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What if Valencia had retained their best players in the Last Decade?

Rohith Nair
FEATURED COLUMNIST
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29.17K   //    Timeless

Centre-Backs

Valencia CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga
Nicolas Otamendi spent a year at Valencia before he was sold

If Valencia had the resources and the status, Nicolas Otamendi would probably have stayed on at the Mestalla. Signed from Porto for €12m, he was initially loaned out to Atletico Mineiro before he started the 2014/15 season with Los Che.

What made Otamendi special was the fact that he was not just a defender. He was a goalscoring centre-back who was a veritable threat in the opponents' box. In one season at Valencia, he scored six goals - the first defender in the history of the club to do so.

Otamendi duly made the La Liga team of the year that season and Manchester City soon came knocking on Valencia's door with a £28.5m bid convincing them to let the Argentinian move to the Premier League.

German defender Shkodran Mustafi has, surprisingly, never played senior football for a German club. His potential was sighted early and he had been snapped up by Everton first before moving to Sampdoria who soon sold him to Valencia in 2014.

FC Barcelona v Valencia CF - La Liga
FC Barcelona v Valencia CF - La Liga

A member of the 2014 World Cup winning squad, Mustafi soon became the leader at the back for Valencia and was a tough defender to beat in the air. Although he was prone to conceding fouls, he was young at the time and was still on a learning curve.

In a summer where Valencia sold £100m of talent, Mustafi was snapped up by Arsenal in 2016 for a fee in the region of £35m.

Substitute: Victor Ruiz

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