When it comes to young, up and coming Spanish players, a select few make the conversation every time.
Under their guiding star Xavi, teenagers Gavi, Nico González and Pedri play regularly and are part of Barcelona’s inventory. As for Real Madrid, fanatics will know Antonio Blanco and Miguel Gutierrez despite their lack of La Liga game action.
All of these names potentially have bright futures, but others outside of the popular realm are catching the attention of clubs and fans, and at a young age. There is no guarantee that 2022 will see a thriving, high-paying transfer market. Nonetheless, the following characters are poised to invade the center circle from the periphery. If they do, their value could steadily increase.
Flying full-back Pedro Porro is unique and must be included in this selection for two main reasons.
Unlike many of his countrymen, he was brave enough to leave Spanish club football, where he could have become any other player. The result was a fine time at Portuguese Champions League quarter-finalists Sporting Lisbon. He was able to market himself in a top league that doesn’t get the same eagle eye focus as La Liga, nor the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A or Ligue 1.
Furthermore, the 22-year-old has embraced the position of full-back and charges up and down the field. His big test will come in the knockout rounds of the Champions League, where he faces a tough challenge against the might of Manchester City. However, if he’s resplendent in green and white, he’ll be firmly in the shop window much like Bruno Fernandes was before his move to England.
In the central areas, Basque-born Martín Zubimendi has been a regular for Real Sociedad this season and doesn’t seem out of place in one of the better teams in La Liga.
Since its explosive start, Sociedad’s momentum has slowed considerably. At best, however, it can cause problems for any team and Zubimendi has been tasked with stabilizing the side – sometimes as the sole authority in defensive midfield. No stranger to top-flight football, Zubimendi has international experience, having traveled to Japan with Spain for the last Olympic tournament.
Valencia defender Hugo Guillamón is similar to Zubimendi and can also play in central defence. Given Sociedad’s concede of fewer goals this season, as well as the progress made by teammates Mikel Oyarzabal and Ander Barranetxea, Sociedad seems like the best place for Zubimendi at the moment. There, his status only increases from that point on.
Espanyol have a jewel in their attacking line in 23-year-old Javi Puado. He’s one of the reasons why relegation seems unlikely for the promoted team, who are comfortably placed in the middle of the table.
Physically, the attacking midfielder is perfectly built for top-flight football, but his intelligence to drift down the front line sets him apart from others at his position. Puado often starts on the flank and is also dangerous as a backup, linking up with Raúl de Tomás, another recent Spain international crowned player.
Assuming he continues his rise, other teams will be interested in Puado, whose break at Real Zaragoza came before Espanyol called. Having said 2021 was his best year in football yet (Spanish) there’s no reason 2022 couldn’t be even better. Despite starting his career in Catalonia, he’s the type of player’s title that Real Madrid would like to one day have.