With Sotirios Kyrgiakos joining Wolfsburg, Kenny Dalglish has wasted no time in recruiting a sizeable replacement. Sebastián Coates has joined Liverpool in a deal reportedly worth £7 million.
By joining compatriot Luis Suarez and turning down the riches of Manchester City, the 20-year-old former Nacional centre-back has instantly caught the attention of the Liverpool faithful. But, in South America, Coates has been a household name for many years.
During the summer's Copa America, the giant Uruguayan held off the challenge of Neymar and Joel Campbell to be awarded the Trophy Claro and be crowned Young Player of South America’s showpiece international tournament.
Coates also made history as part of the Uruguayan team that lifted its 15th Copa America, more than any other South American nation.
Coates joined Nacional at the age of 11 and debuted against Bella Vista in 2009. After playing a mere three months in the league and Copa Libertadores, the young starlet was named Uruguayan Championship Revelation of the Season.
Gargantuan exploits in el Clásico del fútbol Uruguayo against Peñarol have already earned him a place in club folklore.
Coates has eased onto the international scene and his assured performances for La Celeste Olympica have had many a scout beating a path down to Nacional.
In Diego Lugano and Diego Godin, the towering Coates has been tutored in the art of defending by two of the games great centre backs, whilst in comparison to the ex Nacional legend and his international captain, Coates has been bestowed the appropriate moniker “Luganito”, meaning Little Lugano.
Lugano has also singled out Coates as his “natural successor” in the Charruas defence. Coates team Nacional have maintained all along that only a “historic” bid allow them to release their jewel.
Despite a club record fee, Nacional will only receive 50% of the transfer fee as the 20 year old is owned by an investment group.
Coates is physically and technically suited to the rigours of the Barclays Premier League, and has the potential to join Nemanja Vidic and John Terry at the top of the pile.
His size will make him a threat and it would be interesting to watch the twin threat of Coates and Andy Carroll during set pieces. Coates is also very comfortable on the ball and will push up to support the midfield.
He is a good man marker as demonstrated during the Copa America – Uruguay leaked only two goals and Lugano and Coates easily shackled the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Humberto Suazo during their respective head to heads.
He is like a giant version of Sami Hyppia and Jamie Carragher, tenacious, dogged in the tackle and a “thou shall not pass” mentality. His distribution and upfield forays are better and he will be extremely fortunate in that he will have defensive mentor of the calibre of Carragher, Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger to help bring him on.
After completing his move to Anfield on Tuesday, Coates said: "Luis [Suarez] told me a lot about Liverpool - but about the fans more than anything else.
"He told me how passionate they are about the club and how supportive they are.
"Luis also told me about the history and the tradition of the club and now I feel very happy and excited to be here because I have left one great club in Nacional and signed for another great club with a fantastic history."
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