Premier League Alert: Esteban Granero

GraneroSpain has a lot to offer the Premiership – whether it’s top Spanish players who can be tempted over in the veins of David Silva or David Villa, or cheap, unwanted players who could do a fine job at a Premiership club like Rafael Van der Vaart or Ruud van Nistelrooy – there’s a lot on offer over in Spain. Many names have been bandied around in suggestions of a move to England but there’s been one option overlooked who I think any English club would do very well to sign and that’s Esteban Granero of Real Madrid, a 22 year old with a couple of highly successful years of first team football to his name and an array of talents at his disposal.

Granero is a product of the Real Madrid youth system but didn’t make it up to the first team, instead being loaned out to local rivals Getafe in 2007 and impressing enough to be signed on a permanent basis the following season through Real recognised his potential and kept a buy back clause on him in case they wanted “The Pirate” to return to his boyhood club. And Real did exercise that option the following year, bringing Granero back alongside all the newly signed Galacticos – a signing that suggests high praise for a lesser name like the former Spain under 21 international.

Granero hit three goals in pre-season for Real Madrid this summer and then netted against Espanyol in his first start for the club – he’s a fine finisher, a fine passer and he has fine technique and he excels playing just behind the strikers or as a playmaker. His problem is that he’s never going to be a first team player at Real – not whilst the likes of Kaka are at the club, he won’t displace them. It’s credit to him that Real decided to bring him back at all but, like with Alvaro Negredo, it could be a case of a player returning only to be sold for a profit soon after and many clubs would become interested if Granero did become available.

Esteban Granero is the kind of player that would suit the Premiership – his finishing and passing skills remind me somewhat of a young Paul Scholes which is as big a compliment as I can think of giving – he excelled for Getafe and got European experience with them and has now played on the big stage having been back at Real; a move would definitely help his career and prevent it from stagnating on the bench and why not go to England? I think Granero would happily move if a club showed an interest in him. But where could he go? Well, a title challenger is a possibility but I can’t really see Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United taking a chance on a 22 year old who’d cost them around £6 million minimum even though he could prove a fine signing. Liverpool on the other hand would be a good destination as he’s the kind of Spanish player Rafa Benitez loves but the price would definitely put Liverpool off and he’d have to compete for a place with Steven Gerrard if he moved there anyway/

A thing about Granero though is that he’s not afraid to leave a bigger club to try his luck on a smaller stage – his initial move to Getafe showed that. The likes of Aston Villa, Manchester City and Tottenham would appeal to Granero and he’d be a real coup of a signing for any of those clubs could they get him. If the finances allowed it then an even smaller club may be able to entice Granero – he revels in playing a starring role for his team and craves first team football. He has a strong desire to fight for and win a first team role at Real as is to be expected from a former youth team graduate but Granero is a realist and will know how unlikely the chances of breaking into the Real team are making a move a possibility for him.

As far as the Premiership goes, Granero is a bit of an unknown quantity, if known at all. Not the biggest name and English fans won’t have seen much of Getafe in action so won’t know of his performances over the last couple of years. Granero looks a real gem of a player though, capable of starring for decent teams and he’s still just 22 – there’s a possibility Real will want to hold on to him as they know how talented he is but they have shown a disregard for bothering with youth prospects in recent years which has led to the departures of the likes of Alvaro Negredo, Javi Garcia, Ruben de la Red, Miguel Torres – all good youth prospects but all of whom Real cannot be bothered with. If Granero is available for a move then I’d recommend him to any English club – the young playmaker shows touches of genius and would make a highly impressive signing who, I think, would light up the Premiership.