Celta Vigo’s superbly talented Fran Beltran

Although it’s only early days in the 2018/2019 La Liga crusade, Celta Vigo’s acquisition of the highly coveted Fran Beltran is already looking like one of the most astute signings of the season.

Swooping in to capture the wildly gifted 19-year-old, who was absolutely integral to Rayo Vallecano’s successful La Liga promotion last term, Celta were only too happy to pay his remarkably low €8 million release clause to acquire him this summer. A bargain price indeed.

Beltran’s subsequently wasted little time in proving his worth, as the diminutive midfielder has performed encouragingly in Celta’s strong start to the season. From his central midfield station, he’s fitted in seamlessly to the Spanish top flight, while forming an ever-improving partnership with the masterful Stanislav Lobotka.

Under Antonio Mohamed’s guidance, Beltran’s been the deeper of the pairing, a role he suits perfectly, as he’s used his immaculate distribution, intelligence, and positional sense to perform his role effectively, on both sides of the ball.

By operating just behind and in reasonably close proximity to Lobotka, Beltran’s provided a sturdy base for the Slovak to venture upfield with greater freedom, where he uses his dynamic dribbling and acceleration to cut open defences and create dangerous scenarios. In addition, if Lobotka can’t generate an opening, the Spanish youth international always offers himself as a viable back pass option to reset attacks.

Full of composure and quality, Beltran passes the ball with equal measures of precision and purpose. Having already completed 127 of 136 attempted passes so far in La Liga, plus 14 of his 16 attempted deliveries into the final third, he’s been great in terms of ball retention and adding imagination into his side’s attacks.

While he’s predominantly been key constructing and building out from the back with lots of short, concise passes, he’s also displayed what a penetrative line breaking passer he can be too. Indeed, this has seen him take out multiple opponents in one pass, which has frequently manufactured the ideal conditions for his attackers to shine.

Meanwhile, his ball carrying aptitude is just as impressive, for his strength, low centre of gravity, acceleration, razor-sharp turning circle, and wondrous touch and ball control sees him act as a very challenging man to dispossess. The fact he’s so good on the ball, something that allows him to resist pressure by using his dribbling or ability to protect the ball, Beltran loves provoking pressure so he can find a free man further upfield.

A tireless yet clever mover to boot, the way he’s constantly on the move to ensure his teammates can utilise him as a useful passing outlet to support attacks has also been key in the Galicians’ quest to maintain possession and dominate opponents.

Moving onto the defensive end, and the little starlet has emphatically demonstrated his worth here too. Tenacious in the tackle and full of energy, he never gives his adversaries an easy touch. Vital elements towards his disruptive success have arisen courtesy of his tremendous concentration and reaction times, which have seen him remain alert and ready to respond to pressing triggers or danger.

The timing and directing of his pressing deserve special mention, for he does an excellent job of using his cover shadow to close off potential passing lanes behind him when he steps out to harass his targets. Chiming in with 4.19 interceptions per 90 and stats that suggest he’s making nearly five ball recoveries p90 aptly illustrate his stopping value.

Compared to PSG’s star midfielder, Marco Verratti, there’s no doubting the fiercely determined, mentally formidable Beltran is destined for a long and fruitful career at the top. And his time at Celta will definitely play a key role in shaping his future, as this will grant him the perfect foundation to refine his skills within the ultra-competitive confines of La Liga.

He might not be a star yet, but remember the name, as Beltran looks set to become yet another Spanish midfield genius.

Preview by: licencetoroam.

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