Liverpool are following the progress of Real Betis wide attacking midfielder Alvaro Vadillo and could submit a transfer bid (as per Pete O'Rourke at Sky Sports), so here is a scouting report on Vadillo, a 19-year-old Spanish youth international.
Promising But Not Productive
What stands out about Vadillo is his burst of pace and his knack of creating separation from opposing defenders is a special trait.
Just ask Barcelona right-back Martin Montoya, who was one step behind play, which enabled Vadillo to surge to the by-line.
He delivered an accurate cross to teammate Juan Carlos whose header forced a great save from Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
Speed is one asset but vision is another for Vadillo, who dragged Valencia right-back Joao Pereira and centre-back Ricardo Costa out of position, had the presence of mind to see Salva Sevilla's run and hit a perfect through-ball, which put him through on goal to score.
Remember that beautiful cross to Carlos?
Do you know how many crosses Vadillo has completed this season?
10? 20? 30? Nope, three.
Therein lies the problem with Vadillo: inefficiency.
He can send a first-rate cross against Barca but has mishit 93.5 percent of his crosses throughout the season (playing games on the left wing would not have helped).
In 32 La Liga games since the 2011-12 season, Vadillo has not scored a league goal and has registered four assists.
Are there valid explanations for his woeful statistics?
Yes. 90.6 percent of his league games are sub-affected, therefore he cannot pad up his numbers.
There are other factors which have adversely affected Vadillo's progress: his talent not being harnessed by then-Betis manager Pepe Mel (currently the manager of West Bromwich Albion), rupturing a cruciate ligament and Betis going from competing in the UEFA Europa League to being the worst team in La Liga.
4 - Betis are still waiting for their first victory with Juan Carlos Garrido at the helm (D1 L3 so far). Insufficient.— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 12, 2014
Vadillo is a world-class prospect but has found ways not to score or create on a regular basis.
Beticos supporters have seen this before in the form of Denilson (the former world transfer fee record-holder), Rafael Sobis (remember him?) and Jefferson Montero (on his day, one of the most dangerous dribblers in the world).
Why Would Liverpool Want Vadillo?
According to James Pearce at The Liverpool Echo, an agreement between Liverpool and Basel "remains some way off" in right-winger Mohamed Salah's possible transfer to Anfield.
Sascha Empacher, Mohamed Salah's agent, told me: "There are several clubs interested in Salah, especially from Spain, Germany and UK"— Fabrizio Romano (@FabRomano21) January 6, 2014
So maybe the Vadillo transfer rumour is a means to an end in pressuring Basel to sell Salah to Liverpool.
Duplicitous behaviour aside, you can see why Liverpool would be tracking Vadillo.
Vadillo can play on both wings in a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1 and with Betis bottom of La Liga, expect manager Juan Carlos Garrido to chop and change as he attempts to stage the great escape.
This means Vadillo will experience different formations and possibly a position change.
It will prepare him well to being thrown into quirky scenarios by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who has given Victor Moses (on loan from Chelsea), predominantly a wide player, several starts centrally this season.
Vadillo is quick and so is Moses, what is the difference?
Well, Vadillo's upside is higher, he has better ball-control and he takes his defensive duties seriously.
This was evident when Vadillo hassled Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta to the extent that he had the ball poked away by Vadillo's teammate Nono.
Should Betis suffer relegation, Vadillo could be bargain-basement cheap.
They will hold out until they receive a fee in the ball-park of Joaquin (signed for Valencia in 2006 for £14 million) as Vadillo has the potential to reach Joaquin's level.
Is there an alternative La Liga transfer target to Vadillo?
There is. His name is Yacine Brahimi, Granada's 23-year-old Algerian international, who generally starts on the left, but can play any attacking position.
He will either have 8/10 or 4/10 performances. So if he ever manages to sort out his inconsistency, he will be a world-beater.