Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Valencia CF 0-2 Juventus FC Match Report

Talk about a bad start to the season, it doesn't get worse than this. We knew coming into this match that it's going to be very difficult as Juventus have had almost the perfect start to their season, while we've had a terrible start and they are an established quality club who've won the Italian domestic title 7 times in a row and have been challenging for Champions league glory for the past few years as well.

So we knew it was going to be a tough match and we've be lucky to manage a draw against such a powerful side, but things started in a very positive fashion for Valencia CF as Cristiana Ronaldo threw her primadona temper tantrum and got sent off within 30 minutes of the match. I couldn't believe my eyes, this meant that Valencia CF now had a chance to get a result, a real and credible chance to actually win at home in their first champions league match.

Unfortunately Juventus playing with 10 men for 60 minutes didn't change anything, and from the one serious chance Juventus had after being down to 10 men, towards the late stage of the first half, they caused major issues for us. One chance after the 30th minute and they caused Valencia CF a heap of trouble which led to the penalty. I couldn't believe my eyes at the terrible defending from the midfield, where I don't remember which player it was, but he easily moved pass 3 of our players rushing towards him and trying to take the ball, coming at an angle towards him and he'd just move the other way and leave them in the dust, allowing plenty of space down the right side, he passed it down the wing, I think it was Matuidi who had plenty of time and space to setup perfectly and provide a really dangerous cross, it wasn't cleared by our defense, the ball fell further behind and they got a shot on goal, it hit the bar and the rebound was traveling left, Parejo rushed towards the ball, lift his leg way too high and hit Joao Cancelo in the face. It was a clear penalty due to dangerous play and hitting Cancelo.

Okay, we've got the whole second half, we are man up, we can do this I'm thinking. Second half starts, decent start to it, until just five minutes into it, Juventus with their first attack in the second half and they cause a ruckus in our penalty area yet again, then Jeison Murillo concedes a penalty for pushing Leonardo Bonucci.

Second penalty shot for Juventus and second goal, just five minutes in the second half. I didn't want to watch after this point on, all hope was lost for me and I knew we wouldn't be able to do anything, I knew it would finish pretty much 2-0 for Juventus. I still watched the game somewhat, had to minimize the video player at least 10 times because of frustration and the inefficiency of our play,

Ultimately we did decent in attack, had some half decent opportunities, we did pressure them and put them on their back foot several times, but nothing concrete, nothing that you know would result in a goal, we were fishing for a goal, basically just throwing the net wherever and hoping to catch something, it didn't work.

Our midfield was miserable, before Cristina Ronaldo being sent off, they had 68% of possession, they had control, they had the initiative, they were move concise and decisive, etc... Once they were reduced to 10 men they still had so much possession, they still had the more precise attacks, the most dangerous attacks, they defended well, positioned well, run so much and so hard to makeup for one less player.

They played pretty much one level above us with one player down. Would they have won without the two penalties? I don't think so, but the fact is they did earn two penalties, they were justified penalties, I'd be the first one to admit it. They deserved the penalties, our defense was way too shaky and insecure and scrambling to defend, a recipe for disaster.

All this said, I still think we have solid chances in the league, we have a solid squad with a lot of depth, we have enough quality, we still have Kondogbia who will return from injury soon, we also have Coquelin who is actually training and slowly gaining fitness after his season long injury last year, he proved solid when he played last season, we'll have to wait and see if he was reach his full potential after such a long injury and he is rather injury prone, this isn't his first long term injury, he's already had one major injury previously as well, but my point is we have solid players and the potential to be really good.

Sometimes you are mentally in a bad place, when you have several bad results in a row it puts your in a mental block, but the players need to get out of it, one win can change things completely and shift things in our favor. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Valencia CF 0-0 Real Betis Match Report

Valencia CF continues its streak of draws and losses as the team is unable to find a victory even in its 4th match of the season, something which would come as a shock to everyone, considering we have an amazing squad on paper, in fact even improved over last season and with more depth.

The few losses we've had have been covered by replacements who should do at the very least the same as the previous players. Unfortunately what's on paper doesn't necessarily translate in practice and this has been the case for Valencia CF.

Last season Simone Zaza and Rodrigo Moreno worked extremely well, they played off of each other and Zaza took the brunt of the opposition defenders on to him due to his physicality, allowing Rodrigo to be freer and have more opportunities. This season Rodrigo Moreno doesn't have such partner, with Mina being a lot smaller and technical, while Gameiro is not a physical player either, so we are left with strikers who have pretty much the same profile. Michy is a physical player and has the build to feature like Zaza was, but he hasn't been given the opportunity yet.

Marcelino also hasn't decided on who to be the starter on the left wing, with him changing it up often, so there is no consistency in the squad and players have been unable to gel together as much as they could have. Last season it was all set, we had pretty much the same starting 10 people, with the more frequent changes in defense with Murillo, Paulista and Garay changing often and rotating. Other than that its been the same 10 man squad and that allowed them to gel really fast and produce results.

This season we've also had a slower integration, as some players arrived late in the transfer season, primarily Goncalo Guedes and we saw when he came in against Betis how much we've missed a player of his caliber. He was far and beyond the most dangerous player on the pitch and caused all sorts of trouble for Real Betis. We've missed that type of chaotic threat. Ferran is still young and inconsistent, Cheryshev is not a flair player, he is rudimentary and solid overall, but doesn't provide that spark.

To me its clear what the issue is, we've not had the best team balance and composition, we need to start Moreno, Michy in the attack, Soler, Parejo, Kondogbia and Guedes in midfield and Garay and whoever in defense. Gaya has been good, the others in defense have been a mixed bag, there needs to be more consistency from whoever is starting in the back.

I think michy and Rodrigo can play off of each other more, Michy will force more defenders on to him with his physicality and dribbling ability, leaving Moreno more space to get better opportunities. We need Guedes on the wing to provide that chaotic threat, bring in some flair to an otherwise straightforward midfield, Soler on the opposite wing to bring in the hard work ethics and provide help in the central midfield as well, Parejo needs to step up his game, while we should hope Kondogbia gets well soon and stays healthy and fit. We need him at his best.

I wasn't impressed with last nights match against Real Betis, we didn't have any sort of serious threats on their goal, some of the bigger threats came in the second half and we caused more trouble for them when Goncalo Guedes came on, otherwise they were sitting stable in defense with no major issues and were comfortable with our ineffective attacks against them. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Nacho Gil and the international break

Valencia announced this week that Nacho Gil will join Elche on loan for the remainder of the season, however the transfer cannot go through until the transfer window opens again on 1 January. Gil has had a bit of a disappointing time at Valencia. He did well for the reserve teams, thought he deserved better, and submitted a transfer request (with Villarreal interested) in January 2017, which the club refused. Voro brought him on as a sub in a couple of games the following month, before dropping him. Marcelino brought him back into the set-up for a few Copa del Rey games and he also started on the left in the league away to Eibar and Las Palmas, before being loaned out to the latter. His time at LP was also a disappointment and he clearly hasn't made the grade at Valencia, so a loan with a view to moving him on permanently, seems to be the best option.

During the international break, Valencia took whatever players were not on international duty to Alcoyano for a friendly, winning 3-0 (highlights here.) Gameiro and Mina both did well and scored the first two goals but the best player was Ferran Torres, playing from the left, who capped off a great performance with a super goal.

The international break was a good one overall for Valencia players. Batshuayi scored twice for Belgium, Cheryshev scored for Russia in Turkey and for Spain, Rodrigo featured in both Nations league games and took full advantage of Costa's absence. Against England he provided an assist for the equaliser before scoring what turned out to be the winner and was widely praised for his performance, with some even naming him man of the match. Against Croatia he was overshadowed by a quality performance from Asensio, but still managed to slot home in a 6-0 rout. The other good thing in that game was at left back


with Gaya finally making his debut. He justified his selection with a solid performance, covering well in defence and contributing several quality crosses. He wasn''t the only debutant, Neto made his first appearance for Brazil, playing the full 90 minutes and keeping a clean sheet in a 5-0 win over El Salvador in the USA. Murillo also played all 90 minutes of a friendly for Colombia. Guedes was maybe the one who could be disappointed, as he was an unused sub in both Portugal games, but as he hasn't played a competitive match yet this season, it's understandable.

Valencia have a tough and critical week coming up. (Tough month actually.) First we welcome Betis to Mestalla on Saturday before opening up our Champions league campaign against Juventus, then finally going to Villarreal. Our start so far has been weak, but not disastrous: the results against Atletico and Levante were the same as we got last season, with the concern centring on the Espanyol defeat. However, we are only 2 points behind rivals like Sevilla, Betis, Bilbao and Sociedad and ahead of Villarreal, so can quickly make up ground if we start winning. So no need to panic yet, but if we do not get a win against Betis, alarm bells will start to ring. While they've made a few good additions in the summer, they remain weak at the back and Quique Setien's gung-ho approach is ideal for our counter attacking style, which is why we put 8 past them last season, so I expect a win.






Sunday, September 2, 2018

La Liga Matchday #3 | Levante UD 2-2 Valencia CF | Match Report

Valencia CF are still without a win this La Liga season, managing only 2 points from 9 in the first three games. With the amount of money spent, this is surprising and disappointing, especially in the previous game and this one where we really should've been the dominant side. However, with the performances displayed, it really isn't surprising. This was another sloppy performance, no matter which way you look at it. And no, we can't use Guedes not playing as an excuse. One player can't solve everything. Some problems in attack and breaking down defenses might be addressed but poor finishing, defensive positioning, communication, defending and passing cannot be solved.

LINEUP


Usual formation but with a change in lineup. We all expected a change in defense after recent poor performances but oddly that was the only part, other than the goalkeeper, which remained unchanged. I don't know what the issue is with Murillo being sidelined but it's a bit concerning if it is the case. In midfield with Kondogbia feeling some discomfort, Wass slotted in next to Parejo in midfield. I was a bit concerned seeing the team sheet with two attack minded midfield players. But with Coquelin injured and Racic relegated to the B team, Wass or Soler were the only options. Soler did make the lineup again on the right with Cheryshev filling in on the left where Wass played in previous games. Guedes was not deemed ready/fit yet so he was left out of the lineup completely. Santi Mina was replaced with Gameiro after not making an impact in previous games. Rodrigo completed the attack.

MATCH

The game didn't begin in a promising way. Lots of poor passes and as a result lots of lost possession from both sides. Not the focus and mentality I expected in a game where we needed a win. 

What happened at the 13th minute mark was shocking and embarrassing. I think it was a culmination of almost everything that has failed in recent performances. Parejo loses possession in midfield with a misplaced pass. Morales claims possession and knocks it past Wass who had slide in to tackle. Parejo tries the same but Morales leaves him in the dust as well. Diakhaby comes in and decides to repeat the same sliding challenge for a third time, but with the same result. Morales carries the ball forward with some pressure from Soler who had barely managed to catch up but was shrugged off as well. At this point it was Paulista and Gaya against Morales, Roger and Boateng. Gaya left his man and slid into a challenge on Morales who laid the ball off for Boateng on the left with Soler nearby just watching. Paulista just stood in the center screaming with his arms up at the linesman, presumably claiming offside. Boateng shoots and Neto saves, and it seemed like danger was averted, only he let the ball go. Straight into the path of Roger who couldn't miss from there. Piccini had barely made an effort to run back as well. 7 players and a goalkeeper versus 3 players on the break and they still manage a way through. I just couldn't believe it.

After three minutes of despair, thinking about how awful that play was from our end, some relief came in the form of a Valencia goal. It was a pretty simple progression, Wass played the ball out from the back with a ground pass to Rodrigo who picked out Soler out wide on the right. Soler then spotted out the run of Cheryshev into the space between the two defenders, delivered a cross and Cheryshev connected well and headed the ball into the net. Solid goal for it's simplicity but done with great execution from Soler and Cheryshev. It was much needed and a great way to respond.

Three minutes later still, Gaya who cut inside from an advanced position on the left to find a great run from Rodrigo with a great cross, only it was just out of reach and an almost certain goal had there been a connection. 

Valencia would produce another great chance via Gaya again in the 25 minute. Gaya had made his way forward again, played Cheryshev through to the goal line where he would cut the ball back to Gamerio in space. The ball was slightly behind Gameiro and he fumbled the effort. I think he should've scored it still especially with his experience and finishing ability. 

Levante would respond with a cross from the right by Roger to the center where it was headed away by Paulista, straight to Morales on the left side. He would have the time and space, under little pressure or effort from Piccini, to produce a good shot and Valencia would be saved by the crossbar. Just before half time, Neto would manage to save a free kick on target from distance.

Levante would come again 5 minutes later, now having gained the momentum. A diagonal ball from the right from Bardhi was played across to Roger who made a run in between Piccini and Paulista. They both tried to close him down but he slipped through them with minimal effort, looked up and found Neto in an advanced position of his line needlessly. He somehow got a shot across goal to the opposite side with little power but the accuracy was all that mattered. Horrible defending and keeping again.

Into the second half break where Marcelino had some time to address some issues and attempt to still win the game. He refrained from making substitutions at this point. 

Only a minute into the second half, Boateng made a run out wide on the right and Diakhaby went out to pressure him, the former left him in the dust on the ground and made a run along the goal line, sent the ball into the box only to be saved by Neto.

Six minutes later, the same combo that produced our first goal would strike again. Cheryshev would cross the ball into the box from the left, finding no Valencia players. The Levante defender would try to collect the ball for a simple clean up, only he didn't see the charging run of Soler who would get in ahead of him and claim possession. The defender panics and fouls him, conceding a penalty which Parejo converts easily. 2-2.

Approaching the 60 minute mark, Cheryshev would find himself in possession out on the left again, delivers a great cross finding Gamerio in a great position ahead of a sea of Levante players, the latter would make contact but the ball hits the post. Great positioning, great cross but the finishing is off again. Five minutes later, the same combination, Cheryshev and Gamerio, with the same play, a cross from the left, only for Gamiero's header to find the post again. It just wasn't his day. All the right positioning and runs but not the finishing.

Marcelino would resort to the substitutions now, taking off both players involved in the last play. Batshuyai came on for Gameiro, while Ferran Torres replaced Cheryshev. 

Ferran Torres would have an almost instant impact. Just five minutes after coming on, he taken on two Levante defenders out wide on the left, slips through between both of them with some trickery but gets taken out to avert danger. Coke, who had taken him out had already been booked and would find himself picking up a second one and getting sent off. Valencia would have 14 minutes to play with an extra man advantage to find a win. 

Marcelino, now with an advantage, brings on Santi Mina for Soler, to add more fire power. Santi Mina would score very soon after coming on only to be ruled offside. 

Finally, Rodrigo would get one of the best chances of the game after Ferran Torres picks him out in space at the far post, only for Rodrigo to miss the ball completely. He really had to score there. 

Even with five minutes of added time, the victory would still elude Valencia despite the abundances of great chances.

GOALS

1-0 Roger (13')
1-1 Cheryshev (16')
2-1 Roger (33')
2-2 Parejo, pen. (52') 

PLAYER RATINGS

Neto 1 - Mistakes like what happened with the first goal has become a more frequent occurrence and should never happen. Awful positioning for the second goal. Made one good save from a free kick.
Piccini 1 - A defensive liability. It's not just the quality of the defending, he simply makes no effort to close down or track back when possession is lost. Nowhere is sight for the first goal, completely sloppy on the second.
Diakhaby 1.5 - Was exposed far too many times. One time resulted in the first goal, the others managed to escape free of consequence.
Paulista 1 - It's really not a good sign when an experienced defender just stands around screaming and waving his arms at the linesman and doesn't act at all. That was him for the first goal. Failed to accomplish anything in stopping the second goal.
Gaya 5 - provided some dangerous attacking play that resulted in a chance for Rodrigo who couldn't reach it and the other for Gameiro who hit the post.
Wass 3 - his distribution, passing and playing the ball out from the back are all good in this position but he didn't seem to have the defensive ability that a CDM would provide.  
Parejo 3.5 - poor challenge and lost possession that lead to the first goal. Good conversion on penalty.  
Soler 7 - great rebound game after a sub par last one. Commendable effort to make quite the run tracking back to help the defense in the first goal. Great vision and cross to pick out Cheryshev for our first goal. Great work ethic again in claiming the ball ahead of the Levante defender and drawing in the foul for the equalizing penalty.
Cheryshev 8 - amazing performance today. Had the position and technique to anticipate and connect with Soler's cross to score the first goal. He put in several more great crosses all game, one of which lead to the penalty, while the many others were dangerous but the resulting chances hit the post or were missed.
Rodrigo 4 - remained quite involved in the plays all through the game but it was disappointing to see him miss such easy chances
Gameiro 4.5 - got in all the right positions but failed to convert any of them. Could've easily scored a hat trick today with slightly better finishing. 

Subs:
Ferran Torres 6 - instant impact substitution. Gave us more than a fighting chance by dribbling past two defenders and drawing a red card foul from Coke. Proceeded to provide dangerous crosses for the remained of the game.
Batshuyai 4 - didn't really do much since coming on.
Santi Mina 4 - quick to score after coming on, only it was offside. No impact after that.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Pretty disappointing game all round. What's worrying me the most is that I am not seeing any improvements. We have the squad to compete but we're doing anything but that. That implies to be that the errors are not being spotted (unlikely since they're obvious), the players aren't responding to the criticism for one reason or the other, the changes need time, or there is a lack of belief. 

I said in the introduction that Guedes can't solve everything and I stand by that. But what he can do is spark some renewed energy into the team. But the defense needs work. Major work. I don't recall ever having to give such low ratings all round in defense. And the fact that we have two ready and able defenders just sitting on the sidelines and not being tried is worrying. If Marcelino trusts these two over the other ones and these ones are performing this poorly, how bad must the other two be?

That being said, the offense has some rays of hope. Soler and Cheryshev put in a great effort and together rescued the team from a loss by setting up the two goals, both after having fallen back by one. Ferran Torres had a promising appearance off this bench, while both Gameiro and Rodrigo were on the verge of a goal fest albeit the finishing let them down.

Hopefully, getting Kondogbia back and a Guedes return in the second game can do something for the confidence of the players at the very least. Both our next matches are at home so that should further instill some belief and confidence. The good thing is we have a lot of time to fix things. Our next competitive match is on the 15th at home to Betis and the following is the first Champions League group stage game, also at home, against a tough Juventus side. In addition, our next game is a friendly on September 5th, against Segunda B side CD Alcoyana at 20:30 CEST (14:30 EDT), so we have a great chance to test out some changes and maybe give some players a run out into fitness. That being said, it is also the international break, until our next La Liga game, so only those not called up will be available to Marcelino.


As usual, let everyone know your ideas, thoughts and comments about the game in the comments below. What's the issue with the defense? Who impressed? Who disappointed?

Levante vs Valencia CF Match Preview

Valencia CF start to the season hit a bump last week after a surprising and disappointing loss against RCD Espanyol, a team which Valencia CF has historically had little trouble disposing off most of the times.

The first match at home with Atletico Madrid was a positive draw against a very strong opponent who just beat Real Madrid 4-2 in the Super Cup, so expectations were high for the next match and for the season, but all that came crashing down against a solid and tight Espanyol side. Truth be told Espanyol didn't have too many chances and most of their goals came from individual mistakes in our defense, but Valencia forwards on the other hand wasted too many opportunities, which if converted could have changed the course of the match.

Last match is history now though and Valencia CF will be looking to correct the course with a win against rivals Levante. Even though they are a regional rival and always provide good opposition to Valencia CF, we've had good results against them overall.

Another good piece of information is that Valencia CF signed Goncalo Guedes from PSG after a long and drawn out saga, but we got the player and he signed a 6 year deal with Valencia CF with no buy-back options for PSG, with the player release clause set at 300 million euros. Even though this is a big signing for Valencia CF that makes Guedes the most expensive player in VCF history, the player will unfortunately not feature for Valencia CF in today's match against Levante as he trained separately from the rest of the PSG squad all summer long, while only training twice with Valencia CF once joining, so he was left out of the squad.

After the last showing I'm sure Marcelino will make few changes to the team, I believe that Murillo might get his first start this season, I think Piccini will still get the nod over Vezo, though any costly mistake against Levante and he will be dropped from the starting line-up. Kondogbia is injured and thus out of the squad, so that will probably feature Soler in central midfield, with Cheryshev on the left wing, Wass on the right wing and I think Santi Mina will be dropped in favor of Kevin Gameiro. Santi Mina has showed little in the two matches he's started, he did provide a good chance to Moreno last match, but has missed some shots himself and has gone missing for large parts of the last two matches.

Today's match is one of the most exciting ones in a while, since we really have no clue what is Valencia's level after two games, while Levante has been a tough cookie to crack often time, so its going to be really interesting to see how the team does, especially since Kondogbia is missing through injury, so a bit of a shakeup expected in the starting lineup. I hope Valencia CF wins and wins so easily, but in reality my head tells me that its going to be a very tough match and one that we would be very happy to win as a draw seems more likely and in line. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

UEFA Champions league draw

So now we know our opponents: Juventus, Manchester United and Young Boys Berne.



A tough group, Juventus will be the favourites and Young Boys the underdogs. Our most likely route to qualification involves taking 6 points off the Swiss and hoping that Man United continue their malaise such that we take points off them.

Interestingly, Valencia have never faced either Young Boys or Juventus in Europe before. We have faced Manchester Utd on 4 occasions before. We beat them in the 1982/83 UEFA Cup first round. We then faced them in the Champions league 3 times. In 1999/2000 we drew 0-0 at Mestalla and lost 0-3 away in the second group stage. The following year two draws against them in the second group stage. The most recent occasion in 2010/11 we lost 0-1 at Mestalla and were leading at Old Trafford until they equalised late in the game.

Fixture dates and times are

1. Valencia - Juventus (19.september) 21.00
2. Manchester United - Valencia (2.october) 21.00
3. Young Boys - Valencia (23.october) 19.00
4. Valencia - Young Boys (7.november) 19.00
5. Juventus - Valencia (27.november) 21.00
6. Valencia - Manchester United (12.december) 21.00

A tough enough start, we really need to take some points from the first two, then go into the double header vs Young Boys in the middle and take 6 points.

Lastly, Guedes' contract was confirmed earlier by the club. He signs until 2024 with a release clause of 300 million euro (!) The release clause is monster, I'd heard 175m talked about so this figure is obviously good as it shows again that the club is willing to protect its assets. If he has a great season and the predators appear we can wave them away or make them pay a suitable 9-figure sum.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Valencia sign Ricardo Campos / more on Guedes

Another addition to the ranks today. Valencia have added Ricardo Campos from Juventus under 19s.


He joins on loan for a season, with Valencia having the option to make it permanent for around a million euros. Campos is 18 years old and can play across the front line, but mostly plays as a right winger and occasionally as a second striker. He was a Benfica youth product before Pablo Longoria brought him to Italy in 2016. He enjoyed a great first season, scoring 10 goals in 20 appearances for Juve U-17, but spent most of last season on the bench. However, Longoria obviously judges him worth a second look and he'll likely be assigned to Valencia Mestalla for assessment and, with Soler, Ferran and Wass covering the right wing spot, will probably be limited to Copa del Rey appearances for the first team, if at all.

Further on Guedes, sources now say he will join on loan for the season, with Valencia then having an obligatory buy clause of 40 million, with a further 10 million in "achievable" add-ons and 7 million in "difficult to achieve" add-ons. Presumably the achievable add-ons will cover things like goals scored, appearances, maybe Valencia qualifying for Champions league etc and the difficult ones will possibly be similar to those of Andre Gomes' sale to FCB: winning La Liga, reaching Champs league semis, nominated for Balon D'or etc. (I'm speculating, since sources don't clarify what they are.) PSG don't have a buy back option as the player himself was adamant he didn't want this and he had burnt his bridges there anyway by refusing more lucrative offers from England. There's also been no mention in sources of PSG getting any % of a future deal.

Amid the euphoria, there have been some Valencia fans questioning the deal, based on Valencia's poor financial situation and the fact he faded in the second half of the season and had a disappointing world cup. With Valencia's net transfer spending in this window the 10th highest, it does put considerable pressure on the club to achieve top 4, as otherwise we're in for another "summer of 16" (Gomes, Mustafi and Alcacer sold) where we'll be selling at least 2 key players, and probably more, to balance the books.

Valencia have also announced they'll play a friendly on 5 September against Alcoyano of Segunda B. That's the day of the international break, so it will effectively function as a training match for those not on international duty. Lastly, Dynamo Kyiv overcoming a 3-1 deficit against Ajax tonight will provide Valencia with 1.108 million in Champs league prize money.


Monday, August 27, 2018

Valencia sign Guedes

The long saga is finally over. Valencia confirmed this evening that agreement has been reached to sign Guedes.


He will travel to Valencia tomorrow to sign his contract. Full details of the transfer are not yet available, sources suggest 40 million euros plus 10 million more in unspecified performance related add-ons, but whichever it is, it will easily be the most expensive transfer in Valencia's history, far exceeding the 30 million we paid for Rodrigo 4 years ago. This has been dragging on for months, Valencia have been trying to sign the player since October last year and he was linked with several other clubs, with Arsenal the most closely linked, but the player repeatedly made it clear that he only wanted to play for Valencia. The determination on both the part of Valencia and the player overcame PSG's high demands.

Assuming there are no late shocks, like the exit of Rodrigo or another senior player I think this has been a really good transfer window. Just keeping Kondogbia and Guedes would have been a coup in itself but we added other players and it's now up to those players to overcome the Espanyol disappointment and prove the worth in the tough set of games in the 6 weeks ahead.

I'll update this post when more details of the Guedes transfer become available.