Spain’s capacity to develop young talents who blossom into world-class players matches that of any country in Europe. Year upon year, players make great strides to achieving national team status or big-money moves to elite clubs. It seems each season another young La Roja talent looks set to take Spain’s Primera Division by storm.
Valencia’s Ferran Torres is one such player. Quick, agile, confident, Torres has already won top domestic silverware and national trophies to back up his bright start in the professional game, but what success lies ahead?
Born in the Valencian province of Foios, from a small town of just 7,000 inhabitants, it took only six years before the youngster was snapped up by Valencia’s youth academy. A decade later he was making his senior debut and, less than two years on, turned down interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona while renewing his contract with Valencia and gaining promotion to the first-team squad.
Previously, whilst away with the Spanish under 17 side, he won the European Championships – this would prove a sign of things to come. Two years later, Torres would again be called up for the under 19 European Championships and would again win the competition, having a huge hand in Spain’s lifting of the trophy.
Facing a Portugal side brimming with talent, Torres, having been one of the stars of the tournament, was twice found in the box and, with his weaker foot, displayed his levels of ambidextrousness by slotting past the Portuguese keeper on both occasions. Firstly with a volley and then a low driven shot to seal a 2-0 win for Spain.
These goals represent a strong part of the Spaniard’s style, a desire to be in the right place at the right time and be a goalscoring option for his coach. Looking at the goals Torres has scored this season, they all display a strong awareness of space and accuracy.
Loving to get into the box, Torres is also keen to shoot from outside the box – one such effort resulted in a stunning strike into the top corner against Granada in November. So far in the 2019-20 campaign, he has chipped in with six goals and seven assists in all competitions.
This confidence to grasp and create his own opportunities bleeds into his technical skill. Whilst his dribbling success sits at around 50%, he is attempting nearly five dribbles per game in addition to bordering on 10 offensive duels. These are the statistics that show the ambition of a young Spaniard who plays without fear.
Torres is yet to earn a senior cap, and with the postponement of Euro 2020 it’s unlikely it’ll be this summer, but head coach Luis Enrique would be naive not to consider Valencia’s prized asset for the national side. Spain typically deploy a 4-3-3 formation, which differs from the regular 4-4-2 of Valencia. However, Torres’ time on the right side of midfield for the under 19s would stand him in good stead.
Competition for the position is rife. Last year saw Marco Asencio, Rodrigo Moreno, Iago Aspas, Mikel Oyarzabal and Gerard Moreno all occupy the spot. Moreno was arguably the most effective, scoring three goals in the final two international games of the year. When speaking to The Modern Footballer, Jon Driscoll, La Liga commentator and podcast host was positive about the possibility of Torres being eventually given a chance by Luis Enrique. “Yes, he should do. They have shown plenty of willingness to give people a chance.”
Domestically, another intriguing summer is on the horizon for Torres. The 20-year-old is entering the final 12 months of his contract, expiring on June 30, 2021. Some top European clubs are reportedly interested in the promising winger, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Liverpool among the clubs set to be keen on landing him.
Valencia still haven’t been able to extend his contract although their aim is to tie down their prized asset for as long as possible. Los Che have attempted to reach an agreement with the player for the last eight months but, with things not having progressed as they would have liked, they are beginning to reach a point where it is all or nothing. The release clause is €100m, which was inserted into his last deal signed back in 2018.
If there is no new deal agreed, Valencia will have to put him on the transfer market this summer. The Primera club have had a positive record under current owner Peter Lim with regard to getting key players to sign new deals, as seen with the likes of Dani Parejo, Jose Gaya and Rodrigo Moreno. Whilst Valencia fans may be beginning to sweat at the thought of their young star leaving, a bright future certainly awaits Torres. These next few months will be decisive in determining his long-term future.