OK, new segment time. I plan to do this regularly by the way – but who knows If I will be able to find the time. Anyway, the topic of this segment will be players who are not necessarily underrated (though may be so) but those who fly under the radar. Those who despite putting up decent numbers and contributing a lot to the team just never get mentioned like some of their team-mates. On to who is up first:
Ok seriously, outside of Spanish football fans who has even heard of Santi Mina? I’d wager very few of you. And perhaps understandably so, playing alongside Nani, Munir and (until recently) Paco Alcacer means little focus on Valencia’s attack can be directed towards the young talent that is Santi Mina. But frankly, that’s unjust. He’s only 20 years old but last season got 8 goals and the season before 9. Obviously not earth shattering numbers but for someone who at the time was only in their late teens it is very impressive. This season after 3 LaLiga games he has already scored twice while playing off the left wing – making him Valencia’s top scorer so far. Yet still, no hype or even mention of him anywhere.
That brings me onto my next point – versatility. Mina can play across the front line with ease. Though seen as a centre forward by many (myself included) he spent last season (and quite a bit of the season before) on the right wing and has started this season only on the left and his effectiveness hasn’t dropped (if anything its improved). He has even played number 10 on occasion.
Now we reach the elephant in the room – Valencia. Let me put this simply: They are atrocious. They shouldnt’t be atrocious, but they are. They have lost the opening 3 games of the season leaving them stranded in 19th. The golden age promised by Peter Lim has completely failed to materialise and all the sense of hope and positivity brought by the takeover has been entirely sucked out (into the pockets of
giant economic leech super agent Jorge Mendes). Perhaps this combined with the loss of key players (like Paco Alcacer as mentioned earlier, along with Shkodran Mustafi and Nicolas Otamendi among others) have drained the optimism so much that no one can even get excited bout him (or anyone else) anymore – an argument supported by the demise of the Alcacer hype (until the Barca move of course) and eventual missing out of a euro squad place despite being top scorer in qualifying. The media however has no excuse.
Overall Santi Mina is an extremely effective, versatile attacker – especially for someone only twenty years old and he has unjustly overlooked by pretty much everyone. And frankly why escapes me.