Tottenham Hotspur are being linked with a January move for Barcelona midfielder Carles Alena.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Spurs are interested in the Spaniard with Christian Eriksen seemingly unwilling to extend his contract.
Alena is hardly featuring for Barca at the moment given the array of options available to Ernesto Valverde in midfield such as Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Arthur, and Arturo Vidal.
Some will know about Alena, but he is still relatively unknown to English football fans.
Alena’s father Francesc was also a footballer, who played for a number of (mostly) Catalan clubs such as Granollers, Sant Andreu, Lleida and Mataró in the 80s and 90s as a forward (Sport).
La Masia graduate
As most would probably have expected, Alena did indeed come out of the club’s famed youth academy La Masia, which has produced the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Carles Puyol, Sergio Busquets and many more.
Alena was picked up by Barca at the tender age of seven.
Your typical ‘Barcelona’ player
Having received an education from La Masia, Alena is very much a classic Barcelona-type player.
He is very versatile and can operate anywhere in midfield (although number 10 is arguably his most effective role) and is technically very solid.
Perhaps untypically, Alena possesses a wicked ability to shoot from longer distances – his first senior goal being a peach against Hercules.
Alena has named a number of different role models of his in the past couple of years.
As a youngster he looked up to Brazilian legend Rivaldo (Goal), and as he grew older he then started to be influenced by the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and perhaps more surprisingly, Deco.
“The way he played, the way he controlled the ball, planted his feet, his character… He was a super technical player and since very young I focused on him a lot,” he said of the Portuguese maestro (Tribuna).
He also said he was nicknamed ‘Maradona’ due to his curly hair, but added he would not liken his game to that of the Argentine.
Comments about his future
Alena said in 2017 that, while he wanted to make it at Barca, he was realistic that anything can happen (Goal).
He recently expressed his frustration about the board giving new signing Frenkie de Jong his shirt number (Goal), which, combined with his lack of game time, could point towards an impending exit.