Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Valencia adding Hugo Duro

 Following Sobrino's exit yesterday, Valencia look to have added Hugo Duro. This is a player that our fans long joked about signing. Duro has been a meme for us since the famous Copa win over Getafe when he blocked a 92nd minute goalbound shot by his own teammate Jorge Molina, leading to a counter attack where we scored and sealed the late 3-1 win to advance us in the Copa. The excited commentary by Miguel Ángel Román "tocó en Hugo Duro...tocó en Hugo Duro!" spawned viral videos and t-shirts.

Who would have guessed that 2 and a half years later Duro would be a Valencia player under Bordalas?

The deal seems to have come after a day of counter dealings. Mendes had already agreed the loan of Leeds' Helder Costa to us, but Bordalas vetoed it. Bordalas then pushed for and seems to have got Duro instead, despite opposition from the Valencia heirarchy, using our good relations at management level with Getafe. On the one hand, it's good that he can persuade them to approve the players he wants, rather than foisting players (Cutrone...Ferro...) that the coach doesn't want and will never play. On the other hand.... disputes with management over transfers, refusing Mendes options because he wants his own guys. That's a story we've heard before and it did not end well. 

Back to Duro. His stats at first glance look unimpressive: 25 La Liga games, just one goal. Stats which make Sobrino look good. However, drilling into them, there's more to the story. Most of his appearances were as late sub, meaning he's clocked up 858 minutes, equivalent to 9 and a half games. He also played a third of that time as winger. In total, he's scored once and providing 3 assists. He spent last season on a "development loan" at Real Madrid Castilla, where he did play centre forward, scoring a rather more impressive 12 goals in 19 appearances, though that was at third level. He also made 3 late sub appearances for the first team, playing the last 15 minutes against Atalanta in the Champions League round of 16.

Overall, not excited about this, but not annoyed either. He's 21, so has time to develop. It's a loan with an option to buy of 4 million. If he turns out to be useful, we exercise the buy option, if not, nothing lost. I expect him to be a squad player providing back up to people like Guedes, Maxi, Andre and not forgetting Vallejo, who I hope we will see more of. Most importantly, for now, Bordalas has the support and confidence of the board.