PETE JENSON: Bryan Gil has shades of Darren Anderton and Tottenham fans will hope he follows in his footsteps… the potential is there and David Silva’s old mentor has tipped him for the TOP
- Tottenham are in the final stages of securing a deal for young Spaniard Bryan Gil
- The £21m deal would see Argentine Erik Lamela heading in the other direction
- Gil, a 20-year-old winger, spent last season on loan at LaLiga side Eibar
- He has shades of Spurs icon Darren Anderton in both looks and playing style
There is a bit of the Darren Anderton about 20-year-old Bryan Gil who Tottenham are on the verge of signing for £21million (€25m) plus Erik Lamela.
When Spurs signed Anderton from Portsmouth in 1992 he came with the nickname ‘Shaggy’ after the Scooby-Doo character, and as well as being the same age and position, Gil also bears a passing resemblance to Scooby’s side-kick.
Spurs fans will be happy enough if Gil emulates Anderton who Tottenham paid £1.75m in 1992.
There is potential for him to reach similar standards but Anderton had already scored in a FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool before Terry Venables swooped, Gil is yet to have his big moment against a pedigree opponent.
There are shades of Darren Anderton (right) about Bryan Gil (left), and Tottenham fans will be hoping for big things once he seals his move from Sevilla
Last season he was at Eibar who went down. For long spells he was their best player and his form earned him a call-up to the Spain team. But in two appearances for the national side he failed to convince Luis Enrique that he was quite ready for senior international football.
He made a substitute appearance against Greece and then started away at Georgia. But he was taken off at half-time in that game with Spain losing 1-0 and it was his replacement Dani Olmo who came on and got the winner in a 2-1 victory. Ferran Torres also scored.
Gil is still some way behind those two players but there is huge promise and that’s why he is in Japan for the Olympics at the moment.
Eibar’s coach last season Jose Luis Mendilibar is an expert on developing young talent and also sees the potential.
‘At his age he’s capable of [becoming] anything,’ he told Spanish radio Onda Cero this week. ‘If he goes to Tottenham he will become a better player for sure.’
The youngster spent last season on loan with Eibar where he caught the attention of Europe
Mendilibar had a young David Silva on loan at Eibar when the former Manchester City midfielder was starting out and helped developed a player who went on to become one of Spain’s most important internationals.
‘We tend to think in England this type of player struggles,’ said Mendilibar of Gil, ‘but it’s not true. He’s brave enough to take people on but he’s smart too and can link-up with team-mates. And he doesn’t get knocked out of his stride by tough challenges; he picks himself up and goes again against the same opponent.’
But there was a note of caution too from Mendilibar: ‘I told him last season that when he receives the ball from a team-mate in an attacking move the opponent is usually right on top of him because the opposition are set-up in defensive mode.
‘What he has to try to do is win more second balls, or interceptions, so that he can catch teams out when they are less set-up to deal with him. We spoke about that and he took those ideas on board.’
Mendilibar watched Gil score four goals in a team that struggled in attack scoring only 29 times as they finished bottom. It will be fascinating to see him alongside better players – something that Sevilla supporters were hoping would happen with them.
A former mentor of David Silva has tipped Gil to reach the summit of world football
‘Selling the best young players is like selling the badge’ complained one below the news story about his imminent departure on Marca’s website.
Another called it a ‘horrible error’ in line with previous decisions to get ride of attacking players Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto and Ciro Immobile.
It’s debatable how many minutes Gil would have had for Sevilla this season. They want to compete in the Champions League and win LaLiga, making the most of the financial problems at Real Madrid and Barcelona.
But Gil still feels like someone who would have contributed and selling him is seen more as the lesser evil compared to losing Jules Kounde than them believing he is not going to make it.
Other Sevilla fans – recognising the sale of Gil means Kounde is now likely to stay – have accepted the sale but complained of the price suggesting that a similar sale with roles reversed would have the English club asking for €80m, not €25m.
Erik Lamela is set to go in the opposite direction as Spurs fund a player-plus-cash deal
Sevilla youth team director Pablo Blanco calls Gil and old school left-footed left winger with ‘rubber ankles’ all the better for wrapping his foot around the ball and crossing from tight areas. Tottenham will want to work on those innate qualities and up the other parts of his game.
He can run forever but the work-rate needs directing so that his tracking back more effectively cuts off avenues of opposition passes.
He sometimes looks more comfortable running at a full-back than running into space on a counter-attack, and he needs to mix-up his repertoire adding some diagonal runs inside to the old fashioned outside-left routine.
But coaches throughout his development so far say his desire to improve and willingness to work at becoming a more complete player is second to none. And no one who watched him last season doubts there is potentially much much more to come.