Marc Roca is a 23 year old defensive midfielder currently playing for bottom of La Liga side Espanyol. In an extremely disappointing campaign for Espanyol, one thing is for certain, Marc Roca is definitely operating above and beyond for Los Periquitos. Having made his debut in the 2016/17 season, Roca has gone from strength to strength, appearing for Spain's U21's in 2019. With clear quality, why is he still at Espanyol and will there be suitors in the summer of 2020, if RCD are to be relegated?
A massive defensive presence, Roca operates in a role similar to that of Sergio Busquets for Barcelona in years gone by. Averaging 2.4 tackles and 1 interception per La Liga match is no mean feat, however Roca is also commiting 2.3 fouls per 90. This has culminated in 7 yellow cards from 24 games played for the spaniard. Perhaps a little rash but it's possible that is because Espanyol are allowing the opposition an average 52.4% of possession over the course of the La Liga season.
Managing an 80% pass accuracy from 49 average passes per league match, rising to 87% from 62 in the Europa League, Roca is the metronome of the side, with the most passes per game in the Espanyol squad. Chuck in a mammoth 4.4 long balls per league 90, rising to an absolutely absurd 8.3 in the Europa League, it really is truly a wonder why Roca hasn't been plucked from Espanyol by one of europe's elite clubs. This man is managing 8.3 long balls in the Europa League, more than long ball merchant Toby Alderweireld, who manages 4.6 per Premier League match, dropping to 3.8 in the Champions League.
With a fair price tag of £14.4m as reported by Transfermarkt, Roca wouldn't cost any team their entire war chest and could be going even cheaper should Espanyol drop into the second tier. With reported interest from Bayern Munich in the summer of 2019 and Real Madrid in December 2019, Roca could do a job for both teams.
Were Roca to jump ship to Bavaria with Bayern, he would be partnering Joshua Kimmich in defensive midfield. This would be quite a frightening prospect for other Bunderliga sides, with both the german and the spaniard under 25 years of age, they could be dominating the middle of the pitch for over half a decade. The small price tag would also allow Die Roten to still chase long-term target Leroy Sane from Manchester City.
Alternatively, a transfer to Real Madrid could make sense, with Luka Modric now in to his mid 30's and Toni Kroos not getting any younger either, a midfield trident of Casemiro, Roca and one of Valverde or Ceballos would give the Madrid side some rejuvenation. The youth of Valverde, Ceballos and Roca could allow Los Blancos the ability to martial the midfield of many La Liga sides for years to come. Whilst not fitting the Galacticos policy, the Madrid side would be saving millions by not signing the inconsistent Paul Pogba.
An interesting change in scenery could still be a switch to Germany, but with Julian Nagelsmann's RB Leipzig. Known for developing youthful players, a defensive midfield partnership with the pressing monster Konrad Laimer could see Roca thrust in to the world spotlight. The price tag would mean little to the Red Bull-owned side, whether it was £3m or £30m. Challenging Bayern for the title since their promotion to the Bundesliga in 2017/18, Roca would be challenging Amadou Haidara and Tyler Adams for his place in Die Roten-Bullen's midfield.
It would be nice to see Roca's talent flourish in the Premier League. Were Watford to sell french hitman Abdoulaye Doucoure, Roca would be an able replacement. A youthful signing for The Hornets, Roca could demonstrate his qualities and could turn over a fair profit.
Either way, are Espanyol to be relegated this season, expect Roca to bo moving in summer 2020, and for not too handsome a fee.