A glimmer of hope during Valencia’s dramatically diminished lack of pace, form and results in general has been the 22-year-old Portugal midfielder Andre Felipe Tavares Gomes, or simply referred to as Andre Gomes.
Valencia got back to action in 2016 with an action-packed 2-2 draw against Real Madrid at their Mestalla on Sunday night with the young playmaker once again taking centre stage and impressing with his mature all-round performances against the more than respectable opposition.
Slicing through the Real Madrid backline like butter, Andre Gomes gave Los Blancos a beating with his skilled technique and a powerful shot.
In addition to his exceptional performance, it must be noted that it was his run into the box that resulted in a penalty kick for Valencia.
The inspired performance from the Portugal international will have been hugely pleasing to Gary Neville, who is still searching for his maiden La Liga triumph as Valencia boss.
Keeping the former Benfica youngster in the club will be Neville’s main mission during January as Andre Gomes is widely regarded as one of the most promising Europe’s young playmakers.
Another sparkling jewel dug up by the super-agent Jorge Mendes, Andre Gomes arrived to Valencia ahead of 2014/15 campaign as a loan-to-buy deal worth €15 million.
The Portuguese starlet came to Mestalla together with a host of compatriots, including the former manager Nuno Espirito Santo and he signed a deal with the Spanish outfit in 2015 when he agreed upon a five-year deal that is supposed to keep him in Valencia until 2020.
His current employees were impressed from the start and were quick to secure his services in time, before Jorge Mendes used his magic to sell the bright spark somewhere else.
Great skill, fantastic pace, dazzling dribble and the much needed energy to match the optimism from the new management of the once great club were all impressive traits of a young player seen as the future leader of the team.
Andre Gomes’ bright start to his Valencia career has been slowed down by the nightmare five months on the sidelines due to a muscle injury he picked on the penultimate match of last term. A surgery was needed with Gomes playing his first game in the new season in October.
He attempted to get back in the fold at the beginning of that month at San Mames, but was unfit, tired and inadequately prepared to give his full contribution.
Eighteen rounds into the new season and Andre Gomes is now the key-player for Gary Neville’s side.
He amassed 12 La Liga appearances eleven of which were starts and he also netted two goals for his side and has the potential to be Gary Neville’s trump card in the Englishman’s charge towards the European places.
Valencia are currently occupying the tenth place in the standings and are exactly at the middle of the table, but find themselves closer to the relegation zone than to the much desired Champions League.
Eight points adrift of the dropping line, Los Che will need a swift change of fortunes if they are to catch up on Villarreal sitting in fourth with a 13-point cushion in front of Valencia.
Gary Neville concedes that grabbing Europe’s elite football will be an impossible mission, but should he succeed in keeping his most prized possession past January his chances will be much higher.
A wanted man
Talents of such volume rarely go unnoticed.
With January transfer window wide open, Valencia will be facing a tough challenge in their efforts to keep the prized pearl. Many top teams around Europe are interested in the extremely talented playmaker who has caught the eye of Barcelona and Napoli.
The Partenopei have made concrete steps towards Andre Gomes’ agent with Aurelio de Laurentis reportedly phoning the super-agent to gain more information about the availability of his player.
There have also been reports of Manchester City being prepared to launch an attack on the Portuguese player, with Manuel Pellegrini eager to bolster his ranks with the talented midfielder in his bid to win the Premier League title. Manchester City currently stand at 6/5 to be crowned English champions at the end of campaign.
The Italian media have reported that the Citizens are ready to make a ‘mind-blowing’ offer to land the highly rated Valencia playmaker.
Gomes is also believed to be highly regarded by Pep Guardiola, who would be appreciative of such a deal should he take over at Manchester City in the summer.
Should Gomes stay in Valencia at least until the end of the season?