Raul de Tomas is ready to seal a transfer outside the window after being linked with Manchester United and Aston Villa over the summer.
De Tomas was on the radar of the pair of Premier League clubs, both of whom explored the idea of signing a striker. Ultimately, neither Manchester United nor Aston Villa signed a senior, out-and-out centre-forward.
Hence, it would have been expected that De Tomas would be continuing at Espanyol as normal. But after a rather bizarre turn of events, he is now on the verge of signing with a new club.
As reported by Partidazo Cope, De Tomas is in Madrid ahead of signing a deal with Rayo Vallecano on Monday. That is, of course, despite the transfer window being shut in Spain.
Still, after a breakdown between the Spain international and Espanyol, securing a move has become a matter of urgency. Rayo Vallecano are therefore paying somewhere between €11million (£9.6million) and €12million (£10.4million) to buy 70 percent of his rights, in a somewhat complicated deal.
They will not be able to use him until January, due to the transfer window being closed. As a result, De Tomas might miss out on a space in Spain’s World Cup squad. He earned two caps each in 2021 and 2022.
And his choice of next club is particularly intriguing. There was recently a physical altercation between his agent and Rayo Vallecano’s president, in which the latter was headbutted – and therefore hospitalised – by the former.
However, they have still managed to negotiate a deal for De Tomas to join Rayo Vallecano. It will be his second spell at the club, after spending two seasons on loan there from Real Madrid earlier in his career.
Raul de Tomas fades from Premier League radars
During his previous stint, he managed an impressive 38 goals from 66 games. The Madrid native helped the side win promotion to La Liga and then consolidated his own reputation in the top flight.
He got 17 goals in La Liga for Espanyol last season. Now, he is set to continue his career with Rayo Vallecano. The Madrid-based outfit are ninth in the table after their opening five games.
Any hope Premier League clubs will have had of signing Raul de Tomas should ultimately fade. He will have turned 28 by the time he will be eligible for his second Rayo Vallecano debut.
Therefore, he could be committing the rest of his prime to them, depending on how he does and how long the contract lasts. It remains to be seen if any of his other suitors will keep monitoring his progress.
He will also have his work cut out for him to get back up to speed after a few months of inactivity. But he performed well in Vallecas before. Hence, he will now hope to pick back up any momentum he had with them.
If Manchester United or Aston Villa still want a striker in January, they will have to look elsewhere. But perhaps sticking in Spain will be a wise choice from De Tomas himself; aside from half a season with Benfica, he has spent his entire club career in his native country.