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What's next for Girona star Yangel Herrera?

When football fans look at the 2023/24 La Liga season, they will see a Real Madrid team that swept all its rivals while Cádiz, Granada and Almería finished in the bottom three places. But we remember one of our own, Yangel Herrera.

Although Real Madrid's only defeat before the last day of the season was impressive, the biggest surprise of the campaign came from Girona. A third place for the team is, without a doubt, one of the best results in the history of Spanish football.

Twenty-four wins, six draws and just seven defeats mean they were only beaten by Real Madrid and Barcelona, ​​while they finished above Atlético Madrid in the standings.

For a team that finished in 13th place with 38 wins in XNUMX attempts last season, Girona's transformation was astonishing, exceeding the expectations and odds of many online betting sites.

While Artem Dovbyk will receive plenty of praise for scoring 21 times throughout the season, Yangel Herrera's exploits have caught the attention of many.

Five goals in 28 appearances may seem like a modest contribution for a midfielder, but Herrera has been much more than a player who simply scores goals.

In fact, Herrera has played in a defensive midfield role, providing cover for a defense that has only conceded 46 goals this season. When he has the ball, he has proven to be a calming influence, while he can also be aggressive on and off the ball, making him the ideal player to play in defensive midfield.

Helping Girona reach the elite of European football seems to be the perfect way for Herrera to prove the critics wrong.

A six-year stay with Premier League side Manchester City between 2017 and 2023 did not see the midfielder make a single appearance. In his place, he spent time on loan at New York City, Huesca, Granada, Espanyol and then Girona in the 2022/23 season.

He was then granted a transfer to Girona in July 2023 after making 20 appearances and scoring two goals in the 2022/23 campaign.

With Herrera shining for Girona this year, could Manchester City regret their decision to let him go? Although Girona is part of the City Football Group, it seems unnecessary for the Premier League side to sell him only to buy him back, meaning a move to regain his services is probably not in the plans.

Maybe then, if his future is far from Girona, he will make the switch to another of the City Football Group teams. The only major problem with this idea is that City are at the top of this group as the flagship team, with Girona being arguably the second best team in the group.

Teams like New York City, Melbourne City, Mumbai City and Palermo are also under the CFG umbrella, but finishing third in La Liga and securing a spot in the Champions League is something that is not easily achieved.

Many would argue that none of the teams mentioned above would be close to finishing in the top four in La Liga if they were placed there at the start of the season.

The real issue for Herrera if he returned to City is how he would fit in. Pep Guardiola's team is more fluid in their positions than any other team in the game. While Rodri normally positions himself in defensive midfield, he often plays in the center of defense with and without the ball, while he is as adept at attacking the opponent's area as he is at defending his own.

Could Herrera play this role at City? His defensive role for Girona is probably much more fixed, meaning his duties usually refer to protecting those behind him. Mateo Kovacic plays as a capable substitute for Rodri, while central defender John Stones has also played in midfield.

Although it is not outside the realm of possibility, according to bets.com.au Herrera's future does not appear to belong to City due to the way the reigning Premier League champions play. This is not to say that Herrera cannot become that complete midfielder that City want, but he does not seem to be that player at the moment.

For everyone involved with Girona and Venezuela, you probably want to see him stay in Spain. Herrera plays a key role for the team, meaning he has some involvement in most games, whether starting or coming off the bench. For such a talented player, sitting on the bench in most games for a team like City would be a huge waste.

Of course, Herrera could make the move outside of the City Group, but the fact that he has played for so many teams under this umbrella may allude to the group being reluctant to let him go.

Perhaps the most important thing for Herrera's development is that he remains at Girona. The Spanish team will play in the Champions League next year, while they will be desperate to exceed expectations again in La Liga.

If Herrera can play a prominent role at national and international level then he could earn a move to a bigger club. However, at only 26 years old, Herrera still has plenty of room for improvement, and it seems like the best place to continue improving is with a Girona team that will need all the help he can get ahead of his biggest season yet.

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