Liverpool target Mario Gaspar keen to help Villarreal secure sixth position in La Liga

Villarreal, El Madrigal

The Spanish defender has highlighted his positional flexibility, determined to help his team achieve their objective of returning to Europe.

24-year-old right-back Mario Gaspar is enjoying another strong season in La Liga, continuing his excellent progress and inevitably, attracting a wealth of interest from elsewhere around Europe.

In Spain, Mundo Deportivo have linked Mario as the ideal replacement for Dani Alves, should the Brazilian eventually decide not to remain at the Camp Nou, with an option to stay with Villarreal until their FIFA transfer ban is lifted.

Meanwhile in England, The Mirror have pointed at a keen interest from Liverpool, eyeing up the Spaniard as a key option to replace Glen Johnson, who is set to leave Anfield upon the expiry of his contract in the summer.

Part of the attraction, along with the quality performances, is his selfless attitude and willingness to help his team, whatever the circumstances.

Villarreal are in the midst of a central defensive crisis. Mateo Musacchio is out with after suffering a serious injury, whilst Victor Ruiz suspended and Eric Bailly has fitness problems.

For those reasons, Mario demonstrated his positional flexibility at a press call on Wednesday, via the official club website. "I'm prepared to play as a centre-back." He assured, adding: "If I have to do so, I'll be trying to do the best I possibly can."

Comfortable with the idea of switching from his habitual right-back slot, Mario explained: "It's just a question of getting myself used to the different kind positional movement, as I've already done in a few games and in training sessions."

Keen to support the needs of his team, Mario underlined: "The boss hasn't confirmed anything yet, but I'm well prepared to play at centre-back, if he needs me to."

The speculation surrounding his future at Villarreal, is like water off a duck's back for Mario, whose sole focus right now is helping the team gain three important points, in the regional derby against Elche this weekend.

Team form has been disappointing of late, with Villarreal heading into Sunday's encounter at El Madrigal, on the back of nine matches without a win. It's time that changed, insists Mario.

"We're all keen to get back to winning ways and to guarantee 6th place in La Liga. It's been a while since we won and we want to do that now. We must mathematically secure 6th position."

Despite the run of six draws and three defeats, Villarreal still hold a six-point advantage over 7th placed Athletic Club Bilbao. However, that can swiftly change, if the Yellow Submarine don't turn their form around, with three games of the campaign remaining.

Three points against Elche would all but clinch a return to the Europa League for Villarreal, given their superior goal difference, which means their objective is still very much in their own hands.

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