Valencia have all but given up on keeping Rafa Mir on the Castellon coast. Arguably the most exciting young striker in Spanish football has made it clear that he will not be signing a contract extension with the La Liga high-flyers - and has been dropped from Valencia’s B team as a result as they aim to find a player capable of replacing the 20-year-old.
They’ll certainly have a challenge on their hands. Rafa Mir has netted 15 goals in 17 games for the reserve side this season - a tally that is not easy to replicate.
But if Celtic were hoping to pull off an inspired deal and bring the soon-to-be free-agent to Parkhead in the New Year, after Super Deporte claimed they were interested in the summer, they look set to be disappointed.
Because El Bernabau claim that Real Madrid are now closing in on the signing of the 6ft 2ins centre-forward. It is understood that the La Liga champions tried and failed to sign Mir in the summer – but will now step up their interest with the striker set to leave the Mestalla.
It is no longer uncommon for homegrown talents to get an opportunity at Real, Jesus Vallejo, Borja Mayoral and Marco Asensio (below) now all important members of Zinedine Zidane’s first-team squad while right-back Achraf Hakimi has also been given the nod this season.
But with Celtic providing a launchpad for countless talented youngsters, from Virgil Van Dijk to Victor Wanyama and now Moussa Dembele and Odsonne Edouard, you wonder whether Mir could fulfil his potential quicker by pulling on the green hoops rather than the pure white of Los Blancos.