Villarreal have a race against time to secure the future of rising star Alex Baena, or risk losing him at a cut-price fee.
Baena has erupted onto the scene this season, scoring nine goals and assisting four times in 21 appearances for Villarreal this season. It is not unfair to put the 21-year-old in contention for revelation of the La Liga season.
Previously he was regarded as a talented and useful youngster, but his performances have catapulted him into the view of several of Europe’s richest clubs. According to Fichajes.net, the Yellow Submarine are keen to renew him until 2025 and raise his release clause. That currently sits at €35m and if they cannot hammer out a deal beforehand, one of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City or Liverpool may pounce in order to save themselves some money down the line.
Even though Baena’s form has been spectacular, he will have to sustain it in order for both Villarreal and other clubs to work out his true potential. The example of Pau Torres stands to reason. Frequently linked with moves in excess of €50m, Torres was short of suitors last summer and his poor recent showings are unlikely to make Villarreal similar money down the line.
However waiting before giving Baena a new contract may mean losing out on many millions in a transfer fee. If Baena can maintain his form, they may have one of the brightest talents in Spanish football to put alongside Yeremy Pino.