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This Xavi Quintilla deal makes no sense for Villarreal and Norwich

Why has Unai Emery’s squad structured this deal in this way?

Girona V Villarreal, Copa del Rey. Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

When I first heard the rumors about Quintilla to Norwich, I really didn’t think much about it. Norwich have Jamal Lewis who they are very happy with, and who Liverpool tried and failed to sign away. So why, exactly, would they want another LB who is probably too good for their current level? (Norwich were just relegated to the English second tier).

So first and foremost, unless the homegrown Lewis leaves, Quintilla isn’t going to start there. My suspicion is that Norwich making this move signals that Lewis will in fact be leaving, but Liverpool now have their backup LB and I’m not entirely sure where Lewis is supposed to move on to. Norwich isn’t an English club I’m particularly fond of (that ties to a old internet beef with Norwich supporters about the letters ‘NCFC’ and a club near where I live), but they play excellent football and Quintilla would be a great link up piece in their system, personally. For those curious (okay fine, I admit, only I was curious), here are how Quintilla and Lewis stacked up against one another last season. Of course they played in separate leagues, but their percentiles are being graded by the same standard:

What baffles me about this move from a Villarreal perspective is that we gave Norwich a permanent buy option. Look, with Alberto Moreno and Jaume Costa here, I have no problem at all loaning out the 23 year old and letting the two veterans rotate each other for a year, but Jaume is in his 30s and Alberto is made of glass, so what exactly is our three year plan at the position if Quintilla gets bought by Norwich? This seems really short sighted on the club’s part.

I get that at this point Villarreal is trying to manage some salaries, and that we got Quintilla on a free so any fee paid by Norwich is profit for the club, but I am personally not ready to give up on him as a player yet. Some of you may disagree, and if so I’d love to hear your thoughts on that in the comments, but it seems to me we could have loaned Quintilla out for a year with no purchase option, see how he develops, and then given him another shot in 2021-2022. Now, Norwich may decline the buy option and we could still get him back, but this move doesn’t seem to have been made with the intention of giving him any further chances. After all, Quintilla is a top tier quality LB who has a few rough edges on his game that need development. Is he really going to be pushed to be better in the second division in England? It seems to me like a smaller club in Spain would have been a better fit.