Tottenham Hotspur might have Modric and Parker on the books, but Valero was equal to Xavi in assists last season and Harry is said to be casting eyes in his direction...
Who is he?
West Brom fans might well scratch their heads and mutter something unmentionable under their breaths at the notion that Borja Valero is a footballer on the fringes of the Spain squad. Indeed, the playmaker could well have had a good 20 caps under his belt had the country not been packed to the rafters already with elegant, visionary midfielders. Instead Varelo has just the single substitute appearance picked up in June 2011 on an end of season tour to North America.
Valero moved from Mallorca to the West Midlands for a £4.7m fee in 2008 but moved back to Mallorca on loan after just a year. A brilliant season where the midfielder almost single-handedly dragged the cash-strapped, distinctly average Balearic side into fifth - and seconds away from fourth - saw Valero making a £5.2m move to Villarreal from West Brom and winning Don Balón magazine’s Spanish player of the year award in 2010.
The fact that the midfielder is currently the most fouled player in la Primera shows the importance of this most perfect of playmakers.
The playmaker struck up a wonderful partnership with Santi Cazorla last season to push Villarreal into fourth spot and into the Europa League semi-finals. This season, Valero’s form has dipped a little as has Villarreal’s with the absence of the injured Giuseppe Rossi and Nilmar up front and the sold-to-Málaga Cazorla. However, there are still flashes of the brilliant Borja, whose Villarreal side plays well when he plays well.
The Villarreal man managed as many assists as Xavi last season with eight and is a master at the cross, the floated ball, the lofted pass, the reverse pass, the through ball, the disguised pass and the deadly set-piece. The fact that the midfielder is currently the most fouled player in la Primera shows the importance of this most perfect of playmakers.
On a technical point of view, Valero could probably score more and be a little physically stronger, but that is merely nit-picking. What’s more relevant to any suitors who fancy bringing the footballer to England is that the midfielder has been there, done that and didn’t wholly enjoy the experience of swapping a Spanish barrio for Birmingham.
Chances of signing him
Fairly slim, not just because of the reluctance Valero may have of returning to England but because there are one of two big name Spanish clubs who wouldn’t mind having the midfielder in their squad, possibly even Real Madrid where the 26-year-old began his career.
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