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Santi Mina move secures another Spanish starlet for Valencia

Since billionaire investor Peter Lim took over Valencia, 66/1 shots with Coral to win La Liga this coming campaign, there has been a clear vision when it comes to player recruitment.

Los Che’s reverently named coach Nuno Espirito Santo has just two players from outside either Hispanic or Iberian culture currently on the books at the Mestalla.

Punters can look no further than the Bats’ latest buy, teenage attacking talent Santi Mina for €7m from provincial club Celta Vigo, to see a typical example of this.

Former Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo’s big money move apart, Valencia are bringing in young domestic talent, not splashing out on major foreign faces like the Real Madrid model of modern times.

Contrasting the Bernabeu approach with that of the Mestalla is interesting. While Real did their business early, securing the services of highly-rated Brazil right back Danilo whatever the cost (€31m) before this summer really started, Mina’s move to the Bats reveals something different. It’s best told in his own words.

“It’s like I am in a dream, to arrive at a big club like Valencia at such a young age is not easy, I know the responsibility that I have,” Mina said upon signing a six-year deal with Los Che.

Soccer - La Liga - Celta Vigo v Real Madrid - Balaidos Stadium

“I am going to fight each day to repay Valencia’s confidence, and my objective is to help my teammates and the coach to continue being one of the best teams in Spain.”

What the Bats have bought in striking starlet Mina is a humble Galician youngster, who helped ride the crest of Celta’s resurgent waves that lap against the shores of this Atlantic port.

Porto’s Estadio do Dragao is less than 100 miles down the Iberian Peninsula’s western coastline from Vigo, yet the Danilo deal cost more than four times Mina moving to Valencia.

The Bats turning to youth is clear when you examine the age of some of their recent signings. Alongside academy graduates Paco Alcacer and Jose Luis Gaya, Portuguese trio Ruben Vezo, Joao Cancelo and Andre Gomes are all 21 or younger.

Soccer - La Liga - Real Madrid v Valencia - Santiago Bernabeu Stadium

Supplemented by an experienced spine in their prime, with Diego Alves in goal and Argentina pair Nicolas Otamendi and Enzo Perez marshalling defence and midfield, Los Che’s bright prospects will also get the chance to test themselves against Europe’s elite, provided they come through the Champions League play-offs.

Valencia, outsiders in that continental competition at 50/1, are an intriguing club to keep an eye on, as this project bankrolled by Lim to get the Bats back into the limelight continues to develop.

We will have to wait with lively anticipation to see if this recruitment model can bring sustained success back to the Mestalla.