He came in with such promise, being described as ‘one of Spain’s most exciting prospects’ by the club when he first put pen to paper.
And he was greeted with quite the fanfare from the club’s supporters upon his arrival, but the numbers really don’t lie, and that’s the harsh truth of it all. Young Fran Villalba looks like he could be on his way out of St Andrew’s in the coming weeks, as Spanish outlet La Voz De Almeria report that second division side UD Almeria are interested in his services.
Whilst obviously this is just a report at this stage, and there can be many twists and turns in any transfer negotiation, I wouldn’t totally be disappointed to see him leave the club, because he just hasn’t been able to produce on a consistent enough a basis.
Perhaps part of it is the fact that he just hasn’t been able to adapt to English football as quickly as some others, it’s well known the struggles that players can face when coming over here for the first time, but even so.
When you compare him to someone like Ivan Sunjic who has been more productive in his role than Villalba, or even Jeremie Bela who has got more goals and assists than him in far less time, he does lose some of the benefit of the doubt in my mind.
Because of the complications surrounding his transfer, the Blues might not be able to get as much of a fee in for him as they probably would have liked, but even if this transfer just manages to free up some wages that the club can use on another player, the club need to take it and essentially press the reset button and try again on the left-wing.
Has Fran Villalba been a flop at St Andrew's?
And hopefully the next guy they bring in, if indeed the deal does go through, might be more productive than the young Spaniard.