Away from the headlines, Villarreal has been quietly strengthening its B team

Last year's under-the-radar pickup, Wakaso Mubarak, ended up playing an important part in Villarreal's run to the Europa League semifinals. Will one of the eight players Villarreal has already signed for the B team this summer make a similar impact?

    Remember last January, when we were all focused on Tottenham's pursuit of Rossi, and the big move of the month turned out to be Wakaso Mubarak joining from Elche? 

     Everyone (Villarreal USA included, admittedly) have been focused on major rumors in the transfer market, but Villarreal has quietly been making some nice acquisitions of young players who will start the season with our filial in La  Liga Adelante.  So let's run down the players we've added.

      Five were listed yesterday on the official site: these are

 (1) Florian Lejeune (profiled here), a young defender who has signed from Istres (France).  Lejeune attracted interest from Madrid as well as various EPL teams, and was regarded as one of the best players in Ligue 2 according to some reports.  He's right footed, can play in midfield or defense.

(2) Pedro Vázquez  is a 22-year-old midfielder who played the last four years for Celta's B team.  Eight yellow cards and two reds last year suggest he might be a bit hotblooded at times, but apart from that I haven''t been able to find much about this attacking midfielder.

(3) Antonio García Aranda "Toño" joins us from near-neighbors and financial basket case CD Castellón.  He's a left defender, played in 18 matches last year with Castellón.

(4) Iriome González González is older (24) and joins from Tenerife, who were relegated from the Segunda last year. Although this is out of date now, this is the most detailed mention I've found of him.  He'll add experience in midfield with Natxo Insa having departed, I gather, but can also play in defense.

(5) Lucas Porcar Texido is a 21-year old player who came through Espanyol's cantera system and was a Spanish U-17 and U-19 international.  Here's an old interview from Espanyol's cantera site with him; he played for the Espanyol B team the last two years.  An attacking midfielder who can also play up top.

And here, courtesy of our Spanish-based member Kenez, is information on three more signings:

 (6) Edu Ramos is a product of hometown Málaga CF’s youth ranks. He made his first team (and first division) debut at only 17, on 4 October 2009, playing almost the entire second half of the 1–1 draw at Xerez CD; but spent his first professional season almost exclusively with the B side.  In December 2010, shortly after the arrival of manager Manuel Pellegrini, Ramos was deemed surplus to requirements, and was loaned to CD Leganés in level three before being released this summer.

(7) Daniel Toribio is another midfielder who played for SD Ponferradina on loan from Málaga CF. A product of FC Barcelona’s youth ranks, Toribio joined Málaga B in 2009, from where he was promoted to the first team midway through 2009–10’s first division, his debut coming on 7 November 2009, in a 2–2 draw at CD Tenerife. On 17 August 2010, Toribio joined SD Ponferradina in division two, in a season-long loan.

(8) Kike López is a forward from UD Salamanca. A product of Real Valladolid’s youth system, Kike appeared in three first-team games in 2007–08, all as a late replacement. He would finish the season loaned to Segunda División side Polideportivo Ejido and, after 10 matches, scoring once (against Gimnàstic de Tarragona), returned to Valladolid, in July 2008. Still in La Liga, Kike again appeared rarely for Valladolid in the 2008–09 season; subsequently, he was sold to UD Salamanca in late July 2009, for three years, with Valladolid having an option to rebuy in the first two.

   Villarreal have also tried to sign Jota from Celta, but though it sounds like the player wants to join, Celta don't want to let him go.  Details here.

   Tomorrow is the official opening of the pretemporada, with Villarreal's internationals reporting on the 13th.   The B team will start its preparations as well, with a friendly against Villarreal C at the end of the week.  The club reports over 15,000 subscribers for the first three weeks of its ticket campaign, a new record and well on target to beat the 20,400 total of last year, which was itself an all-time high.  Let's get ready for some football!!

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