The past year and only 42 appearances in a Boca uniform has seen this young 19-year old Argentinian midfielder – very much in the vein of Javier Mascherano at Liverpool and Fernando Gago at Real Madrid – help Boca Juniors win the Copa Libertadores, while ALSO hoisting the World Cup with the Argentinian U-20s. Valencia has finally won his signature after fending off the challenges of AC Milan and Juventus.
All that’s left is paperwork, but Banega has already left to join his new teammates at the Mestalla. His arrival spells the end for former Spanish international David Albelda who has recently been liked with Everton and Barcelona. Albelda is one of three veterans that have effectively been “dropped” from Valencia’s seventh place squad due to underperformance and inconsistencies – the other two being Miguel Angel Angulo and GK Santiago Canizares. But out with the old and in with the new, but at Boca who replaces the young Banega who in turn had replaced the young Gago? Banega’s deal at Valencia runs for 4 years. Look him up on YouTube if you want to check him out and remember his name as many also peg him to be the future replacement for Riquelme.
Now I ask La Liga specialist Ryan: is Banega a project or he could he be the one to wake a sleeping giant?
Ryan: I’ll figure I’ll jump in right here instead of making a comment. I honestly haven’t seen much of Banega to give an opinion of him on the field. However, Valencia is in a VERY precarious position right now. They are in all sorts of trouble with Cañizares and now are being taken to court by David Albelda due to Valencia’s new position consisting of ‘Instead of releasing our players, we’ll just have them sit the bench for us’. That’s not sitting too well for the former captain. Valencia is simply in a tailspin as of late and maybe Banega is the spark to bring them out of it.
My firm stand on younger players is this: Any young player is always a project.
He will face a different game in La Liga. Sure, the Clausura isn’t a cakewalk, but you have to adjust to a different system, coach, country, all of the things he currently has in Argentina. He is also a youngster at only 19 years old. From the photos he looks as if he will need to mature a bit to not be forced off the ball easily and is still going to grow as a player. It’s a shame that he couldn’t learn from Riquelme now that he is back at Boca. A year or two next to Riquelme may have paid large dividends to the young Argentinian.
Koeman won’t waste much time in putting the 19 year old to work at the Mestalla. There is no better time to give Valencia a boost than the present. I just hope that Banega is ready for an entire city’s weight to be on his shoulders. Playing at Valencia is no easy task.