The priceless La Liga deal

Since striker Cyle Larin rocked to mainland Spain from Belgian club Brugge during the January transfer window, he has already repaid Real Valladolid’s trust with goals. Important Goals.

Larin has won four points in three games for mid-table Valladolid after scoring victories in his first two games. In his third, he nearly scored another 1-0 win, this time against Osasuna, but failed to force an inviting cross in the closing stages. Still, not bad for someone who’s barely played more than an hour of pro football in their new home, with all their cameos coming off the bench.

The 27-year-old forward has World Cup experience for Canada and a dozen or so minutes in the Champions League for Brugge, where he is struggling to assert his authority. With one of the current best goals-per-minute records in the league, he certainly is now – although it’s still in its infancy in Castile and León.

On closer inspection, Ontario-born man Valladolid’s purple patch doesn’t pay much when you think about it. The Canadian joined the La Liga side for free, doesn’t appear to be among the top earners and as a first loan deal the club have practically nothing to lose with him. His stay runs until the end of June with a commitment to move permanently (Spanish) for reportedly just 1.5 million euros ($1.5 million) – a convenient and likely outcome.

Valladolid are aiming to secure a place in the league and turning to Larin mid-season could prove key. Staying in the top flight means La Liga – with their superior status and CVC monies – spending more on their squad compared to the tier below. For Valladolid, a team that has shown defensive solidity lately, a clinical striker means more points and financial strength in the long run.

There is a lot to play and a lot to do. Despite being owned by Brazilian legend Ronaldo Nazario, Valladolid is one of the weaker forces in the field and risks being caught in a relegation battle if results fail. As the competition heats up, the group of rivals from Getafe and Valencia appear to stretch in the drop zone to Mallorca in the middle. It would take a remarkable about-turn for bottom-placed Elche to avoid relegation.

In terms of sporting aspirations, Valladolid has invested little compared to most around him and is happy to benefit from the likes of Mohamed Salisu and Marcos André. The most expensive signing ever was another goalscorer, Shon Weissman, for just €4m ($4.3m) three years ago before they loaned him out to Granada. In Larin, it appears to have hit the jackpot and found a financially viable solution to survive.

The irony in all of this revolves around Ronaldo. The Brazilian maestro-turned-businessman was a prolific forward during his playing days and, having assumed his managerial role, has seen one team lack offensively on the field. La Pucela have collectively scored the fewest goals this season, along with Elche, who are six places below, despite creating enough opportunities in games.

If coach Pacheta and his players find the formula in attack, there will be a domino effect. Staying in the top 20 teams means majority shareholder Ronaldo – who has admitted he won’t be in Valladolid for a long time – is likely to stay longer or sell for an attractive offer. If you fall down a level, the opposite would happen. This is where Larin – a physical frontman – can do his part to keep the club in capable hands.

Its importance now extends further. Larin and his Canadian teammates weathered a tough World Cup but changed the country’s fate on the international stage. Furthermore, Larin is the only Canadian to play in La Liga and only the second compatriot after Julian de Guzman, who played for Deportivo over a decade ago. After a promising start, he can continue to give the city and football in his homeland a boost. He already looks like a bargain.

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