We now know that Aston Villa may be interested in spending €5 million on 22-year-old Valencia winger Carles Gil, but what do we know about the player himself? We've done a little digging for you to see what we can find out about the man who may be Villa's next winger.
Let's start with David Cartlidge, who was the first person I really trusted that was reporting on this. In an article he wrote in September 2013, Cartlidge said "Gil's an extremely efficient player, able to circulate possession from deep areas and also able to play in a wide role, pressing without the ball and running at defences with pace. The debate rages on as to where he's best suited, but so far in his wide right role he has been superb."
There's plenty more and you ought to give it a read, but the uptake is that he could fit in nicely on the wings. On twitter, Cartlidge had this to add:
@7500toHolte Best suited in a wide role, drifting inside as opposed to going wide. Good defensively too, key is unselfish attitude.— David Cartlidge (@davidjaca) January 8, 2015
If he plays on the right and Jack Grealish heads left, we could see a pair of dynamic young wingers spurring on the Villa attack. Well, we could if Paul Lambert would ever play wingers. Or young people. But that's neither here nor there right now.
Miran Saric, who writes on La Liga regularly for SB Nation's Real Madrid blog added that Gil is a "tricky little guy with the ball at his feet, pretty solid passer. Can't score to save his life." Alright, that seems like something we can work with. It would be nice to have some more scoring, but given the type of strikers that Aston Villa have, simply getting them consistent service from the wings should be enough to help boost the goal total.
And finally, there's this highlight video of Gil. As with all such videos, take it with a grain of salt, as it's obviously just the best parts of this player. But still, what we see here is pretty tantalizing.
There are a few pinpoint, deftly controlled crosses in there that remind me of Christian Benteke's absolutely perfect pass to Alan Hutton against Leicester City in December.
I'm starting to think that this could be a really good signing. My biggest doubt comes not from the player, but from Lambert. He has a tendency to get bright young players and then not use them. If that is what would happen here, I'm not sure that the move would be worthwhile right now. But if he's committed to using wingers properly, this could be a huge boost to an Aston Villa club who have struggled to put much of an attack together this year.