If Leeds United had not collapsed in the second half of last season to finish agonisingly outside of the Championship play-off places, Alfonso Pedraza would still have been plying his trade at Elland Road.
The Spanish starlet joined Leeds on loan from Villarreal in the January transfer window and, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post, The Whites had an obligation to purchase him permanently for £8.5million if they secured a return to the Premier League.
Their failure to do so, however, meant Pedraza returned to La Liga and embarked on another loan spell, this time at Alaves. And while last season’s Copa Del Ray finalists are struggling at the wrong end of the table, Pedraza has gone from strength to strength.
Converted from a lively winger to a buccaneering and powerful left-back, the 21-year-old has undoubtedly been the star of the show for Alaves this season. In fact, it’s difficult not to draw a few comparisons with a young Gareth Bale when watching Pedraza speed down the touchline, leaving opponents choking on his dust.
The IB Times reported earlier this season that Newcastle United and Southampton were tracking his progress but it appears that Pedraza’s fine form has now earned him admirers in higher places.
Mundo Deportivo have claimed on Wednesday that none other than Barcelona are keeping a close eye on the lung-busting youngster. With a buyout clause of £17.5 million at Villarreal, the La Liga leaders possibly see him as a long-term successor to Jordi Alba, whose future has been brought into question of late.
Needless to say, Pedraza has enjoyed quite the rise since his Leeds loan spell ended in disappointment.