Two Deals for Valencia
On the final day of this year’s summer transfer window, Spanish club Valencia confirmed two deals, one player joining the current squad, and the other departing, with both deals coming as a surprise to many football fans, not just in Spain, but across the world.
Joining Los Che is seventeen year old Belgium Youri Tielemans. The midfielder has joined for a total od £12.5million, but this could rise to £14m with add-ons, based on appearances for both his new club and his selected national side, Belgium.
The youngster has joined from his native Belgium, where he turned out for Anderlecht. He became the clubs youngest ever first team player when he made his debut for the side, at the tender age of sixteen. He also holds the record as the youngest Belgian and third youngest of all time, to play in Europe’s premier cup, competition, the UEFA Champions League, making his debut at the age of 16 years, 4 months and 25 days, an incredible feat for a school boy.
He joined Anderlecht at the age of five, and supports the club, and last season, made the breakthrough that any player coming through the Brussels-based side’s youth academy, in July 2013, against Sporting Lokeren after replacing injured midfielder Sacha Kljestan with just 25 minutes gone. He didn’t look too young to be playing at the top level, amazing the Anderlecht fans with his ball distribution and his attacking intent.
He has also impressed with his positioning, and the ability to bring his fellow teammates into play with lots of clever passes, and dominates the midfield. His versatility is also a massive bonus for Valencia, and will be a huge plus in the future, being able to play in the holding role, further up field and as a more box-to-box midfielder, which seems to be his preferred position.
Last season, he made a total thirty-five appearances for his club; twenty-nine in the Belgium Pro League, the top division in Belgian football, and netted once, against Club Brugge, helping his side to an impressive three-nil win in front of their own fans. Another two appearances in the cup – and another goal also added to a fantastic total for a seventeen year-old, along with four appearances in Europe. He also had one league appearance this season to his name, before sealing his move to Spain.
Departing the club is Argentine Pablo Piatti. The winger has left on a loan to fellow Spanish side Granada until the end of the season. Piatti made one appearance for Valencia this season, and that coming in a pre-season game against Alcoyano, netting the third goal, but did not do enough to please compatriot Alejandro Sabella for a place in his squad, and was subsequently placed on the club’s transfer list.
Following no interest in the twenty-five year old, Sabella reportedly asked him to find a move for himself, which he reluctantly agreed too, but nothing materialised, so a loan move to Granada became an option.
Upon joining the side in Southern Spain, he said
“Joining Granada is a huge moment for me. I still want to play for Valencia in the future, and I need to impress Sabella here, so I need to make sure I perform every game. Granada is great club, one that I feel lucky to contribute too for the next season, and then hopefully I can go back to playing for Valencia. I want to promise to the Granada fans that I will perform and remain committed to the club this season, and while I play, forget about Sabella and Valencia, and make sure I play well to impress him.”
The winger started his career in his native Argentina, with local sode Jorge Newbery, before being scouted by Estudiantes de La Plata. He made the headlines when coach Diego Simeone gave him his first opportunity against Newell's Old Boys on 18 November 2006, when he was just 17. He scored the winning goal deep into injury time, and became one of the heroes of Estudiantes' championship-winning team.
After two years in Argentina, in which he made 60 appearances in all competitions, he was sold to UD Almería in Spain for an undisclosed fee. Initially, he was an undisputed starter, notably netting in a 1–1 home tie against Real Madrid, however he struggled midway through his first season, he started to struggle after the arrival of Mexican coach Hugo Sánchez.
But the next season proved to be more successful, as he netted seven times in thirty-five matches, joint-second in the team, as Almería finished in 13th position.
In 2011, Almería reached an agreement with Valencia for the transfer of Piatti, with the player penning a five year contract, and cost Los Che €7.5 million. He struggled to reproduce his previous form during most of his first season with Valencia, but did feature in 47 matches all competitions comprised. Piatti's role lessened dramatically in the following campaign, where he also suffered injury problems.
Internationally, he is a full Argentinian international, making one appearance for La Albiceleste in 2011, but has not appeared in the Argentinian squad since.
Upon announcing both moves, Valencia boss Alejandro Sabella told the press
“I am very happy with these two deals. Your [Tielemans] is a very highly rated youngster. He will be incredible in the future for us, but will also be used immediately, as he is proven in one of Europe’s top leagues and has European experience, a massive bonus. I know twelve million pounds is a lot for a seventeen year old, but in the future it will seem like a bargain.
Pablo’s loan move is just right for him. It allows him to recover and perform better, while sustaining himself at the top level. I will assess his situation at the end of the season, and go from there. He is very talented, no doubt, but he needs to improve his consistency, and this loan move gives him the opportunity to do so.”
Both players will join up with their new teammates after the international break – with Tielemans focusing on a trip to Real Madrid, and Piatti hoping to play in a game against Atletico Madrid.