The Hard Tackle takes a look at three ideal suitors for Jose Gaya, as Valencia prepare to cash in on him this coming summer.
He has been one of the stalwarts of La Liga for over the past half-a-decade, having been a pivotal figure for Valencia through thick and thin. In fact, such has been the impact he has had for Los Che that Jose Gaya was promoted to the role of club captain ahead of the ongoing season following the emotional departure of the long-serving Dani Parejo last summer.
Gaya’s influence is not just restricted to Valencia, though, as he has also established a foothold in the Spanish national side and is expected to be the first-choice left-back for La Roja heading into the European Championships this coming summer. At the same time, the 25-year-old has also been drawing interest from some of the best clubs in the world over the years, including Barcelona among others.
However, Valencia’s precarious financial situation is threatening to throw Gaya’s future at the Mestalla under a cloud of uncertainty. Indeed, as per Spanish journalist Belen Sanchez Garcia on Jugones, it has been claimed that the La Liga outfit could cash in on either Gaya or Carlos Soler this summer.
🚨 INFORMACIÓN VALENCIA 🚨
— El Chiringuito TV (@elchiringuitotv) April 22, 2021
Such a development is sure to pique the interest of some of the biggest clubs in the world, with Gaya potentially being a long-term solution on the left side of defence for any club that signs him. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle seeks to list three erstwhile European Super League clubs that should pursue the 25-year-old Spanish international heading into the summer transfer window.
The club that has been linked quite heavily with Gaya over the years. Barcelona do indeed hold a long-standing interest in the 25-year-old and reports as recent as March have indicated that the Catalan giants are eager to swoop him away from fellow La Liga outfit Valencia this summer. Barcelona’s interest in Gaya is pretty straightforward.
Junior Firpo’s move from Real Betis has not worked out well; not for the Blaugrana and certainly not for the player himself, whose progress has stalled considerably due to the fact that he has been a bit-part player over the last couple of seasons. With Jordi Alba coming into his own following the key change of formation by Ronald Koeman, it has become even more difficult for Firpo to secure some game-time.
With Barcelona now regularly being set up in either a 3-5-2 or a 3-4-3 formation, Alba has been playing some of the best football of his career. So, for all intents and purposes, it looks like Firpo could well be deemed surplus to requirements at Camp Nou this summer.
However, with Alba now into his thirties and approaching the final phase of his career, Barcelona not only need quality competition for the Spanish international but also a viable successor for when it is time for Alba to be phased out of the first-team picture. That is where Gaya comes into the picture, with the Spaniard being one of the best full-backs in La Liga presently.
With his best years still ahead of him, he could be a long-term solution for Barcelona. In addition, his qualities in the final third coupled with the ever-improving defensive nous make him an able fit for the Blaugrana, not just under Ronald Koeman but perhaps, when someone else takes charge as well. A move worth executing for Barcelona.
Another one of the clubs that have been tailing Gaya for quite some time now. In fact, the first instance of Arsenal showing an interest in the Valencia captain was a few years ago. And, like Barcelona, the Gunners seem to be pressing for a move for the 25-year-old heading into this summer’s transfer window as well.
Arsenal’s need for a left-back is even more pressing than Barcelona. As things stand, Kieran Tierney is the only natural left-back at the disposal of Mikel Arteta, following Sead Kolasinac’s loan move to Schalke in the January transfer window.
With Kolasinac having no future at Arsenal, it is imperative that they sign a left-back this coming summer, especially considering Arteta has had to field makeshift options in the form of Cedric Soares and Granit Xhaka. With neither player being a solution even in the slightest, it goes without saying that the north Londoners have a problem area that needs to be addressed urgently.
Add to that the fact that Tierney has had his fair share of fitness issues at Arsenal and it is not hard to see why Arsenal might be interested in Gaya. The 25-year-old could not only be an alternative to the current first-choice left-back but also bring in some leadership, that has been desperately missing from the Arsenal squad for years now.
Hence, Gaya’s addition could potentially mean that Arteta will not have to worry about the state of his left-back arsenal for years to come, which is why this move is a no-brainer for the Gunners, especially considering Valencia are now open to parting ways with him, thereby throwing the ball in the Gunners’ court.
The final name on our list is not a club that has ever been linked with Gaya. However, with the left-back slot starting to become one of the problem areas for Juventus, they ought to consider a move for the Spanish international.
Alex Sandro has endured quite a decline in his stature in the last couple of years and has been in and out of the starting lineup as a result. Gianluca Frabotta is currently the alternative for Sandro, but the 21-year-old has not been utilised quite regularly, with Danilo – a right-back – being favoured over him quite a few times.
That points towards the left-back position being one that has to be bolstered by Juventus in the summer transfer window. And, there are very few options better than Gaya to reinforce the Bianconeri’s squad than Gaya, who might actually be available, thereby making a possible pursuit relatively easier to execute.
Joining a team that has been bereft of creativity for large parts of the season, Gaya has the ability to galvanize Andrea Pirlo’s squad with his addition, effectively becoming the clone of someone like Juan Cuadrado on the right flank. So, it really make a great deal of sense for Juventus to make their move for the 25-year-old, although they could well have Barcelona and Arsenal for competition in his pursuit.