Deportivo Alaves may have lost eight of their nine La Liga games since Alfonso Pedraza arrived on loan from Villarreal in the summer but don’t let that fool you.
The 21-year-old has been by far the outstanding performer for last season’s Copa Del Rey finalists, ensuring that 2016/17’s loan star, Theo Hernandez, has not been missed all that much at the Mendizorrotza.
Theo cost Real Madrid £22.8 million when they triggered his buyout clause at rivals Atletico in the summer (BBC). But Pedraza himself is showing that he should be worth a big sum to after converting from a speedy winger into a powerful and aggressive full-back.
Newcastle, under the stewardship of Rafael Benitez, recruited three Spaniards in the summer including Mikel Merino and the manager sees Pedraza as another star of the future.
From erratic winger to powerhouse full-back
And the fact that Pedraza is now being linked with a big money move to the Premier League shows just how far he’s come since that disappointing loan spell at Leeds United from January to May last season.
The report adds that Villarreal included a clause in Pedraza’s temporary move to West Yorkshire, meaning Leeds would have to sign the youngster permanently for £9 million if they earned promotion to the Premier League.
Leeds, however, finished one place outside the play-offs after a spring-time collapse while Pedraza managed just one goal and no assists in 14 largely erratic Championship appearances.
Just a few months after leaving Elland Road, however, Pedraza is thriving in a new position and looking like the latest star to emerge from the prolific Villarreal academy.
It seems as if Pedraza could reach the Premier League before Leeds do.