It is clear that new boss Nuno Espirito Santo and new director of football Fabio Paratici mean business at Tottenham this summer.
While talks over the potential signing of Atalanta’s Cristian Romero continue, Spurs have already secured the signature of highly-rated Spaniard Bryan Gil from Sevilla on a long-term contract – a deal that has seen the last of the ‘magnificent seven’, Erik Lamela, move the other way.
Although Gil was eventually relegated from La Liga while on loan at Eibar last season, Spurs fans can be as excited about this transfer as they’ve been in a long time.
The kid is special, and could thrive in north London.
Santo has previously stated his intention to set his Spurs side out with a front two, meaning there will be increasing need for out-and-out wide men. We’ve seen Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura drift infield and run in behind while Harry Kane plays as a lone front man in the past but with two strikers, it will be crucial to ensure that central areas do not become clogged up.
Gil is part of an increasingly rare brand of wingers, in that he’s a left-footed player who prefers playing on the left. The 20-year-old predominantly favours the ‘classic’ school of wide play, demonstrating great directness, trickiness, and quality in delivery.
According to FBRef, in the whole of last season’s La Liga Gil ranked fourth for crosses delivered (110), fourth for players dribbled past (78), tenth for progressive carries (212), seventh for carries into the penalty area (36), and eighth for shot creating actions per 90 minutes (3.87) – despite playing in a side who finished bottom of the table with just 29 goals.
While that direct style impressed throughout the 2020/21 campaign, Gil also demonstrated more facets to his game than just beating his man, reaching the by-line and crossing. His versatility on both flanks and through the middle becomes understandable when seeing the creativity he holds in his locker.
He is also effective when dropping a bit deeper to receive the ball, helping to shift defensive units around. When playing on the right he is just as comfortable knocking the ball infield and opening the pitch up, allowing him to pick a pass and create opportunities for others. He is precise in his weight of pass and possesses typical Spanish vision and playmaking nous – exemplified by the fact he ranked seventh for key passes (52) in Spain’s top tier last term; 23 more key passes than his team scored goals.
His dazzling talent shamefully went to waste in a severely sub-par Eibar team last season, but with the likes of Son and Kane to create for, the young man could be a star-turn. Don’t be surprised to see Gil become a fan favourite in rapid style – he has many of the same qualities a certain David Silva did.
Gil’s small frame, sharp feet, agility and speed off the mark makes his sublime technical ability a real threat. And, with a penchant for an elegant and exciting style of football, he’ll be a thrilling prospect to watch in the Premier League – he also loves a nutmeg, ranking sixth in La Liga last campaign with seven completed – having already earned himself the nickname ‘Little Cruyff’.
While you may think the 20-year-old’s unfavourable size (he’s 5’7) combined with a wiry and creative style of play could make him a target for brutish Premier League defences, that was also what was said about Silva upon the City legend’s arrival on these shores.
Gil is a fighter, keen to press and get his side on the front foot and is by no means afraid of a tasty challenge every now and then, amassing six yellow cards throughout the 2020/21 La Liga campaign. He won’t be unwilling to test himself in England’s top flight; you can be sure of that.
Admittedly, the Spaniard has little experience of the top of the game but he represents an excellent signing for Spurs.
The club have got themselves a competitive, fiercely electric, creatively bright and supremely gifted prospect in Gil and, at just 20, he could become a real star for the club in years to come.