Tottenham's transfer window back in January was a pretty poor one, best summed up by the signings of Louis Saha and Ryan Nelson on free transfers, who have both since been released. One other piece of business they tied up was the permanent signing of Iago Falque.
Similarly to Mehdi Abeid at Newcastle, and more recently Angelo Henriquez at Manchester United, Falque was not bought as a signing to slot immediately into the first team, but as a long-term project.
Falque is a Spanish youth international who has been capped right through to the under-21s, and graduated from the Barcelona academy before being snapped up by Juventus. His time in Turin was unproductive, with his best moments being when he was loaned out to the Villareal B team.
Spurs took a chance on him last summer, bringing him in on loan, and saw enough to convince them to bring him on board permanently in January. He is still yet to play a Premier League game, although he did once feature on the substitute's bench. He was though a regular in the Spurs Europa League squad last season making starts against Salonika and Rubin Kazan.
He also played three times as a substitute including the two games against Shamrock Rovers, as well as the FA Cup tie against Cheltenham.
Tottenham then loaned him out themselves to Southampton to gain experience of playing regularly in England, but it backfired. Falque played just once.
So this summer the 22-year-old found himself looking to start again, under a new manager, Andre Villas-Boas, who played him and saw him score in an early pre-season friendly against Stevenage.
Since then the attacking midfielder has been part of the under-21 squad rather than the first team, but he is beginning to show his exciting potential.
For the under-21s in his first three matches he scored two goals and provided three assists, with both his strikes coming in a remarkable 6-4 reverse at Newcastle. His performances have been enough to earn him a call-up to the senior squad.
He earned a place on the bench against QPR, and was then handed a starting role against Carlisle, as AVB rotated his troops, and he played the full 90 minutes. He put an impressive performance, looking dangerous going forward, showing Spurs they have yet another exciting option in attack.
He remained on the bench against Manchester United, and being part of that momentous win will have been a big buzz for him. His early season progress has shown promising signs for the future, and further opportunities will not be far away.
The young Spaniard will hope to add to his development by being involved against Panathaniakos tomorrow night, and if he continues his development, a first Premier League appearance will come sooner rather than later.
Can Falque kick on this season? Are you hopeful?
image: © tonypeters