Celta Vigo look to natives for stronger season

Denis Suarez

Celta Vigo are look for home comforts as they aim to improve on a nightmare campaign which almost culminated in their relegation from La Liga. It was the heroics of captain and star forward Iago Aspas which saved the Galician club from the drop – with the sum of their parts falling fall below their output as a team.

Celta have already completed the signing of midfielder Denis Suarez from Barcelona – eight years after he initially left the club – in a deal worth up to €16m after add-ons have been included. Os Celestes now have their eyes set on another Vigo-native who is on the market – Valencia forward Santi Mina.

There had been concerns that Celta had lost the local pride of their Galician roots with a dwindling number of natives from the province appearing in their first-team squad. Celta had been widely lauded for their recruitment from abroad – much of which has been highly effective – but the region produces its fair share of talented players and perhaps in recent years this has been overlooked by the clubs.

Goalkeepers Ruben Blanco and Sergio Alvarez are both local kids, alongside defenders David Costas, Kevin Vazquez and Hugo Mallo (who is also the club captain) while Brais Mendez, a highly gifted midfielder, is also from the area. Mendez could well earn a big-money move away from Balaidos in coming years, while it is likely that Aspas will stay at the club.

Denis Suarez desperately needs to re-find the form he displayed on a previous loan spell at Villarreal. He excelled there under boss Marcelino Garcia Toral, and it was suggested the pair would be reunited again this summer. However, he has instead returned home and this represents somewhat of a coup for Celta. Nonetheless, there should be a degree of concern over his career stagnation and lack of development – he struggled at Sevilla on loan, failed to breakthrough at the Blaugrana and then endured a tough four months in England on an unsuccessful loan stint at Arsenal.

Mina, 23, scored 13 goals in 45 matches this campaign after hitting 15 goals across 38 games last season and Los Che are reluctant to see the forward, who they signed from Celta in 2015 for €10m, depart. He could be used in a part-exchange deal which would see Maxi Gomez go to Valencia and would, like Denis, prove a romantic homecoming tale in the north-west of Spain.

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