Getting plundered by the Premier League’s establishment is not a new experience for Valencia, so reports linking one of Los Che’s young prospects to Manchester United are hardly surprising.
The next potential mover from the Mestalla to the EPL is promising centre-midfielder Fran Villalba and, according to his agent, the ball is in United’s court after initial enquires were made.
“We’ve just started talking. It’s up to (Manchester) United,” Villalba’s agent Vicente Fores is quoted as telling online footy publication Sports Witness.
Given the first-hand assessments of the Valencia talent pool by Red Devils legends Gary and Phillip Neville in their posts as manager and assistant of the struggling Spanish outfit last season, information on their academy graduate may well have filtered through to the Old Trafford hierarchy since.
As yet, the 18-year-old has not fully broken into the first-team ranks for the La Liga club, making just three senior appearances last term.
Villalba did get 80 minutes of Copa del Rey action against Barcelona though and impressed in a number 10 role even though it was something of a dead rubber semi-final second leg at the Mestalla.
This season the teenager has found himself playing for the B side where he’s scored once in five outings as a second-half substitute.
Considering the comparative achievements of United’s recent batch of first-team teens such as Anthony Martial (now 20) and Marcus Rashford (18), these figures are not the most auspicious.
However, the midfielder has represented Spain at four different age groups, presently in the U19s setup, so he’s well thought of in Spain and may yet blossom given greater exposure.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing