We all know that the adage ‘can’t beat them, sign them’ is alive and well in football. After all, if Manchester United were mulling over signing a blonde-tipped Sporting Lisbon prodigy in 2003, his remarkable performance against them in pre-season quickly made up their minds.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that Celtic’s interest had been piqued by a teenage Valencia playmaker by the name of Rafael Mir, as reported by Super Deporte. After all, The Bhoys had witnessed his talents first-hand in the UEFA Youth League, Mir inspiring Los Che’s round-of-32 victory at Parkhead in February 2016.
Now, a year on, Super Deporte claims that Tottenham Hotspur are ready to pounce, too. Manager Mauricio Pochettino turned a side filled with ill-fitting forgotten man and transformed it into a fully-functioning, high-tempo unit buoyed by some of Europe’s brightest young talents.
So Mir, who made his senior bow in a Champions League clash against Zenit in 2015, would be right at home at White Hart Lane.
However, West Ham should remind themselves of who the 19-year-old partnered in attack in that eye-catching performance in Glasgow. None other than Toni Martinez. In fact, Mir’s superb cut back put a late equaliser on a plate for the current Hammers prospect, providing the platform for Valencia to progress on penalties.
Murcia-born Spain Under-19 international Martinez swapped the La Liga giants for West Ham last summer for £2.4 million, as reported by the Daily Mail, after scoring at a prolific rate in the club’s youth teams.
And though he is yet to make his senior bow in claret and blue, a number of stand-out displays in the Hammers’ Under-23s means an opportunity is surely not far away. For now, however, he's honing his trade on loan at Oxford United in League One.
Though if West Ham are to help Martinez realise his frightening potential, triggiering his former partner’s £6.7 million buyout clause could go a long way.