Davinson Sanchez Talks Barcelona Rejection, Tottenham's EPL Title Ambitions

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 13: Davinson Sanchez of Tottenham Hotspur looks on during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium on February 13, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur defender Davinson Sanchez has said he turned down the chance to join Barcelona earlier in his career.

The centre-back, who became Spurs' record signing when he joined from Ajax last summer, is rated as one of the most promising young defenders in the game, having impressed with Tottenham, the Dutch giants and Nacional before that.

Speaking with Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror, Sanchez said Barcelona approached him about moving to the Camp Nou during his stint with Nacional, although he decided the time wasn't right:

"Barcelona wanted me to play for their B team. But I wanted to stay and win the Copa Libertadores and after that I didn't want to go down to a B team.

"I believed in my qualities and believed I could play in their first team. Ajax wanted me to be a part of their first team. It wasn't just Barcelona that wanted me either. When I was 17 Sevilla came for me. At 18 Valencia, at 19 Villarreal before Barcelona."

Instead, the defender moved to Ajax in 2016, where he enjoyed a tremendous season, helping the team to the 2017 UEFA Europa League final. Despite his tender years, Sanchez took on a senior role at centre-back alongside Matthijs de Ligt.

The Colombia international is a regular presence in defence at Tottenham, although faces stiff competition for places alongside the likes of Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Juan Foyth. However, that depth in defence has been a crucial part of Spurs challenging for the Premier League title this season.

Speaking about his side's title chances, Sanchez said being viewed as one of the elite sides in the division has made every match a challenge.

"Nobody has given us any gifts," said the 22-year-old. "In fact, when teams play us they want especially to beat us because they know that we have style of play, we have a philosophy. But also because the mentality instilled within this team means we can keep getting results."

While there is clearly still plenty for Sanchez to learn at the highest level—he can still be a little rash in the challenge and in his distribution—he has many attributes that point to him becoming one of the league's best defenders.

He recently chipped in with his first goal for the club, helping Spurs to a win over Leicester City:

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

⚽️ Davinson Sanchez scores his 1st goal for Tottenham in his 66th app for the club It is the 14th headed goal Spurs have scored in PL this season - 4 more than any other side https://t.co/Vo2lvqYbQd

Working alongside the likes of Alderweireld and Vertonghen every day will only serve to help the Colombian's development. It has also helped take the pressure off Sanchez following his big-money move, as Pochettino has been able to rotate his defence with minimal drop-off in quality.

Turning down Barcelona must have been a big decision for Sanchez at such a young age. Given the way he's developing in the Premier League under an astute manager like Pochettino, he will feel that he's been vindicated three years on.