To fans of West Bromwich Albion, he’ll be remembered as an expensive flop who failed to live up to expectations when arriving from Real Mallorca for a fee in the region of £5m. Since his disastrous spell at The Hawthorns, he moved back to his native Spain and gradually regained his confidence, but could Borja Valero be on his way back to England?
After joining Villarreal permanently for a knockdown fee, the playmaker had broken into the Spanish national team and helped them to maintain their position as one of La Liga’s top clubs until last season. Even though he did well in his final season at the Madrigal, his team suffered relegation and a move to Fiorentina followed.
He moved to Fiorentina along with ex-team mates Gonzalo Rodriguez and Giuseppe Rossi and has adapted to life in Serie A very well. So well in fact, that his performances have been noted by a number of top sides in the English Premier League. He’s been linked with moves to Tottenham and Arsenal as well as Manchester City, who might be planning a squad overhaul in the summer.
A likely asking price would be somewhere in the region of £10m, although the Viola will do their best to keep hold of him, especially if they manage to qualify for the Champions League. Along with other star performers like Stevan Jovetic, Valero has been instrumental in their successful tilt at returning to the European elite.
After a disappointing attempt to defend their Premier League title, Manchester City are likely to make a few changes to their personnel. Valero could help to keep the likes of Yaya Toure on their toes should they underperform, but there’s a chance that he might get more starts if he moves to either of the North London clubs instead.
City have one thing left to play for – the FA Cup. They come into the final as overwhelming favourites with Ladbrokes, and if they win it might persuade Valero to join because they’re more likely to win major trophies than most other clubs in England.
Of the three clubs who have been linked with his signature, the most likely destination could be White Hart Lane. The likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Moussa Dembele have been inconsistent, and Valero could provide some much-needed competition in the middle of the park.