Valencia are getting so worried about the growing interest from Arsenal in one of their most talented young players that they have decided to hand him a lucrative new contract in order to keep him at the Mestalla.
According to talkSPORT, the Spanish club have become increasingly worried that Jose Luis Gaya could be snapped up by the Gunners by them activating his release clause. Gaya has been one of the most exceptional young players in La Liga this season and Arsenal have been on the lookout for defenders.
Arsene Wenger is already on course to complete the signing of Villareal centre-back Gabriel Paulista at some point this week, after reports claimed a work permit had been granted to the 24-year-old Brazilian, despite him never having played for Brazil, and a £11.3million deal was agreed.
Further reports have suggested that the Gunners were keen to bring in more new defenders before the deadline next week and links with Gaya would suggest this is the case. The 19-year-old has been a revelation in Spain this season, drawing plaudits from all corners.
The problem for Valencia is that, according to the talkSPORT report, he has a buyout clause in the region of £13.5million and Arsenal are ready to trigger it with the requisite bid. From the level of performance form Gaya this season, that would be a fairly reasonable price.
Valencia are desperate not to lose such a potentially valuable asset for so little, so will attempt to use a bump in wages as a way to get him to sign a new contract with a much higher buyout clause. Despite their new owner, billionaire Peter Lim, raising spending power, Los Che still don’t have the might to compete with Arsenal.
After the near complete signing of Gabriel, Wenger would have a good stock of first team defenders, so signing another could seem unnecessary to some. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are the undisputed first choice pairing at Emirates Stadium, so Gabriel would join Calum Chambers as a back up.
Do The Gunners Need Him?
Nacho Monreal has also filled in there this season, though not to great success, and he currently looks like the first choice at left-back ahead of Kieran Gibbs, which is where Gaya plays. However, Gibbs’ injury problems are well-known and Monreal has been linked with a return to Spain.
Both these facts could explain a potential move for Gaya, who would likely spend a season or two as an understudy to acclimatise to Premier League football. Although his burgeoning reputation is such that first-team guarantees may not be too difficult to find elsewhere.