Following on from the article about Real Zaragoza loan striker Borja Bastón last week, it seemed like a good time to take a look at a few more of Liga Adelante’s most talented youngsters. With bright prospects like Manu Garcia being snapped up by the likes of Manchester City, it is no surprise that two more products of Gijon’s Cantera de Mareo make the short list.
Name: Sergio Araujo
Born: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Team: Las Palmas (on loan from Boca Juniors)
This season has been a breakthrough period for the young Argentinean striker. His third straight year on loan has been spent playing for Las Palmas of Gran Canaria in Spain’s second tier, and it has proved to be his most productive yet. A regular in the youth categories for his country, Araujo looks set to secure a permanent move to Spain this summer with Real Sociedad the current favourites to land his services. Despite, the interest of David Moyes, there may be more options available to the 23-year-old by the time the transfer window opens.
Name: Pablo Pérez
Born: Gijon, Spain
Team: Sporting Gijon
With perhaps one of Spain’s most promising young midfielders on their books, Sporting Gijon wasted no time in handing a new long-term contract to local lad Pablo Pérez. Since making his first team debut in May, the 21-year-old has more than lived up to a reputation gained during his time in the youth set-up. By November he had done enough to earn a new five year contract, with a €20m buy-out clause added should a move to Primera Liga team ever materialise. His impressive ability as a midfielder is complemented by his natural goal-scoring prowess.
Name: Cristiano Piccini
Born: Florence, Italy
Team: Real Betis (on loan from Fiorentina)
After just one first team appearance for his home town club Fiorentina in 2010, Cristiano Piccini moved to Italian lower league side Carrarese in what would be the first of a succession of loan spells. He eventually arrived in Spain last August and soon forced his way into the Real Betis first team with some impressive performances in the right-back role. His momentum was hindered somewhat by an injury in January but he is set to return imminently and could play a pivotal role in Betis’ promotion push. At 22 years old, the player certainly looks ready to establish himself at the top level – whether that will be in Italy or Spain remains to be seen.
Name: Marco Asensio
Born: Palma, Spain
Team: Real Mallorca (on loan from Real Madrid)
After making his first team debut for his hometown club at the age of 17, Mallorca winger Marco Asensio forced himself onto the radar of Spain’s biggest clubs. It was Real Madrid that eventually secured his services for a six-year period in December 2014, in a deal that allowed him to stay in Palma until the end of the current campaign. Still only 19, the player has already made nearly 50 appearances for the Balearic Island club.
Name: Carlos Castro
Born: Ujo, Spain
Team: Sporting Gijon
A prolific striker at youth level and another product of La Cantera de Mareo, the Asturian-born striker quickly progressed through the ranks at Sporting Gijon and is now a first team regular. This season he has netted a total of seven goals from just seven starts and 13 substitute appearances – a healthy return for a 19-year-old in his first full season at senior team level. His name has already been linked with some of Europe’s heavyweight clubs including Arsenal and Benfica.