Tottenham Hotspur are in negotiations with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk over Yevhen Konoplyanka, per Pete O'Rourke at Sky Sports, but Valencia's Rayo Vallecano loanee Jonathan Viera should be an alternative if the Konoplyanka deal collapses.
So, here is a scouting report on Viera, a 24-year-old, 5'7" Spaniard.
Dealing With Dnipro
Konoplyanka, a 24-year-old Ukrainian international, is a special player on Dnipro's left flank.
He has completed the second most dribbles in the UEFA Europa League, with 32, second only to Kevin Kampl of Red Bull Salzburg (33).
Konoplyanka lived up to the hype against Spurs in the two Europa League round of 32 legs: converted a penalty, hit the post, registered eight shots and completed 13 dribbles.
However, his dreams of playing at a higher level are hindered by his boss, Dnipro president Ihor Kolomoyskyi.
Kolomoyskyi, also the governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, is not going to lose sleep over breaching a footballer's contract when he was brave enough to call Russian president Vladimir Putin a "schizophrenic shorty," per Leonid Bershidsky at Bloomberg View.
The phrase, "My way or the highway," is a fitting description of how Kolomoyskyi conducts business.
Konoplyanka's deal falling through is poetic justice for Liverpool as owner John W. Henry said "contracts don't seem to mean a lot," per the Guardian, when he revealed Luis Suarez did have a buyout clause, but management made a hard-line decision not to relinquish Suarez to Arsenal.
Since 2009, Kolomoyskyi has spent around £34.2 million on Derek Boateng, Evgen Seleznev, Giuliano, Nikola Kalinic, Oleksandr Gladky and Samuel Inkoom. In that same time period, Kolomoyskyi has not sold a player for £10 million-plus, per Transfermarkt.co.uk.
Kolomoyskyi is worth $2.1 [£1.3] billion dollars, per Forbes; therefore, the Dnipro president does not need to sell his most valuable footballers.
If Spurs chairman Daniel Levy hits a brick wall in talks with Kolomoyskyi, who always wants to be in the power position, there should be a transfer backup to Konoplyanka.
Here is a suggested transfer alternative: Valencia-owned Viera, who is the same age as Konoplyanka (24) and is impressing on loan at Rayo in La Liga, the strongest league in Europe, according to UEFA country coefficient rankings, per UEFA.com.
Viera is a feisty player, who flew under the radar at Las Palmas before being discovered by Valencia.
He only started 41.1 percent of league games he was involved in at Valencia last season, hence the loan to Rayo this season.
Viera is a quick learner and is tactically flexible, a trait that has enabled him to play as a right attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1, a left forward in a 4-3-3, a central attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 and a false nine in a 4-2-3-1.
He has played predominantly as a No. 10 or on the left wing under Rayo manager Paco Jemez.
Like Spurs loanee Iago Falque, the fleet-footed Lass Bangoura and the artful Ruben Rochina, Viera is one of several Rayo players who can create separation from a marker.
Subjectively speaking, Viera's technical prowess edges out Falque and Rochina, two gifted players, who are former Barcelona cantera [academy] prospects.
In Rayo's 3-2 defeat to Real Madrid, Viera had his back to Real goalkeeper Diego Lopez, with left-back Marcelo and centre-back Pepe rushing in with the aim of stealing the ball.
Viera exquisitely flicked the ball over his head, taking Marcelo out of the play and leaving Pepe one step behind.
In reaction, Pepe conceded a needless penalty, which Viera converted; he would later score another penalty after Marcelo fouled Rayo super-sub Alberto Bueno.
The big difference between Falque, Lass, Rochina and Viera is that the latter is more productive and makes better decisions with the ball.
|League Only||Goals||Shots Per Goal||Assists||Key Passes Per Game*|
|* pass that leads to a shot|
Viera is a dangerous crosser of the ball as evident in Rayo's 3-1 defeat to Osasuna when he whipped in an incisive cross for Rayo centre-back Alejandro Galvez to score.
In Rayo's 4-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid, Viera sent in a precise cross, which left the Atleti defence in disarray, allowing Rayo centre-forward Joaquin Larrivey to head home.
Viera is not just a predictable set-and-cross midfielder.
There is cleverness in his game, he is creative and he can play one-touch, as shown in a 3-1 win over Almeria.
He received a pass from Rayo defensive midfielder Roberto Trashorras and offloaded the ball with a first-time instep pass, which led to Larrivey poaching a goal.
The major takeaway of Viera's loan spell at Rayo thus far is that he can do more with lesser teammates.
He has scored and created more league goals combined (12) for 16th-placed Rayo than £25.5 [€30] million signing Isco (10), who plays for table-topping Real Madrid.
If you exclude Viera's three penalties (two vs. Real and one against Real Sociedad; had a penalty saved by Atleti's Chelsea loanee Thibaut Courtois), Viera has scored two goals from 44 shots in league play, meaning he takes 22 shots per goal.
His current shots per goal (9.4) is inefficient, and his adjusted shots per goal (minus penalties) balloons to 22, which tells you he needs to improve his shooting in front of goal.
Viera plays the game with intensity and at times he has gone over the line.
In his last season at Las Palmas, he was red carded three times, per Transfermarkt.co.uk.
This season for Rayo, Viera received a pointless red card for lashing out at Sevilla central midfielder Stephane Mbia.
Mbia had body-checked Viera, referee Mateu Lahoz made a non-call and Mbia nicked the ball from Viera.
Before Mbia could accelerate away and launch a counter-attack, Viera swung his leg back and hacked Mbia down—that is unbridled Charlie Adam-type violence.
Viera's emotional immaturity would explain why his modest career thus far is incongruous with his world-class ability.
There is an opening in the left-wing slot at Valencia since Viera is having a better season (five goals, seven assists) than Valencia left-attacking midfielder Pablo Piatti (three goals, two assists).
Piatti, however, has had an injury-plagued campaign.
Logically, Valencia will retain Viera since Piatti is not certain to start week in, week out.
But if Valencia are open to selling Viera, he should be a transfer target for Spurs.
Viera would be a first-rate alternative to Konoplyanka should Spurs not seal the deal for the Ukrainian international.
Statistics via WhoScored
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!