Emiliano Buendia: The most underrated midfielder in the Premier League?
It has been no secret that Norwich have struggled this season, with them being rooted at the bottom of the Premier League table with just 14 points from 22 games, potentially being eight points away from safety.
However, there have been some signs of potential that could be carved out into something special. Teemu Pukki started off the season in spectacular form, scoring goals for fun, but since his quickfire six goals in the opening five games, he has gone on to score just three goals and provide one assist in his next 16 games. Todd Cantwell has also proved to be quite a goalscorer, bagging six goals and two assists so far this season, yet he often drifts out of games.
There has been one consistent performer in the Norwich team, and that has been Emiliano Buendia.
The 23-year-old Argentine has consistently shown his quality on and off the ball, despite his team's struggles. In fact, Buendia has clocked a very impressive 1685 minutes in the Premier League this season, and has provided seven assists in the process.
Buendia has mostly become known in the league for his creativity, and this is backed up statistically, with him providing 2.9 key passes every league game, with a pass success rate of 81.3%, which is very impressive especially considering how poor Norwich sometimes are. This is extremely impressive, considering only Kevin De Bruyne has more key passes (3.7), and he has matched the Belgian exactly when it comes to pass success rate.
The Argentine is also fantastic when it comes to individual ability, with him being third in average dribbles completed in the Premier League with 3.3 dribbles per match, only being upped by Adama Traore (5.6 per match) and Wilfried Zaha (5 per match), who are both more natural wingers.
However, what is most surprising about Buendia is his willingness to track back and defend, something that most creative players do not tend to do. In fact, he averages 2.5 tackles every game as well as 0.8 interceptions. Whilst this might not seem that much, it is significantly better than other creative midfielders such as De Bruyne (1.5 tackles and 0.5 interceptions), James Maddison (1.9 tackles and 0.4 interceptions) and Mason Mount (1 tackle and 0.5 interceptions).
This perfect blend of attacking and defending is exactly why Buendia is such a sought after talent in the Premier League, with both Liverpool and Manchester United scouting him heavily as they look to improve on their current midfield options.
The midfielder would be perfect for Manchester United, with the Red Devils having plenty of problems in midfield, and considering the fact that Norwich are almost set for relegation, Buendia could come at a very cheap price. On the other hand, he could join a much better side in Liverpool, yet he would have to fight for a place in the squad much more.
Whoever, he joins, Norwich will surely be making a profit on the Argentine, having brought him in back in July 2018 from Getafe for just €1.5 million, with him now reaching a market value of over €25 million.