Javi Guerra: The Mestalla Product Shining for Valencia

Club: Valencia

Nationality: Spain

Position(s): CM, DM, AM

Preferred Foot: Right

Height: 6’2”/187cm

Age: 20

Strengths: ball-carrying, dribbling, long-range shooting, power, stamina, passing, long passing, positioning, tackling

Areas for Development: box-crashing volume


From Kang-in Lee to Isco, from David Silva to Carlos Soler, Valencia’s academy continues to churn out stellar midfield profiles, and the latest player to make his mark is Javi Guerra. Born in Gilet, Spain, Guerra developed at Villarreal’s academy before heading for local rivals Valencia in 2019, where he would make his way through the youth ranks before earning his La Liga debut on April 16, 2023 in a 2-0 loss to Sevilla. 11 days later, he scored a last-minute winner after coming off the bench, securing a 2-1 victory vs. Real Valladolid.


Whilst Valladolid missed out on safety by a point and dropped down to the Segunda, Valencia would stave off the drop by the narrowest of margins on the final day of the campaign. Despite losing key players like Samuel Lino and Yunus Musah in the summer, Los Che have been able to build on that momentum and return to the top-half under Ruben Baraja.


Valencia are the youngest team in Spanish football today, and they have reaped the rewards of an intense focus on young talents. The club currently sit eighth in the table, six points away from European football and 18 above the drop, and one player who has proven essential in their turnaround is Guerra.



After penning a contract extension through 2027, Guerra was promoted to the main squad ahead of the 2023/24 season. He came off the bench in the 66th minute of their season opener, and once again, he delivered the goods, scoring in the 88th minute and snatching a 2-1 victory at Sevilla. He hasn’t looked back since then, racking up 4 goals and 1 assist across 30 appearances in all competitions.


An elegant yet powerful midfielder, Guerra oozes class & composure on the ball and has the power and stamina to travel from box to box without stopping. At 6’2″, he boasts an impressive physical stature, but it’s his technical ability that catches the eye the most. A mobile, athletic midfielder with noticeable stamina, Guerra may look similar to Sergio Busquets or Javi Martínez in terms of his height, but he’s far from a holding midfielder.


Despite his lanky frame, he is an excellent ball carrier, boasting quick feet and quick reactions and allowing him to maneuver out of tight spaces and break the lines with his dribbling. He is incredibly smooth in the way he carries the ball, gliding past the opposing midfield in style and often using ball rolls or flicks to turn past them. With 1.67 successful take-ons per 90, he ranks in the top 5% of midfielders in Europe, whilst he also averages 0.33 successful take-ons that lead to shot (top 2%), and 2.07 progressive carries (top 20%).


Guerra adds verticality to Valencia’s midfield through his ability to drive up the field and take on opponents, enabling Valencia to enter the final third. One of Guerra’s most impressive abilities is he long-range shooting. He has scored some top-quality goals with great precision and power on both feet, and his long legs allow him to generate more power when striking the ball.


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Along with this formidable striking ability, Guerra also has a good shot volume of 1.7 shots per 90 (top 14%) and 0.67 shots on target per 90 (top 8%). He is a great passer of the ball as well and is capable of breaking the lines with his long balls, offering an impressive technique on his clipped passes or crosses. Whether on the flanks or in the half-spaces, he is a reliable source of quality crosses and is capable of carving out dangerous chances.


Guerra has good positioning as he often is in the right place out of possession to solidify a mid-block or anticipate opposing passes, and his tackling is yet another attribute of his complete skillset. He doesn’t go to ground often because he’s usually positioned well enough to recover whilst standing, but when he does, he times his tackles well.

With 1.98 tackles and 0.85 interceptions, he’s quite active defensively as an 8 and has definitely improved on his defensive aspects of his game this season. He is strong in duels thanks to his tall frame, but one area where he could use some improvement is becoming more of a box-crashing #8. He’s capable of threatening the goalkeeper from distance with his long shots, but if he finds a way to get into the opposing box with greater regularity, he could be even more unstoppable.


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After a promising end to the 2022/23 season, Guerra was given the #8 shirt, and it seems their decision to place this trust in him has paid off. He has operated in a midfield trio alongside Pepelu, the defensive midfielder, and André Almeida, the attacking midfielder, but with Almeida suffering a long-term injury, Baraja has mainly gone with a 4-4-2 in recent weeks with Peplu partnering Guerra in the middle of the pitch.


A calm and composed player, Guerra’s level-headedness has allowed him to make good decisions on the pitch and handle the pressure of going up against Spain’s top sides. The box-to-box midfielder’s promising performances already saw him win the La Liga U23 Player of the Month for September, and if he keeps it up, it could very well earn him a big-money move away from Mestalla.


By: Ben Mattinson / @Ben_Mattinson_

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Quality Sport Images / Getty Images