Inter Milan defender Walter Samuel has been linked with a move to a number of Premier League clubs recently – would he be a good signing?
The Argentinian has been in MIlan since 2005, but he is now angling for a move to Arsenal, Tottenham or Chelsea, according to a report in The Daily Mail.
Samuel’s contract is approaching its end and his wage demands are apparently proving to be a stumbling block in negotiations over a new deal.
“Ideally Walter would like to come to London but he will listen to all offers,” his agent Barry O’Connor is quoted as saying in the report.
It would be another move to another country for a man who has played for a number of Europe’s most prominent clubs throughout his career.
The 34-year-old made his name as a tough centre-half and earned the nickname ‘The Wall’ after his move to Roma from Argentinian side Boca Juniors in 2000.
In the Italian capital he built a reputation as one of the best and meanest defenders in Serie A, quite an achievement considering the defensive nature of Italy’s top flight.
This earned him a move to Real Madrid in 2004, but the Santiago Bernabeu was a defenders graveyard at the time and he failed to become the solid remedy at the back Los Merengues so dearly craved.
After just a year in Madrid he made his way back to Serie A and Inter, where he had his greatest success.
Samuel was part of a formidable Nerazzuri centre defence partnership with Brazilian Lucio and they blossomed under the leadership of Jose Mourinho.
They were famed for their solidity at the back and it was a key factor in winning an historic treble of trophies in the 2009-10 season.
However, since then his level has begun to slip somewhat and this season has seen Inter’s worst run of results since the mid-1950s.
There are a number of reasons for this but the deterioration of Samuel at 34 and Lucio at 33 cannot be dismissed as having less to do with the club’s decline other factors.
The Argentina international was never the quickest, but he was always able to hold is own and his advancing years mean this will naturally decline. It has.
This season Inter have been have been exposed for a lack of pace at the back and Samuel has been caught out a number of times.
This is not to say any of his other attributes have faded; he is still dominant in the air and a fantastic tackler.
However, his lack of pace would be a real issue in the frenetically paced Premier League, even more so because he hasn’t played in England’s top flight previously.
There is a danger he would be exposed but that view is possibly underselling his quality and lengthy experience at the highest level in Europe.
Such is his experience, Samuel could very well still be an effective signing if he were to line up next to a more mobile centre-back partner.
His positional game is as you would expect of a player who had played for the clubs he has for so long, though it was never his strong point.
His other greatest attribute is his strength, but this could be negated at times by the very physical approach of Premier League strikers but it would be wrong to underestimate him.
With his age and declining pace, it may be a touch too late for a move to England for a defender who has been very good for a very long time – just not long enough.