Valencia's Peter Lim backed recruitment drive is steadily swinging into gear, with Los Ches set to announce the arrival of Colombian centre-back Éder Álvarez Balanta from Argentinian side River Plate.
Valencia are finalising a deal for the highly-rated 21-year-old, although due to his status as a non-EU player, manager Nuno Santo will have to clear room in his squad to allow Balanta to join.
Who is Éder Balanta?
Balanta joined the River Plate youth set-up at an early age, making the move from Colombian side Academia in 2011. He didn't have to wait long for his first-team debut, appearing against Racing Club in 2013. His impact was immediate and clear for all to see, with Inter Milan reportedly bidding for the youngster's services after only five senior games.
This led to a €12million release clause being inserted into his contract, although upon signing a new deal in July 2013, this fee rose to €30million to ward off the apparent interest from Barcelona. Despite this, River Plate's vice-owner Omar Solassi told Barça Balanta could be their's for just €15 million.
Standing just under 6ft, Balanta is a ferociously powerful centre-back, with speed across the ground one of his main attributes. As is usually the case with South American prospects, much-hype surrounds Balanta, with commentators often going over the top with their praise of a player still in his infancy in senior football.
However, the talent is most certainly there, and Balanta was a member of the Colombia World Cup squad that impressed the global audience, starting in the win against Japan.
Replacement for Jérémy Mathieu
With Mathieu headed to Barcelona, Balanta will be a straight-swap for the Frenchman. Los Ches have arguably got the better end of the deal, although the Colombian doesn't possess the experience that Mathieu does. Both players are left-footed and comfortable in possession, but Balanta's speed means he is able to recover when, rarely, his inexperience leads him into bad areas of the pitch.
Balanta will join a growing Valencia squad, backed by the funds of Singaporean businessman Lim. Former Real Madrid and Benfica striker Rodrigo arrived on loan, although the deal should be made permanent in the future.
His partnership with fellow Spaniard Paco Alcácer will be an intriguing one to watch for Los Che's supporters, and could potentially be a future Spanish strike force at international level.
All action Portuguese midfielder André Gomes has also joined from Benfica, and currently stands as Valencia's biggest buy of the summer, at around €13 million. Balanta will be joined by another exciting South American import in Rodrigo de Paul, who arrived from Racing Club in a €6.5 deal.
Valencia are building an exciting project for next season, and with the added defensive stability of Balanta alongside Argentine Nicolas Otamendi, they are looking as solid at the back as they are potent in attack.
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