Now that Borja Valero has forever broken the belief that Spanish players can't make it in Serie A, it's opened the floodgates. The newest possible addition is Barcelona winger Cristian Tello, who's been on loan at Porto since last year and will remain there until the end of the season. He's been capped once by Spain and, uh, twice by Catalonia, which, nah, we're not getting into that can of worms.
In 20 appearances for Porto this year, the 24-year-old has 2 goals and 1 assist. He's had trouble nailing down a starting spot, which has to be frustrating for a player who's been stuck behind a bunch of all-time greats since graduating from La Masia. He made his debut with Barcelona aged 20, scoring a brace in the 9-0 rout against L'Hospitalet. Over the next 3 years, he piled up 86 appearances for the Blaugrana, scoring 20 goals and providing 14 assists.
Tello's most noticeable feature is his pace: he's just flat-out fast. With that, he brings some decent technique. He's an efficient, rather than skillful, dribbler. When denied space to break into, he tends to keep his passing tidy rather than incisive, as one might expect from a Barcelona lifer, although he certainly can play the killer pass. He's a decent crosser of the ball and, while not a complete liability on defense, isn't exactly a menacing presence, either. His game, boiled down, is about pace and intelligent movement. He'll hug the touchline to create space, then cut in at the last moment. He's almost completely two-footed, which is nice, but seems to prefer playing on the right.
Naturally, things are complicated. He's on loan to Porto from Barcelona until the end of the year, but Fiorentina want him now and have entered talks with both clubs. While getting that sorted is complicated enough, it gets worse. La Viola would like to get him on loan until the end of the year with a redemption clause of €7 million. That figure seems to be the deal breaker, as Barcelona are demanding either more money to redeem the loan or a buyback clause inserted into the whole thing. So who really knows if this is even possible? While you ponder, enjoy some of Tello's greatest hits.