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Brentford star Jota seems to be the hottest prospect in the EFL Championship, coming into the final week of the transfer window. The winger has been pursued by a number of clubs this summer, with Middlesbrough and Fulham being the main suitors, and now the Sun claims that the Cottagers may beat Boro to the signing of the 26-year old.
The Bees have slapped a £8million price tag on the winger, and have already rejected a £4.5million offer from Garry Monk’s Middlesbrough and now the report says that Fulham are ready to pip the competition by offering Brentford their asking price for their star.
There have been reports of interest in the winger from Premier League outfit West Ham United as well, along with newly promoted Newcastle United. Here we take a look at why Jota has become the most-coveted Championship player this summer.
Born in the province of Coruna in Spain, on 26 June, 1991, Jose Ignacio Peleteiro Ramallo or Jota joined the youth academy of Celta Vigo at the age of 13 years. Having come through the ranks with the Galician club’s academy, he made his senior debut in January 2011 as a 19-year old in the Segunda Division. He went on to make three more appearances that season. The subsequent season saw him make just one appearance for the senior team as Celta achieved promotion to the La Liga.
With the promotion, Jota was pushed further down the pecking order in the 2012-13 season and as a result, he moved temporarily to Real Madrid Castilla side where he spent most of his time warming the benches. Next season saw him join Segunda division club Eibar, again on loan, which is where he really prospered.
In 35 appearances for his new side, Jota managed to net 11 goals and set up 3 goals. The Spaniard played a huge hand in Eibar earning a promotion to the La Liga for the first time in the club’s history. In the light of his brilliant performances, Jota was nominated for the Best Attacking Midfielder Award at the 2014 LFP Awards and was named in the La Liga 2 Team of the Year as well.
His displays caught the eye of then-Brentford manager Mark Warburton, who snapped him up on a three-year deal in the summer of 2014, soon after the club had achieved promotion to the second tier. The Spaniard made an impressive start to life in England, finishing his debut campaign with 11 goals and 3 assists from 46 games across all competitions, helping the Bees to a playoff finish. However, an ankle ligament damage on the first day of the following season put the brakes to his growth with the club.
He returned from his injury in December, after undergoing a surgery, post which he signed a new contract with the club which allowed Brentford an option to extend his stay by a year until 2018. However, due to personal reasons, he returned to his homeland, rejoining Eibar on an 18-month loan. Things did not go as well as his previous stint at Eibar and he was recalled in December last year after making 19 appearances with just 2 assists to show for.
But upon his return to the Griffin Park, Jota regained his touch and finished last season as the Bees’ third highest goal-scorer, with 12 goals and 5 assists from just 21 Championship games. He has played four times in the 2017/18 season so far, registering 3 assists.
The 26-year old Spaniard is someone who can play on either flank or through the middle as a No.10, while he has also demonstrated the ability of operating as an auxiliary forward in a 4-4-2 system as well. But he was at his devastating best for Brentford while operating on the right wing last season.
A more than decent dribbler of the ball, Jota possesses a decent turn of pace as well and has a penchant to cut inside from the flanks and take an aim at the goal, from which he scores more often than not. He is also a decent passer of the ball, but his crossing is something that can be improved. His strong technique means he has the ability to find the target from distance and play defence-splitting passes in the final third as well.
Another area where he can do better is the defensive contribution to the team’s cause as he doesn’t always show great desire to track back on his opponents.
The Spaniard has just a year left on his deal with the Bees and it is looking increasingly likely that he will be leaving the club before the deadline day. A move to the Premier League may not materialise though, but Jota has the ability to make a big difference to either Fulham or Middlesbrough and will help them a great deal in their bid for promotion to the top flight.