Raiding the bargain bin

Valencia are a club that have been synonymous with astute dealings in the transfer market in recent seasons. High-profile names may have left the club, but the work put into replacing those players is now garnering just as much attention. Sporting director Braulio Vazquez and his team are rigorous in the transfer market in the search for quality at a low-cost. Few areas of the market are proving so lucrative for teams like Valencia, than Spain’s Segunda Division.

Jonathan Viera from UD Las Palmas and Andres Guardado from Deportivo La Coruna have both already arrived, for €1.5m and for free respectively. Combined they’ve produced an outstanding 26 assists in Segunda this season and for their teams they’ve shown on a consistent basis how much quality they harness. The signings are not only low-cost, but also low-risk. Segunda provides an excellent platform for players to build upon before achieving a lucrative move elsewhere or promotion with their respective club.

Guardado has been hampered by injuries since his arrival in Spain, and perhaps for only the second season in his career at Depor was he able to play a full season. He arrived in Galicia with a strong reputation and high potential – unfortunately the aforementioned injuries negated his ability to fulfil this promise.

When Depor were relegated, Guardado vowed to remain with the club and help them return to the big stage. The Mexican has proved to be a key feature for Depor, providing the definition needed in their patient build-up to carve open opposing defences.

Viera, meanwhile, has been highly regarded for quite some time and it was a case of who would take him away from his comfortable life on the Canary Islands. Valencia acknowledged the problems they had in their attacking transitions since Juan Mata departed, and with their initial solutions not proving successful they have identified Viera as the right fit. The 22-year-old is an exquisite footballer, defined by high levels of technique and vision of the game. His ability to deliver a killer pass under pressure and in confined space could be exactly the angle Valencia need to add dimension to their attack.

The model is admirable from the club as they’re looking to pick the finest fruit from Segunda’s trees. They may be leading the way when it comes to working the market, but others are beginning to catch on and could see results sooner rather than later.

Sevilla’s days of spending big on the continent are over, and their purchase of Javi Hervas from Cordoba was an interesting one – a mobile midfielder in the Borja Valero mould, he was wanted by several clubs from Malaga to Real Betis. Another is Sisi, who captained Real Valladolid in their promotion season but has now been picked up by Osasuna and signed a three-year deal. The club from Pamplona have not only picked up an experienced leader, but one with genuine ability which will give their pragmatic approach an added dimension. Osasuna have severe limits economically, and with a signing like Sisi they work within them but not at a cost of skill.

What’s enriching about the Viera and Hervas deals in particular is that both players are products of their previous clubs’ canteras. The money from their signings will be pushed back into the most important aspect of a Spanish club, helping produce talent for years to come. In fact, younger players are already earmarked for the berths left by the departing players. Jose Artiles is the man, or should that be boy, tasked with replacing Viera despite still being just 18-years-old.

With that in mind, we’ll see over the next few years an increasing trend of teams located within the Primera observing closely the progression of those in Segunda. What little money left over in the Spanish game will eventually get recycled between its clubs, allowing them to harvest further talent for the future. This is not just an issue of financial prudence however, as the quality can be worth far more than its weight in gold.