Home of the current European champions, the current Europa League champions and two of the greatest institutions throughout the history of football, there’s plenty of talent to be found in La Liga.
Furthermore, whilst we in the Premier League have developed a culture of splitting television revenues fairly evenly, over in Spain there’s a lot more disparity between Barcelona and Real Madrid and the rest of the pack, meaning the majority of La Liga stars and starlets can be sourced on the cheap.
With that in mind and Brendan Rodgers’ adoration of developing young talent well known, here’s a list of FIVE La Liga starlets that should be giving the Liverpool boss food for thought.
Kicking off this list is a La Liga prospect already linked with an Anfield switch on multiple occasions – Barcelona defender Martin Montoya.
The 23 year-old burst onto the scene in 2013 with this stunning goal against Malaga:
And has since shown glimpses of his enormous potential in a cameo role for the Catalans, amassing 56 outings across all competitions. Here’s a look at the former Spain U21’s vitals over the last few seasons:
The versatile full-back, capable of playing on either side, has seen just 90 minutes’ worth of action since the appointment of Luis Enrique during the summer however, with recent reports claiming he’ll ‘100%’ leave the Nou Camp in January:
Rumours: Liverpool target Montoya ‘100% sure’ of January move http://t.co/FM8bGcV2d1
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) December 6, 2014
With right-back veteran Glen Johnson still yet to agree a new contract at Anfield, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Liverpool launch a bid from Montoya in the New Year.
But Premier League rivals Arsenal are also known admirers.
Despite netting an impressive 22 goals in 109 appearances for the club’s B-string, Russian winger Denis Chryshev has never quite broken though at Real Madrid, thus far making just one appearance for the European champions in the Copa del Rey. Here’s a clip of him in action for Castilla:
He struggled to impact on loan at Sevilla last season too, but has proved a revelation since joining Villarreal on a one-term basis this summer.
Indeed, Cheryshev’s gone on to bag two goals and seven set-ups in just eleven starts, with his assists return only bettered throughout La Liga by Cristiano Ronaldo and Koke:
That includes this clinical strike against Real Sociedad last weekend:
Liverpool’s squad currently lacks an out-and-out wideman and the seven-cap Russian international could be the perfect remedy at relatively little cost.
After his impressive start to the season for Villarreal however, Los Blancos may want to hold onto Cheryshev for at least another year.
By far and away the most impressive defender in La Liga this season from a statistical standpoint, Emiliano Velazqeuz averaged the most tackles per match and second-most interceptions per match of any player since the summer:
Incredibly, the Getafe centre-back, currently on loan from Atletico Madrid, is still just 20 years of age and his eight league appearances this term are actually his first at any level in European football, having previously represented Montevideo side Danubio on 58 occasions.
Already capped at senior level for Uruguay and now demonstrating his huge potential in the Spanish top flight, Velazquez is certainly one to watch for the future. Here’s an extended look at the 6 foot defender in action:
However, the La Liga champions signed the South American, who can also play in midfield, only last summer on a five-year deal, so bringing him to Anfield will take either a sizable investment or prolonged patience on Liverpool’s part.
Liverpool’s strikeforce is still struggling for a consistent supply of goals, so as we approach the January window, Brendan Rodgers might be tempted to launch a bid for Valencia starlet Paco Alcacer – undoubtedly the most talented home-grown goalscorer La Liga has to offer.
The 21 year-old has amassed an impressive haul of goals and assists over the last 18 months, as detailed below:
And that’s seen him rise to the forefront of the Spanish national team, with five caps and three goals following his September debut. Here’s a clip of Alcacer in action this season:
Fernando Torres-esque dare I say? Boasting no particular defining strength but an impressive all-round game.
Most appealingly, the Spain striker’s contract includes a £16million release clause, leading one publication to dub him ‘the Bargain of Europe‘ back in September.
Reports claim Valencia want to bump up his buy-out clause to an eye-watering £40million via a contract extension:
— Express Football (@ExpressFootball) October 2, 2014
Nothing has materialised yet however, and we’re now just a month away from the January window.
The curious case of Iker Muniain – an industrious winger-forward that boasts an incredible 175 La Liga appearances at just 21 years of age.
He burst onto the scene way back in the 2010-11 campaign, winning the division’s Breakthrough Player of the Year award that season, and played a vital role in Athletic Bilbao’s simultaneous rises to the Copa del Rey and Europa League final a year later.
His output leaves a lot to be desired and would probably come under intense scrutiny in the Premier League:
But Muniain is enjoying yet another season of stellar contribution in open play, as detailed below:
Loose comparisons with Danny Welbeck come to mind. If the one-cap Spain international can improve his potency in the final third, he has the potential to become a huge star at both club and international level.
Several Premier League clubs have been linked to Muniain before, including Manchester United and Liverpool, but until he develops his quality in front of goal, it’s unlikely any suitors will be prepared to match his £36million release clause.