Spanish football journalist Paco Polit has explained to Football.London how Tottenham defender Juan Foyth has fared during his loan spell at Villarreal to date and admitted that he does not expect the La Liga club to make the deal permanent.
Foyth has shown plenty of promise since arriving at Tottenham in 2017 and the Argentine seemed to be making steady progress every season.
However, he struggled for game time after Jose Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino at the helm last season and it did not come as much of a surprise when the 23-year-old was loaned out in the summer.
Villarreal snapped up the Tottenham man on a season-long loan deal, with the La Liga side having the option to make the deal permanent for £13.5m.
However, Polit has explained to Football.London that the former Estudiantes man has had to be content with a bit-part role for Unai Emery’s side this season.
The journalist also revealed that Foyth has been deployed as a defensive midfielder due to the various injuries that Villarreal have had to deal with.
He is quoted as saying: “In his case, it is true there has been many changes because of the few injuries the club has endured, like losing some of the back players and later losing Vicente Iborra in midfield. That’s why he’s played in two different positions.
“Lately he has been playing more as a midfielder because of Iborra’s injury, but I expect as Etienne Capoue was signed a couple of weeks ago that he will be the starter and Foyth will later be once again a centre-back.
“The main reason for him not having those many opportunities and getting that continuity and consistency at the back is the two starting centre-backs have been great for most of the season.
“We’re talking about a veteran in Raul Albiol, who was a world champion with Spain back in 2010, and a newcomer in Pau Torres, who is one of the up and coming youngsters from Villarreal’s academy.
“He was one of the breakout stars last season and this year he is having plenty of confidence from Emery. That’s the main reason for why Foyth is not consistently in the starting XI.
“The coach is pretty happy with his performances whenever he has played, especially in European competition.
“I understand he may not be happy to not always start the games but I think it’s pretty obvious when you are young as he is and also a player on loan and not belonging to Villarreal, I understand why the coach gives more opportunities to those who are homegrown and actually belong to the club.”
However, Polit explained that the Yellow Submarine’s acquisition of former Tottenham midfielder Étienne Capoue has changed their priorities and so he does not expect the club to take up the option to sign Foyth permanently.
He added: “The Capoue singing has changed some of the priorities of the team. In this case, it was a necessary signing as Iborra is super important for the squad, for the club and crucial for the manager.
“Losing him to a knee injury for a long period of time shifted around the priorities when signing players and that’s why they signed Capoue from Watford so quickly and on a two-and-a-half-year contract.
“I think Villarreal have many exciting prospects coming from their own academy, but when trying to sign players they prefer those who have already proved their worth, like for example when they signed Coquelin and Parejo from Valencia.
“Their moves most of time are very smart trying to bring players into the squad who have done important things in their careers and able to play as big team players, helping each other and getting into that dynamic of an ambitious squad but also at the same time very small.
“Villarreal as a club has many particular traits which couldn’t be applied to Tottenham as Tottenham are a gigantic club with lots of pressure to deliver.
“Villarreal don’t have that kind of pressure but this year have somewhat thrown it upon themselves because of how good quality the squad is. That’s why they are fighting for every point in La Liga and they are doing so well and battling for the top-four spots.
“I don’t know if Foyth’s development would properly see through if he remains at Villarreal.
“When he signed he had the chance of becoming a regular starter and if he had consolidated his place and his opportunities when playing for Villarreal maybe it would be different.
“At this point, I don’t think it’s likely that Villarreal will exert that option to buy next summer. I don’t think they will go for that.”
Spurs Web Opinion
I would be pleased if Villarreal do not exercise their option to buy Foyth and if he returns to Tottenham with experience under his belt. I still believe he has the talent required to become a top player, although I think he might eventually evolve into a right-back or a defensive midfielder.
However, it does not appear as if Mourinho rates him that highly. So, I suspect that even if Villarreal do not buy the 23-year-old, the club will likely sell him to the highest bidder next summer to raise some transfer funds.
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