The first installment in a new series on the up-and-coming talent in the Villarreal cantera. First up, current Villarreal 'B' midfielder Lucas Porcar.
Past: Espanyol 'B' starlet
Porcar arrived in Vila-real this past summer from our footballing brethren Espanyol. Mauricio Pocchetino's influence on the periquito system is apparent in watching Porcar-- classy on the ball. As a result, Porcar's immersion in the Villarreal way has been relatively seamless.
Lucas was brought in to cover the departure of last season's outstanding ‘B' team performer Iago Falqué. Falqué, a La Masia graduate, currently is on loan from Tottenham Hotspur with second-division side Southampton. I'm not surprised that Spurs manager Harry Redknapp tired of his attitude issues, just as with Villarreal transfer target Giovani dos Santos.
Present: Villarreal 'B' starter
Porcar has played in a variety of attacking roles for José Francisco Molina and now Julio Velázquez. This flexibility is one of Porcar's primary assets, as he can contribute as a mediapunta (behind two strikers), enganche (advanced central midfielder), and even second striker.
On the season, Porcar has six goals, including four game-winners, and a few pretty assists to boot. On his day, he is our best attacking threat, and the ‘B' team has been no slouch in terms of offensive production (tenth-most goals in the Segunda). His patience on the ball and willingness to receive fouls to win free kicks belies his age (only 22). Molina omitted him from the squad for a few games, but he has not left the pitch much since.
Evaluation: As Velázquez prefers our traditional 4-2-2-2, Porcar is probably best as a second striker. Why? Former ‘C' teamers Moisés Gómez (at age 17!) and Manu Trigueros have taken over the wide positions, and Porcar's talents would go to waste in the doble pivote. With Joselu Moreno struggling for confidence and goals, Gerard Bordas as an over-ager, and Juanto Ortuño an unproven commodity, Porcar's consistency merits a regular spot in the starting XI.
Future: Villarreal 'A' bench
So much about Villarreal depends on the ‘A' team's continuity in the Primera. If so, and Velázquez's men also continue in the Segunda, the Yellow Submarine brass will have to decide on a number of creative attacking midfielders.
Hernán Pérez: his growth has been stunted on the ‘A' team bench (despite continuing to feature for Paraguay). Jefferson Montero: he has shown flashes on loan with Real Betis and has worked his way back into the Ecuador squad. Alejandro Martinuccio: if we exercise a €4 million purchase option; he is inevitably destined for more time on the wings. And then there's Porcar: perhaps best suited for a year-long loan with a Primera relegation battler or Segunda promotion contender (see Juan Carlos and Nicki Bille Nielsen with suddenly faltering Elche).
If a dynamo like Pérez cannot crack the ‘A' team rotation, Porcar stands little chance. But everything changes if Villarreal is not in the Primera, cannot retain creative players like Borja Valero, or both. On second-team wages, Porcar would provide an affordable attacking option, similar to Allen's favorite Roberto Trashorras (currently with Rayo Vallecano).
Outlook: Villarreal has struggled to develop pacey wing players, but we have enjoyed greater success with central forwards and midfielders. For all of the discussion about interiores, El Madrigal's narrowness and our strength in the doble pivote may play into this development gap. Lucas Porcar has the right qualities to succeed for the Yellow Submarine. With a bit of luck, a manager who believes in him, and a solid work ethic, Porcar will be a key part of the club's next generation.