Barca’s one of the newest transfer targets is José Gaya, who is very liked by Mateu Alemany. It’s not the first time we hear that the Catalans are interested in him. They have been watching the Valenciaian for years now, and maybe this time they will finally sign him, but first of all, let’s see who is he, and why is Barca so keen on him!
José Luis Gaya born in the town of Pedreguer, near Valencia, in 1995. He signed up to the club’s academy in 2006. A few years later, he became a regular with Spain’s under-16 side and made his senior debut with Valencia B in an away match against Andorra FC. That was his only appearance in the season because he faced stiff competition for the left-back slot. (Not many know that originally he started playing as a striker and then converted into a left-back.)
The breakthrough was in 2012 when he was called up to the first team by Mauricio Pellegrino, and a month later, he made his debut in a Copa Del Rey game against UE Llagostera. He impressed the club officials and got a new five-year contract. His rise for Spain was very rapid, and he played at every level from under-17 to under-20 in the 2012-13 campaign. He would then make the Spain under-20 World Cup squad in the summer. His first goal for the first team was in a 3-1 win over Benfica in the Emirates Cup before impressing in the friendly with Manchester United at Old Trafford. Since then, he played more than 250 matches for the club and is a crucial player and captain of the team.
Style of play
Thanks to his attacking traits sometimes he can be mistaken for a winger. When Valencia played in the 3 center-back system, he played more as a wing-back. It allowed him to have a greater focus on getting into more attacking positions. He makes the attacking fearsome with his impressive electric pace and that helps him in defending as well. Don’t expect him to win an aerial battle against a physical winger, however, he is not afraid to take risks and challenge his opponents. His range of passing is very good, and his crossings can be dangerous too. He has a 80% successful dribbling rate this season and has 2-2 assists and goals in 13 matches in the league. Gaya is a mix of intelligence and technique.
He is a complete left-back and has all of the qualities you expect of a modern full-back. I think he would perfectly fit in Xavi’s system and also be able to challenge or even replace Jordi Alba. He has every quality that Alba has, and maybe he can bring even more to the team. In my opinion, he is more complete than Alba, and Barca’s left side would be in good hands if we decide to sign him.