Birmingham City’s Fran Villalba joined Sporting Gijon on a season-long loan in the summer.

Villalba, 23, signed for Birmingham City in 2019. The Spaniard is a graduate of the Valencia youth academy but to date he’s only made 17 Championship appearances for Birmingham City, having spent time out on loan in each of the last three seasons.

He joined Almeria on loan for the second half of the 2019/20 season and returned for the full semester in the next campaign.

Now on loan with Gijon in the La Liga 2, the midfielder has made a bright start to life at his latest loan club, scoring twice in six league appearances for the club and grabbing one assist.

Villalba has scored both his goal for Gijon in his last two appearances. Gijon sit in 2nd-place of the La Liga 2 table and Villalba has started all six of their opening league games.

It’s been a tough journey for Villalba to date. He wasn’t wanted at Valencia after several years working through their youth ranks and he took a chance in coming to England with Birmingham City, which as of yet hasn’t paid off.

But now he looks to be coming into his own – prior to this season, the Spaniard had only scored five league goals in one-and-a-half seasons at Almeria and he now has two in his last two for Gijon.

Blues fans could always see the potential in Villalba and perhaps his initial outings for the club came too soon for him. Should he impress this season though he’ll surely give Lee Bowyer something to think about come next summer, and Birmingham City could potentially have a new star on their hands.

WATCH HERE: Villalba scores the opening goal in Gijon’s 2-1 win over Leganes.