Dozens of players move domestically or even abroad throughout a transfer window. Many of them aren’t that interesting. This transfer is the exception to that rule. Swansea were in the need of a ball distributor and found the perfect one in Roque Mesa. “The Swans” have done some exquisite work, because the Spanish mastermind was bought for just €12.500.000 from Las Palmas, nicknamed “The Chickens”. Atletico Madrid were also eyeing the midfielder and even offered more money, but Mesa refused the move*.
*Atletico were handed out a two-window transfer ban, meaning that new players could be bought, but not registered. “Los Rojiblanco” can register new players in January 2018 – Mesa didn’t want to wait this out. Las Palmas didn’t mind and their honest communication has given them something in return. Atletico bought Vitolo from Sevilla today (12-7) and immediately loaned him out to Las Palmas for six months.
This article will contain a player profile from the little big men. Roque Mesa, leaving The Chickens for The Swans.
Hopefully, Mesa won’t feel homesick in Wales. The 28-year old has played for five clubs in his career. Four of them were on the Canary Island, where the midfielder was born in 1989. His only team off the Canary Island was with Atletico Baleares in 2012-13. He is an unexperienced 28-year old though. Mesa has played just played 69 games on the highest competition of a country. And all those matches came in the last two campaigns with Las Palmas. The combination of his lacking experience and age has made several clubs weary to purchase him. That’s the only reason that Swansea were able to buy Mesa, because a player with his qualities in normal circumstances would play for an better team. This doesn’t make his move less interesting. Such a small, technically gifted player in the Premier League will be an mouth-watering sight.
Especially his passing has been exceptionally good. Only Koke (2519) and N’Zonzi (2794) had more passes than Roque Mesa (2479). Latter did have the highest passing accuracy of them with 91%. Another staggering statistic which speaks for the 1.71m tall midfielder: Since the start of 2015/16, Roque Mesa has recovered possession more times than any other outfield player in La Liga. The Spaniard can play both as a defensive midfielder, but also as a central midfielder. Las Palmas played good, very aesthetically pleasing football in a competitive league and Mesa was singlehandedly responsible for this. His vision and positional awareness is right up there with world class midfielders such as Thiago, Özil and Verratti. Players who all “feel the situation” perfectly.
Defensively, he does make some errors from time to time. He is technical gifted but rather small. He compensates this by using his brain to the fullest, but being smart doesn’t help you out every time. Just six other midfielders made more fouls than Mesa (58). He also received 14 yellow cards in La Liga previous season. Only Camacho (15) and Amorebieta (17) picked up more yellows.
A lock on the door is a necessity in the Premier League, something he can do, but some support wouldn’t hurt. Therefore, I think that Swansea will play in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Putting him next to a strong defensive midfielder while he is responsible for the football from behind. Swansea would benefit from the “quarterback approach”. The quarterback in American Football is the vital player in attack and his team-mates will do everything in their power to protect him. Swansea manager Paul Clement should build his team around Mesa. Those others around him should give him the space to distribute the ball.
Swansea ended up fifteenth last campaign, do you think that they can do better?
Next to his qualities as footballer, Mesa is also an unique character. Especially his 1920s moustache stands out: “it’s a small promise with my wife because I told her I wouldn’t shave my moustache until I get called up by the Spanish national team”. Well, buy your razer Roque, because it’s a matter of time.