After a turbulent 18 months since arriving in January 2015, Carles Gil’s Aston Villa spell looks set to come to a close, with Spanish outlet Marca reporting (among others) that Gil will join Deportivo La Coruña on loan, with the Galician outlet also holding an option to buy.
There’s no report on what the purchase fee will look like down the road, but with a surplus of first-team players in the squad, it appears that Gil has been made expendable by manager Roberto Di Matteo, who’s talked about a need to move unneeded players on. At just 23, the former Valencia and Elche player still has significant potential, though it’s hard to say that was ever going to be realized at B6.
Presuming the move goes though, and it ultimately becomes permanent, we’ll have closed the door on one hell of an interesting season and a half for Gil at Aston Villa.
He impressed Villa fans as a rare spark under Paul Lambert, but was soon pushed completely out of the first-team setup by Tim Sherwood, who preferred Jack Grealish as his creative talisman with Villa securing survival in spring 2015. Over the summer though, Sherwood brought Gil back into the setup, with Sherwood handing the Spaniard a start alongside Grealish away to Leicester. Of course, Villa went 2-0 up that day, but lost 3-2, in one of the biggest Premier League results of the season, for two separate reasons.
After that loss, Gil’s playing time under Sherwood declined once more, but after Rémi Garde’s arrival, the attacking midfielder once more got a chance, before being pushed aside once more by caretaker manager Eric Black at the end of the season.
His up-and-down spell at Villa is emblematic of many opinions of Gil around the English game: That the kid is pretty talented, but that he never really settled into the style found in England. At times, Villa fans were treated to a player that looked the class of the squad, despite being one of its youngest players, but ultimately, Gil didn’t provide enough production for a squad that desperately needed creativity: He recorded just two goals and one assist in 28 Premier League appearances over his time at Villa Park.
Ultimately, this is a move that’s going to make some sense for everyone involved, especially if the Claret and Blues are able to move in a new man to join Grealish in the attacking midfield stable. There’s clearly something there with Gil, and most Villa fans wouldn’t be surprised if he has himself a fantastic year at Depor. But it’s also hard to see how his talent was ever going to properly blossom at Villa.
Whether it was simply a compatibility issue for Gil with the English game or Villa, he’ll be headed back somewhere a lot more comfortable.