Last week we revealed the news that Malaga midfielder Ignacio Camacho visited Melwood, potentially to discuss a move to Merseyside.
Any fans of La Liga will know a lot about the Spaniard, but for those who don’t watch much Spanish football, he is unlikely to be a familiar name.
Therefore, we decided to help you find out more about him by speaking to European Football Writer Karl Matchett.
Tell us a bit about Ignacio Camacho as a player, what are the main strengths of his game?
The biggest strengths of Camacho are his ability to cover the entirety of midfield in a physical capacity, and the fact he’s such a non-conformist to the world of Spanish midfielders in that he can actually show aggression and make a challenge. Lots of them, actually.
He loves to go toe-to-toe with the opposition, aerially or on the ground, come out with the ball and either surge forward a few metres before passing or else look to spread play diagonally quickly. Of course, part of this is Malaga’s tactics (attacking flanks rather than centrally) rather than his own abilities, as his passing can be very mixed in terms of reliability, but he is certainly a player with a winning and positive mentality.
He is quite good at sitting deep to break up play in front of the defence, but his biggest asset is in playing the centre of the park and closing down and challenging before allowing a quick counter from higher upfield. He can tends to make the odd surge forward into the penalty box, usually to quite good effect as it’s so unexpected.
How much do you think it’d cost for Liverpool to take him from Malaga?
Not a huge amount, Malaga don’t deal in big incoming transfers anymore. As a guide, Last year’s midfield quartet was Samuel Garcia, Camacho, Sergi Darder and Samu Castillejo. Three of them have gone and it’s fair to say Camacho remained in place largely because he was injured rather than because he was unwanted. Lyon paid around €12 million for Darder, Villarreal paid a combined €14 million for the two Samus, so there’s a rough price guide as to what they find acceptable.
Could you see Camacho playing well in a Jurgen Klopp team, presumably at the base of a midfield three?
Camacho has parts to his game which would be translatable to a typical Klopp set-up, but also differences. He certainly has the physical capacity to, say, be a more dynamic option as a destructive force than Lucas is, but his passing as mentioned can be a little haphazard—he’s not Xabi Alonso in disguise, so nobody should be expecting him to pull out Gundogan-esque surging dribbles over 40 yards or Sahin-type balls from deep between the lines.
He is a proactive player, he will win back the ball with great frequency and he can contribute to a faster style of play overall, but I’d imagine he’d be selected for certain matches rather than a guaranteed starter as one of two central midfielders. Which, I should add, is perfectly fine. Malaga always play a 4-4-2 variation, so he plays as part of a double pivot rather than alone at the base of three in the centre.
Camacho has been out a long time with various injuries, and had hip surgery in 2015. Is there a feeling in Spain that he’s finally over any injury worries?
There haven’t really been too many seasons where Camacho has played out the entire campaign injury-free, but it’s usually more to do with his style of play rather than anything inherent in his physical weaknesses. Surgery was suspected to be needed to get to the bottom of his ongoing problems last year and he has been straight back into the team and has played every minute in La Liga since coming off the treatment table. Impact injuries are a fact of his position and could strike at any moment, but there’s no ongoing worry about his muscle structure, soft tissue, lack of stamina etc.
He has one cap for Spain, and that came in an international friendly in 2014, if he stays fit, is there a way back into the national team for him considering the strength in depth that Spain have?
Camacho isn’t hugely likely to play a big part for Spain simply because of the existence of Sergio Busquets, who can do everything and more that you’d want from a holding midfielder in a team which uses the ball well. Camacho, along with former Red Miki San Jose and one or two others, are on the fringes of the squad as more pure defensive options.
They’ll be called up for the odd game when Vicente del Bosque might want more cover, but they aren’t long-term options to grow into the squad, just players to serve a role at a particular time.
A new Spain boss after the Euros could change a lot obviously, but factoring in younger potential holding midfielders including Saul Ñiguez, it’s not probable that there will be enough evolution to Camacho’s game to suddenly make him a big part of the Spain squad. Which, considering there is also the likes of Koke, Javi Martinez, Bruno Soriano, Gabi, Dani Parejo, Illarra and many others who don’t hold down a regular spot, isn’t exactly a terrible indictment of Camacho’s abilities!