So the latest Spaniard to make his way through the door at St Andrew’s is, Fran Villalba.
As I said a few days ago when it started to become a real possibility that Villalba could make his way to B9, there are some complications to the deal. As Superdeporte put it, because they’re clearly better at maths than me, Birmingham have only bought 25% of the player’s rights. Next summer 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. That’s why Birmingham put in their article when he was signed that he was a free transfer. For the time being, technically it is, it’s next summer that potential transfer fees could get involved.
But say things don’t go right. What if he has a nightmare time in England, much in the same way Heurelho Gomes and David De Gea did when they first came to England? Then that is where I think this could actually work out in Birmingham’s favour. You can in a sense treat this as a loan deal. If he’s struggling, or he picks up a serious injury that makes you think twice about bringing him in long term, then you can simply turn around to Valencia and tell them you don’t want him.
It’s a possibility that has also come with another one of City’s Spanish signings this summer, Moha Ramos. I wrote when he signed that his loan deal seemed to be a bit of a ‘get out clause’ if things didn’t work out in his first season at St Andrew’s and I think the same could apply to Villalba.
Now obviously I don’t want him to fail, I want him to have as fine a career as possible in the Second City, and at the end of the day, is €3m really all that much to pay for someone that Valencia clearly rate highly enough that they don’t want to let him go just yet? Of course not, if he flourishes in the division it could turn out to be one of the steals of the century.
However, it’s always good to know what the options are out there just in case things don’t go as well as you’d hope.