It wouldn't be unfair to say that 26-year-old Chilean midfielder Charles Aranguiz spent much of his time under the radar, most likely due to career decisions. He started his career at Chilean club Cobreloa, moving to Colo-Colo after three seasons of service in 2009, helping the latter win a Chilean League title. He then moved to Argentinian club Quilmes, but only spent half a season with them before joining Argentinian head coach Jorge Sampaoli in Universidad de Chile in 2011.
Aranguiz was fundamental for the club and especially for Sampaoli's tactics, which were heavily influenced by Marcelo Bielsa. But unlike his colleagues who lost their way after the coach left "La U" for the Chilean national team, Aranguiz found further success.
The midfielder was bought by Spanish club Granada in 2014 but was quickly sent on loan in January of the same year to SC Internacional, a traditional Brazilian club. In Brazil, he also made an instant impact, scoring goals at the State Championship and in the Brazilian League while helping his club achieve a Copa Libertadores berth. He was bought by the Brazilian club after he was named State Championship MVP in June in the same year.
He had been involved with the Chilean national team since 2010, but it wasn't until the last World Cup that Charles Aranguiz started making noise while playing for La Roja. Scoring against Spain in the Maracanã last year and being a key player for the team that won Chile's first Copa America in 99 years a few weeks ago, he was quickly linked to a number of European clubs - including Chelsea.
Just what is it that has made him so sought after?
First, Aranguiz is a jack-of-all-trades kind of player. He's not a destroyer, nor a deep playmaker and neither a box-to-box midfielder. But he can help a team in all of these roles.
For Internacional, Aranguiz recorded 2.7 successful tackles and 1.4 unsuccessful ones per 90 minutes played, which would bring him to a tackling success of approximately 66% while receiving 7 yellow cards and no reds in 24 matches. He's not as good as Matic in his positioning, but he has more awareness as a pivot player than Fabregas or Ramires.
He's known to be a great short passing player, connecting almost 87% of his passes. He's not as good as Fabregas with killer and pin-point passing, but his cool head will help his team with cycling possession and setting up the tempo.
Aranguiz is also reckoned as an accurate shooter and a good free kick taker. Of his 6 goals scored for Internacional in the Brazilian League last season, none were penalties. He's got a good awareness inside the box, as that is where 5 of those goals came from, but he's also got a powerful shot from outside the box having scored some screamers in his career.
He's also very versatile. A natural pivot midfielder in a 4-2-3-1, Aranguiz has also seen playing time as a wide midfielder and as an attacking midfielder for Chile and also for Internacional.
Second, his cost. With a rumoured price tag of £16 million, Charles Aranguiz might be too expensive for most South American and European clubs to take a look at, but certainly not to English clubs with their new TV deal.
Third, his utility. As mentioned before, Aranguiz can do almost anything in the midfield with mild success at club and national team level. With John Obi Mikel perhaps looking to leave Chelsea and Ramires' lack of technique becoming a glaring weakness, it makes sense for Chelsea to look for an upgrade in the position and Aranguiz seems to fit the bill perfectly.
Moving to get Charles Aranguiz is not without risk. Although he's been quite successful for his national team, he never experienced European football, which might be a huge problem given the gap in quality between South America and Europe at the moment.
Also, at 26 years old, he has practically no resale value. We didn't mind that while buying Willian, Diego Costa and Fabregas and they've been staples in our squad; but we did the same with Cuadrado and Torres. Aranguiz still is a gamble and while he wouldn't be much of a hit on Chelsea's books - his weekly wages in Brazil are probably less than £25,000 - he'd still generate a loss for Chelsea if he fails to adapt to English football.
Finally, there's the risk of unsettling the squad. Mikel's transfer out seems more than ever before, but we have heard of talks between the club and Ramires for a contract extension while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is supposed to be integrated into the first team squad. If Aranguiz manages to adapt quickly to English football like he did in Brazil, I'm sure he'd jump into Chelsea's third preferred pivot player behind Matic and Fabregas, "robbing" playing time from Ramires, RLC and from Mikel if he stays.
Even with those lingering problems, I'm confident in Aranguiz's ability to justify his transfer fee. He adapted to Brazilian football seamlessly, which is something other quality South American players failed at before. Although he's close to his physical peak, his game is more related to his mental strength and acute technique. He's also quite consistent, and enjoys playing high stake matches as shown by his performance against Argentina in the Copa America finals.
Don't let it slip, Chelsea!