Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Scocco

On Monday morning, before the chaos of Friday’s Transfer Deadline Day, Sunderland quietly announced that they had signed the 28-year-old Argentine international Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Scocco, from Brazillian side Internacional for £3million. This 2 and-a-half year deal means there are now three Argentines in the Black Cat’s ranks, after the recent arrivals of Oscar Ustari, and Scocco’s ex-Newell’s teammate Santiago Vergini.

So who is Ignacio Scocco, and why have Sunderland shelled out £3million for him?

Scocco was first brought to Europe by AEK Athens in 2008, after successful stints at Newell’s Old Boys, where he made his professional debut, and Mexican side Club Universidad Nacional (UNAM/Pumas) During his time in Greece Scocco once again impressed, attracting attention from European giants such as Benfica, Udinese, and Fiorentina through his performances in the Europa League. After scoring 19 goals for the Greek side, and winning the Greek Cup in 2011, Scocco was sold to UAE side Al Ain. After winning the UAE Championship that year, Ignacio returned to La Lepra, where he established himself as integral to the side, even forcing Newell’s to reject a €3m bid from Fenerbache.

Spearheading Newell’s Old Boys’ 4-5-1, Scocco became the Argentine Primera Division’s top scorer in the 2012-13 season, netting 24 times and clinching the Torneo Final for, the now-Barcelona manager, Tata Martino’s side, their first honour in seven years.

Almost unanimously regarded as the best player in the Argentinian Primera, Internacional swooped for Scocco at the close of the 2012-13 season, although he found it difficult to establish his place in the first team during his time in Porto Alegre, possibly due to the presence of Leandro Damião and Diego Forlan.

So it is through this set of circumstances that Sunderland find themselves in a position to purchase one of the best South American forwards playing outside of Europe. Capable of playing wide, but most suited to a free central role, such as that adopted by Man City’s talismanic Argentine, Scocco is known for scoring spectacular goals, his quick feet, and the ability to create something out of nothing: a trait which could prove extremely useful to Sunderland as they look to retain their Premier League status. His play style is not too dissimilar to that of his countryman Sergio Aguero; small and fast, with a rocket of a shot, look for Scocco to be taking defenders on and getting the ball to his feet inside the penalty area.

Having only made one appearance for Argentina, in which he scored twice against Brazil, Scocco will be looking to push on and attempt to attract Alejandro Sabella’s eye ahead of this summer’s World Cup. But with the likes of Messi, Aguero, Tevez, and Lavezzi ahead of him, he needs to make an instant impact at The Stadium of Light if he is to have even an outside chance.

The form of Adam Johnson may have buoyed Sunderland’s attacking prowess recently, but with Fletcher’s fitness troubles, and Altidore still misfiring, Scocco will certainly be one-to-watch for the remainder of the season, and could prove to be a fantastic buy for Sunderland.

Vamos Nacho!

This was written by a very kind contributor that contacted me on Reddit called Tomm, check him out on Twitter

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