Does Pep just want to copy what Swansea City did back in 2011 and flood the squad with Spaniards and hope it pays off the same way? Probably not, but there certainly seems to be a pattern emerging with who Birmingham are being linked with in the past few days.
Reports coming out of Spain say that 21-year-old Fran Villalba is on the verge of making a move to B9. Seen as surplus to at the Mestalla Stadium he leaves as part of a grand overall by Valencia boss Marcelino.
The deal though is not all that straightforward. According to Superdeporte, Birmingham would only be buying 25% of the player’s rights, and that next summer his current club Valencia will have the option of bringing him back for nothing. If Birmingham wanted to make the deal ‘permanent’, they would have to fork out another €3m.
Hopefully this doesn’t become a trend, I wasn’t very good at maths and it’s hard to keep up with transfer fees as the best of times, there’s no need to add percentages and ‘ownership’ into the equation. Just tell me the fee and how many years he’s signed on for and leave it at that. But I digress.
This would be another great signing in my eyes. Whilst he is a very versatile player, being able to play a multitude of positions in attack, he is more productive when operating in an attacking midfield role, with four goals and seven assists across his career in that position, and he would slot seamlessly into Clotet’s style of play.
Birmingham started the first game of the season against Brentford with a 3-4-2-1 formation and with Villalba being an attacking midfielder by trade, he’d be perfect to take up that number ten role behind Jutkiewicz alongside Dan Crowley. At the moment it’s Jacques Maghoma who’s taken that responsibility, but he was someone that Clotet inherited rather than chose.
Villalba is someone that Clotet would have scouted himself and will be able to utilise him and it’s important that he puts his own footprint on the team, so if he has identified him as the successor to Maghoma then we should trust him. Clotet has made clear his intentions with the style of play