Two things came straight to my mind once hearing today that Marcos Rojo has officially been signed by Manchester United:
1. Good, we need defenders.
2. Good that it’s over with.
My next thought was, now what, who’s next?
Rojo is a nice signing. He really is. He is listed as a player that can play multiple positions, centre-back and left back more specifically. But, with his playing style and statistically, Rojo should only play left back. Which is ok, because in the Louis Van Gaal 3-5-2 system, Rojo can play the left wing back and be very successful. He’s fast. How fast? FIFA stats at the World Cup clocked him to be faster then Arjen Robben in the semi-final showdown.
However, the Argentinian, likes to play his game after former United defender and fellow Argentinian, Gabriel Heinze. When both players decide to make a move on a tackle, there is no holding them back. Like Heinze, Rojo is a cold-blooded defender, who loves for to tangle up with attackers. Last season with Sporting, Rojo received 8 cautions and was send off twice.
With his limitations, Van Gaal can only plug him into a place where he can be successful, and not count on him anywhere on defence. Which for Rojo, that spot is left wing back. That still leaves a empty spot at central defence. Mehdi Benatia would be a good grab to go along with Rojo. The midfield also needs help. Angel DiMaria? Arturo Vidal? Somebody else? Manchester United wasn’t one player away from being a complete team. And certainty, if they were, that missing link wasn’t of a player of Rojo’s calibre.
What he will bring to the club is be a hard worker. A player who loves to be part of the play and someone who loves the dramatic. Football is a passion sport, and Rojo’s passion for the game and success is at a elite level. As a defender, he scored the lone goal for his club in the 2010 Recopa Sudamericana Final, and also his first international goal came at the World Cup, against Nigeria. He’s a player that the bigger the stage, the better he plays and there is no stage quite like Old Trafford.
He was one of the best players for the World Cup runner-up Argentina, in which he started 7 of 8 matches. The one he missed was due to yellow card accumulation. A 80% passer, a high number for a World Cup, and especially for a player who passed for roughly 120 long balls in the tournament. But the most impressive part of Rojo’s game was his discipline, which will be very important once he joins Manchester United. Rojo is coming on the cheap, compared to others who were rumored, but cheap or not, he won’t be helping out much sitting in the suit and not playing.
Rojo was successful on 17 of his 27 tackles at the World Cup. A 63% success rate. He also won eight of 14 aerial battles, a 57% rate, which is pretty good. The key, his discipline, is, he only committed 7 fouls. He was kept in check and realized his teammates needed him on the pitch more often then not. He didn’t change the style of his game, but played a smarter game. And was very effective doing so.
While United will put a different spin on the signing, however the reality of signing Rojo is that he wasn’t their top choice. Many rumored players over the past several weeks have come up empty, such as Thomas Vermaelen who took less money from Barcelona, and the ongoing rumors of Mats Hummels possibly signing should be put to rest as well, if they haven’t already. Hummels isn’t coming.
But that is also what makes Rojo so special. He understands the situation and he knows theres a uphill battle. But he wants in, he’s excited and he wants to fight with the Red Devils. That kind of attitude is not-coachable. He has the desire to be part of the Manchester United solution. A dream come true, as Rojo said.