Valencia are ready to commit the long-term future of Fran Villalba to Mestalla with a new deal following the speculation linking him with Barcelona, Real Madrid and especially Manchester United, it has been reported. Super Deporte claims that the negotiations are well advanced and, barring any “last-minute big surprises”, the 18-year-old midfielder will sign a new deal this week.
Villalba has been linked with a number of European giants in recent times after being labelled as one of the greatest jewels of the Valencia academy, which in recent years has overseen the emergence of European top stars like Manchester City’s David Silva and Barcelona’s Jordi Alba. Yet, he was named in the first team during preseason in 2015 by former boss Nuno Espirito Santo before formerManchester United legend Gary Neville handed him his first-team debut during his short tenure in La Liga.
In May Super Deporte reported Real Madrid were closely monitoring the situation while later Plaza Deportivo suggested Barcelona were consequently considering to pay Villalba’s €4m (£3.6m, $4.4m) release clause to lure him to the Nou Camp.
Yet, Villalba’s agent, Vicente Fores, recently told Sport Witness that United were also interested in his services and had even made initial contact to find out about his availability.
“[United have contacted] me. Just a contact to know his situation. They’re already aware. I don’t know about Valencia. But I reckon they will make it hard,” Forés said. “We’ve just started talking. It’s up to United.”
Super Deporte reported last week that Valencia had been forced to address the situation and had arranged a meeting with Villalba’s agents in order to convince the player to snub the likes of United and Barcelona and sign a new long-term deal at Valencia instead.
Now the local publication claims that the Valencia board and the players’ agents had a first fruitful meeting on Thursday in which they advanced the negotiations for Villalba to sign a new long-term deal.
Yet, the report understands that the agreement is imminent and could be signed in a new meeting expected to take place this week.
Villalba would get a pay rise as part of the new contract but Super Deporte claims that his current €4m release clause will also be increased in order to ward off potential suitors like Manchester United.