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Borja Valero: Italian Expert On The Schemer To Take Spurs To The Next Level

by Richard Whittle
25 April 2013 2 Comments

A revelation since signing for Fiorentina, Valero would improve what is already avery impressive Spurs midfield with his guile...

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Borja Valero: Italian Expert On The Schemer To Take Tottenham To The Next Level…

Every so often a player arrives under the radar and just goes about his business in an orderly manner that his performances cannot go unnoticed for too long.

Borja Valero Iglesias is one such player who has been the fulcrum of a Fiorentina side that has lit up Serie A with a brand of attacking football that could take the Viola all the way to snatching third place away from AC Milan.

The Tuscan club decided to make a fresh start in the summer following a tumultuous few seasons that had seen a number of coaches come and go and had witnessed towards the tail-end of last year, Delio Rossi physically attack his own player Adem Ljaijic during a match.

A sweeping clean of the old guard and the poisonous environment was needed so out went nearly the whole first-team squad and in came the up and coming Vincenzo Montella as coach and experienced transfer operator Daniele Pradè.

Looking around Europe for talented players who would fit into Montella’s attacking approach the club targeted Villarreal who had just been relegated from La Liga. From there, arrived Gonzalo Rodriguez for the defence and Borja Valero to dovetail with David Pizarro and Alberto Aquilani in midfield. 

Initially, Montella was not impressed as he expected to have at least one “enforcer” in the middle of the pitch and when he first set eyes on the new arrival from Spain he was reported to have said “he doesn’t look as if he has the strength to tie his own laces …”

Not particularly tall at 5ft9ins and weighing in around 10st, the slightly-built Spaniard may lack the strength and pace expected of the modern midfielder but his sharpness comes from his reading of the game and the “soft feet” that Italians love in creative talents.

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His short passing is precise and at times dazzling but he also has immense staying power to keep in constant motion throughout the full ninety minutes where his probing from the left-side in particular have opened up play to create scoring chances for the fleet-footed Ljaijic and Stevan Jovetic. 

A goal at Lazio was an example of Borja Valero’s ability to think two or three moves ahead of anyone else as he raced to the edge of the area to receive a pass from Ljaijic only to dummy the ball to Jovetic who produced a well-taken finish. 

Regardless of the opposition, Montella’s side attack from the back and when Pizarro was sidelined through injury it was the new man who dropped back to pick the ball up from one of the defenders but he has been much more effective further forward on the left. He may have only scored twice but he is the fifth overall in assists in the league, with 51 goal-creating passes while he has completed over 1,800 passes through the campaign.

At 28, Borja Valero has stated that he is more than content to remain in Florence and taste European football once more; be it in the Champions League or Europa League.

He has after all, had one stint in the Premier League with West Brom which ended with the Baggies relegation and a return to Mallorca and from there to Villarreal whom he helped qualify for the Champions League.

He has only won one cap for Spain and that came in a friendly against the USA back in 2011 but after his eye-catching displays for Fiorentina he may feel that his chances for a call-up to next summer’s World Cup finals are better served if he remains in Tuscany especially if the Viola were to land that final Champions League spot.

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bazza 10:43 am, 25-Apr-2013

Never really rated him at Villarreal and though he and Cani were in many ways just as big a part of their struggling as was Garrido and the loss of Rossi I really don't think he's what Spurs need there are far better and younger options around

Ramos43 12:16 pm, 25-Apr-2013

I heard about the player being linked with Spurs a few weeks ago, and although I knew a bit about the players background- I'd never actually seen him play. So I took to Youtube, watched a clip of him playing against Bolongna, Athletic B and USA, and if truth be told, I was MASSIVELY impressed. Now I know what your thinking: 'You can't possibly make an informed decision on a player based on a couple of youtube you've seen'. Well I am here to tell you can, when: 1. You've seen match clips, and not just a highlight reel. 2. You know what your looking for, in terms of a players attributes. 3. The player has experience in a number of major European leagues. Diminutive, skillfull and extremely intelligent, Borja Valero is a typically modern Spanish midfielder, who is very much in the Xavi or Iniesta mould. While he may not have the biggest frame in the world, he is NOT lightweight and is extremely adept at using his body to shield the ball from opponents. He also appears as an advocate of the high pressing game which is a style AVB has TRIED to implement at Spurs this season. Valero, for me, is an all-action, deep lying central midfield who reminds me a lot of Luka Modric, WITHOUT the same standard of passing or dribbling ability. Where Valero DOES have the upper hand on Modric is in and around the opponents penalty area, where he seems a lot more at ease than the little Croatian schemer. Borja Valero's biggest strength, in my opinion is his speed of thought and superb awareness. He has that uncanny ability to always appear one step ahead of his opponents, and as a result rarely gets caught in possession. At 28 I would question whether signing Borja for anything above £10mill is a good idea, but if AVB is looking for an experienced head to assist Spurs in the creative side of the game, than the Portuguese could do a lot worst than go for the former West Brom man. However, its difficult not to argue that given the players age and potential to improve, that there are better, younger alternatives out there.

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