, Pena and Juan Foyth. Foyth was originally purchased primarily as a CB. Emery was keenly aware that he could play right back but the plan was CB. As it turns out, Foyth has shown his versatility playing CDM, CB and mainly Rb this season.
It’s painful to talk about Juan Foyth before Mario. Unfortunately for Mario, Foyth has been the best player this season. Last season Samu couldn’t defend himself and Mario was vulnerable. With Foyth Samu was in better shape. This season it was safer with Pino for Mario. When he was forced out, an injured Foyth intervened.
At the start of the season, many of you remarked “it’s not the 80s” when I pointed out that the role of a defender is to stay at the back. I find it ironic that you all now prefer Foyth and yet the defender of the 80s that he is. A fierce defender who isn’t afraid to get stuck in a gap very rarely across the halfway line. The photo of him in the Europa League with blood all over his face is as close to the 1980s as it gets.
When pushing forward, he surprises the opponent and is very efficient. Like Pau Torres, he has a great pass on him and is very confident on the ball. He’s Villarreal’s priority signing at 15million, but the plan is to hopefully reduce that. The club won’t want to make the same mistake as with Zambo and miss out. Once signed, I expect him to be our right-back. His injuries are a bit of concern, but he could still recover.
Villarreal’s loyal servant at the back Mario Gaspar has been ubiquitous this season. A few wobbly appearances that always seem to happen when we have a new manager. Once he has the confidence of his new manager, he settles down. Always more than happy to bomb the wings and he gets along very well with Gérard. This is not always recognized in the field by experts. Pino’s emergence this season has kept him moving forward. Yemi is a very solid defender which means less pressure on Mario and he can move forward. His crossing is still as impressive as ever although he should really work his shot to get Emery’s full confidence. If we sign Foyth, I think Mario’s playing time will be reduced. Age is starting to take its toll, but it is far from decrepit.
I am very sorry for Ruben Pena. He has been a very loyal servant of the club over the years. It was reported that he was told he could find another club. I am not sure that will be the case. Versatility is appreciated by Emery. He never really established that right-back position like his. What was interesting this season was that I suspected he was tired of playing with injuries. We started playing him on the right wing this season and to be honest he was impressive there, if not better than RB. Nice assists and a breathtaking goal. It looks like we have too many right-wingers and our right-backs will now stay at the back, so I guess it’s time for him to move on (Sigh) Being 30 isn’t a big deal either. good thing for a player who counts to the beat
As long as we sign Foyth, I can’t see us replacing Pena if he chooses to leave. Despite having participated in two competitions. Mario is consistent enough to intervene if Foyth is injured. Foyth has his injuries, so I think Mario will have a lot of playing time. It’s possible that Funes Mori will come out 3rd right rear choice who knows. That being said, I can’t see us splashing the money but I could be wrong. There was a rumor of our interest in Emerson Royal of Betis but it seems to have subsided now