“The future is bright. The future is yellow.” That’s how the official announcement on the club website let us know that contracts had been extended for Alex Baena, Fer Nino, Yeremi Pino, and Filip Jorgensen. These four young players have all shown the potential to be staples of the Villarreal project for a very long time.
I’ve said before, one of the things that really excited me about the business Villarreal did this past summer was the balance of it. We signed some veterans who could provide leadership and experience, and we also signed young players who were ready to play now while still getting better. On top of that balance in the market itself, we also have our cantera continuing to turn out promising players. So who are these four players and why should you as a Villarreal fan be so excited?
I can’t help but start with Fer. Ever since he scored THAT goal against Alaves last year, winning the match in the 89th minute pretty much as soon as he came on, Fer Nino is a center forward with a lot of tools that I like already- though hopes that he would step into the first team and fill the Carlos Bacca role as third striker were probably a bit premature. He has already scored once in the Europa League this season. Fer’s contract with the club now runs until 2024. Here’s that Alaves goal:
Baena has played 46% of the available minutes in the Europa League so far this season, and has looked really good in doing so as an attacker starting on either side or also centrally with the ability to push up. Still just 19, a year younger than Fer, I think he still needs to find what his best position is at the senior level so that he can truly grow into the player he’s capable of being, but his versatility is part of what is keeping him on the field right now in European competition. He’s got a contract until 2025, now. Here’s his goal against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Pino has now extended his contract until 2024, he’s a left winger who can sometimes be seen filling a role as part of a ‘top two’ depending on the team’s shape. Speaking subjectively, he might have the most raw ability of anyone on this list. He has 117 minutes of Europa League play so far, and with our strong start in the first half of the group stage in Europe I expect we’ll see (and these other youngsters) a lot in the last three matches. Yeremi has two La Liga appearances already, and frankly I would like to see him grow into Moi Gomez’ natural understudy on the left hand side. Against Qarabag, he came on with us down a goal and took this incredible chance to get us level:
The young goalkeeper may not have the first team notoriety of the rest of these young stars yet, but the 18 year old is a keeper for our B team for a reason who has made the bench in the Europa League. Originally from Sweden, his new contract with the club runs until 2025. If you were able to watch some of our preseason matches, you would have seen Jorgensen in net. With Asenjo in his 30s and Rulli not far behind, it’s good to have a young prospect in this position growing towards his future first team chance. In the video below you can see some of his distribution skills as well as nice command over his box just before the half against Atletico Levante.
The future is bright
It remains to be seen who among these four will actually be able to cement their place with the first team, but it’s always exciting to see our cantera producing exciting young talents. Congratulations to each of these four young men, and Endavant!