Thursday, October 22, 2020
Sunday, October 18, 2020
Let's go over some news as the team prepare for matchday 6.
Cillissen, Gaya, Guillamon, Wass, Cheryshev, and Maxi Gomez all travelled to play for their respective national teams. From those who went on International break, Maxi Gomez had the best time, scoring the winner in a 2-1 game against Chile. Cillissen also had a great game against Italy with the Netherlands, putting in some crucial saves to keep the game even.
Meanwhile at Valencia, there were rumors about a possible sale for the club. Andrea Radrizzani, the owner of Leeds United, was said to have put in a bid for Valencia, having shown interest from when the deal for Rodrigo went through. This week, Anil Murthy dismissed those rumors.
There were also news circulating of an interest from Atletico Madrid for Kondogbia. The player's clause is said to have dropped from 80 million euros to 30 million euros when the transfer window closed. Atletico were one of the teams approaching the player and were said to be in discussion with him even after the break. Just yesterday, Kondogbia took to twitter to show his dissatisfaction with Anil Murthy blaming him for ruining a winning project, betraying Javi Gracia and fooling him. It looks like there will be some repercussions for his statements.
Villareal played out a 0-0 home draw against Atletico Madrid in their last game. There were two shots on target in the game and all of them came from Villareal, despite Atletico having more than double their total shots.
Valencia had a rough time in their game against Real Betis. Despite playing at home, they suffered a 0-2 loss to Real Betis. The away team dominated the game completely and Valencia hardly showed any response or effort to match them.
Villareal currently sit 8th with 8 points while Valencia are 11th with 7 points.
Valencia recovered several players from injury over the break. Paulista, Soler and Cheryshev are all available for selection. Mangala is still recovering. Kondogiba has problems with his heel but is also in the midst of conflict with the club.
Two changes that fans have been asking for appear to be implemented with Carlos Soler playing in central midfield and Guedes joining Maxi Gomez in attack.
Thursday, October 8, 2020
First of all I want to thank the great support that I have received in recent days, especially from players and club employees. I also want to express my gratitude for the constant expressions of affection that all the fans are sending me, both on the streets and on social networks.
To avoid any type of rumor mill I want to make it clear from the outset that I have placed my position at the disposal of the Owner and the President. I have done it out of professional honesty towards what I understand Valencianism represents and the challenges that I think this club should mark each season for its great history.
When I signed for Valencia CF I was aware from the first moment that the squad was going to undergo a reconstruction, although it is true that I could not imagine that the creation of the squad would end with numerous exits and no entries, except for the return of those on loan.
I am the first to fully understand that the club has to be stable and economically viable, and that should be based on a series of exits. But there was also a compromise on some entries that did not occur. The fact that a team that finished ninth in the league last season and begins the following season with so many important casualties, and no incorporations, is an objective data to understand that the squad has weakened. And that, therefore, the ambitious challenges that were posed to me when I signed for the club are necessarily affected.
I want to make it absolutely clear that this is not a complaint towards my squad, of which I am very proud and extraordinarily grateful for the support they have shown me in recent days. It is a disparity of views about how Valencia CF should have acted in such an important transfer market to start an exciting new stage in which the squad could have been provided with more resources.
This and this alone is the only reason that has led me to make my position available to the club. Once I have fulfilled that duty, I will do what I really want, which is to continue training this wonderful team. I will continue to be very happy in this city, and I will continue to be very responsible for my fans, motivated and excited. I will do my best to get the most out of this squad and give the fans maximum joy.
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
The transfer market has officially closed and it can only be summed up as an absolute failure for Valencia.
Upon Javi Gracia's signing for the club, he was made aware of the plans to cut down on expenses which meant finding other destinations for players with significant salaries, as well as those whose sales can fetch a good price. He was also promised that this was a necessary action but (cheaper) signings will be made to fill the gap and reinforce the squad. Javi Gracia evaluated the team and thought he needed around 5 signings, 3 certain - a central defender, a central defensive midfielder and a right-back, and 2 conditional - a goalkeeper (if Cillissen leaves) and a forward (if Gameiro leaves).
Murthy had made public that there was a lack of liquidity at the club and that sales had to made to balance the budget, especially with COVID's impact on ticket sales and revenue. What was also made public was a "blacklist" of players that Valencia was willing to offload in the transfer market. With these two pieces of news, other clubs knew it was a bargain sale at Valencia.
Garay had already left as the club didn't renew his contract in the previous season. Ferran left to Manchester City for 25 million euros plus bonuses. Parejo went to Villareal free of charge while Coquelin followed to the same destination for 12 million euros. Rodrigo would return to the Premier League with Leeds for a 30 million euro fee. These were core players for the team in previous season. Additionally, Jaume Costa returned to Villareal, Piccini was loaned to Atalanta and Florenzi wasn't renewed.
Arriving to Valencia were players returning from there loans like Racic, Jason Remeseiro, and Toni Lato. To cope with the shortage of players, Javi Gracia gave Guillamon, Yunus Musah, Alex Blanco and Esquerdo game time with the first team.
After three weeks in charge and slightly before the first game of the season against Levante, Gracia made his thoughts clear in the press conference that he was losing confidence in the managements ability to deliver quality signings, if any. This drew some anger from Anil Murthy who reportedly stormed out of a meeting between the two of them. The communication between the two, at least with regards to transfers, stopped completely after that. Javi Gracia took the word of the management and refused to comment further in press conferences.
A few rounds into the new season and the weaknesses as well as the lack of depth in the squad become evident. Even in games that the team would walk away with a positive result, the team looked vulnerable.
Recently, even the Mestalla B team had transfers out of the club. Javi Jimenez was loaned at the beginning of the window to Albacete. This last week Alex Carbonell was let go on a free transfer to FC Luzern with percentage reserved on future sales. Alex Centelles, free transfer, to Almeria also with a percentage reserved on future sale. It looks likely that Esquerdo will also be on the way out, with Almeria the most likely destination.
A lot of fans figured that, similar to previous years, transfers would likely come at the very last few days of the window. They watched as the club failed to secure player after player with which they have been linked.
Now that the transfer market has closed, Javi Gracia got nothing. He was lied to, left in the cold, abandoned, betrayed, deceived. It seemed like he as figured as much from his demeanor.
Now, Plazadeportiva reports that Gracia has requested a meeting with Murthy and is seriously considering resignation. Previous coach Prandelli had the patience to wait 3 months for the club to get its act together, Gracia is fed up already.
Friday, October 2, 2020
While both goals for Betis were scored as a result of deflections, the build-up to the goals exposed huge flaws in the Valencia system that allowed the goals to happen.
Monday, September 28, 2020
Let's briefly go over some news as the team travels to play Real Sociedad in matchday 4.
The renewal of Racic's contract is complete. The midfielder's contract is extended to 2024 with a release clause of 150 million euros.
There is 1 week remaining in the summer transfer window, as it closes on October 5th. According to a recent comment by Javi Gracia, he is unaware of any progress on signings. He says that the last time he had a meeting with Anil Murthy was 2 weeks ago.
With regards to the signing of Capoue from Watford, he had said earlier that just because the player displayed intent of coming to Valencia and submitted a transfer request, does not mean that he will arrive.
With one week remaining on the transfer window and no communication from management, Gracia is evidently frustrated and rightfully so. It's looking more and more likely that the signings will be made out of desperation in the last moments of the window, if it all. Not even the performance of the last 2 games was enough to communicate any sense of urgency.
Real Sociedad had a great game over the weekend. They took the confidence they had from holding Real Madrid to a draw in the previous matchday to their away game against Elche and walked out with all three points and a 0-3 scoreline. All goals came in the second half, including one in stoppage time.
Valencia had a tough time against Huesca at Mestalla. The away team made themselves at home and caused all sorts of trouble. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. Despite behind on the backfoot, Wass helped Valencia take the lead from a set piece that travelled all the way to back of the net. Huesca peppered away at the goal for the second half, and finally scored, having been denied time after time by Jaume with some clutch saves.
Real Sociedad currently sit 3rd with 5 points. Valencia are 5th with 4 points.
Real Sociedad: WDD
The squad is boosted by the return of Cillissen from his injury. He starts on the bench though.
Alex Blanco, Kang In and Musah all make the starting lineup with Vallejo, Guedes and Jason benched.
Wass starts in midfield, leaving Correia with an opportunity at right-back.
Injury list: Paulista, Mangala, Soler, Cheryshev
Friday, September 25, 2020
Let's go over some news in the lead-up to matchday 3.
The club has been working on a couple of contract renewals this past week. Esquerdo had his contract extended to 2024 with a 100 million euro release clause attached to it. Racic's contract is currently being negotiated with the goal of extension.
In terms of transfer activity, Murthy should be travelling to meet with Mendes about signings.
The club remains focused on securing Capoue from Watford, Gracia's former team. The press reported that Capoue has pushed for an exit from the club with a spokesperson from the club confirming this as the reason why he didn't make the squad list. The obstacle in this deal is the price. Valencia have offered 2 million euros while Watford want closer to 8 million euros. After some insistence from Gracia, Valencia may be willing to increase the amount to secure the deal.
The second most common name discussed in relation to Valencia has been Manchester United keeper Sergio Romero. With the club looking for an outlet for Cillissen, it seems Romero is the most likely replacement, if any. A figure around 6 million euros has been reported as the required fee.
From Portugal, there was a reemergence of news surrounding Leite's transfer to Valencia. Additionally, some outlets reported that Mendes is trying to facilitate a transfer of Jota from Benfica. The player has a minimum release clause of 30 million euros, so this one seems very unlikely.
Valencia's last matchday saw them lose 2-1 away to Celta Vigo. It was undeniable that the home team outplayed Valencia in the game. A breakdown in defense and midfield set up Celta's first goal. Although Valencia would recover in the second half with a half-chance that was converted by Maxi Gomez, Valencia would soon fall behind again. A free kick was given away at the edge of the penalty area and Iago Aspas hit it perfectly to score. Despite change after change, the team couldn't turn around the scoreline. Celta had a few more efforts that hit the post while Valencia had some penalty claims which were turned down. Most of the discussion from press discussed the unfairness of VAR over the shortcomings of the team.
Huesca suffered their first loss of the season at home against Cadiz, a fellow newly promoted club. Despite having the majority (70%) of possession in the game, they succumbed to a 0-2 loss with goals coming around 10 minutes into the first half, and 10 minutes away from full-time. Negredo scored the first goal for Cadiz.
Valencia are 5th in the current standings with 3 points while Huesca are 12th with a single point.
The bad news coming out of the camp this week was that Paulista had picked up a muscle tear that will see him miss the next 2-3 weeks. This is a big blow for the team as he is the most reliable center-back. With Mangala having picking up an injury against Levante, this leaves Diakhaby and Guillamon to cover. The need for a center-back signings grows more with this news.
Despite recovering and training with team, Cheryshev has some minor discomfort so he won't be risked this game.
Gracia did recover Racic and Gameiro from their injuries, and both are available for selection this game.
Injury list: Cillissen, Mangala, Paulista, Soler, Cheryshev
7' - Close call as Okazaki beats Guillamon for the ball and send a header towards goal. The effort is wide.
20' - Very sloppy play from Valencia so far. The team is having a head time stringing together 2-3 passes before losing the ball.
30' - It's concerning that Valencia is struggling against Huesca for 30 minutes straight with no response. Most of the time is spent in their own half defending.
37' - Goal for Valencia! 1-0! An expected goal against the run of play from a free kick in a unlikely position. Wass's delivery in the box sails past everyone and takes a bounce, Diakhaby jumps over it and it makes it all the way to the back of the net at the far side of goal. Strange goal to score but Valencia will take it. They needed some luck the way things were going so far. Huesca will be frustrated they went behind in such a way.
45' - Two minutes added by the referee for stoppages.
A misleading scoreline given the performance from Valencia.
Huesca dominated the game in practically all aspects. They had more of the possession and most of the game was played in the Valencia half of the field. Huesca pressured high and hoped that Valencia would crack under all that pressure. They were frustrated in the end as they could not trouble the defense much outside of the first 7 minutes. In fact, they didn't hit the target once.
With Valencia barely managing to to put together a few passes, let alone get forward, it was a surprise for everyone when they took the lead. Wass took a free kick practically from the touch line, something like 35 meters out and manages to score. The intent was a cross of course, but it was smart to aim for the far post as it usually causes trouble for the keeper.
Gracia has shown in previous games that he can identify problems and address them as the game goes so it will be interesting to see what his approach this game will be. Guedes seems to be playing with a lot of frustration again and appears to be a likely candidate for substitution.
Half-time stats. 1-5 shots, 1-0 shots on target, 46-54 %possession, 76-82% pass accuracy.
No changes from either team as they both head back out after the break.
46' - Diakhaby does well to deny Okazaki from getting into the box or crossing.
60' - Jaume with a great save to stop Saoune's shot, It was heading into the top corner but he managed to paw it away.
61' - Another save from Jaume. The cross looked like it would go over the bar but he gets his hand up correctly and tips it over.
62' - That's a third save in a row, this time from a header at point blank range. VAR checks and the ball did not cross the line.
62' - Borja Garcia replaces Juan Carlos for Huesca's first change of the game.
63' - Goal for Huesca. 1-1. This time Jaume could not save the effort as Siovas heads it past him. He needed help from the defense here under mounting pressure. Siovas was allowed a free header at goal. Jaume did get a touch on it but it hit the corner post and went in.
64' - Double substitution for Valencia. Musah and Gameiro come on for Vallejo and Jason.
65' - Yellow card shown to Galan for a heavy challenge.
72' - Okazaki volleys, despite pressure from Wass, the early cross from Pedro Lopez and hits the cross bar. Close call.
75' - Kondogbia tries a shot from range and forces a save from the keeper.
79' - Second set of changes for Huesca. Okazaki and Pedro Munoz are off, Ontiveros and Luisinho on.
84' - Good string of passes from Valencia results in a chance for Gaya but he misses the ball.
85' - Third change for Valencia. Kang In replaces Guedes.
86' - Guillamon with a major blunder as he gives possession away on the edge of his own penalty area. Thankfully, Mosquera rushes his shot and Jaume saves.
87' - Gameiro with a chance on the other end. There is too much power on it though and it sails over the crossbar.
88'- Final set of changes for Huesca. Rafa Mir and Ferreiro are replaced by Escriche and Joaquin Munoz.
90' - Five minutes of time added by the referee for stoppages.
90+4' - Final change for Valencia. Swap in midfield, Esquerdo for Racic
Again. Not good enough. The team has not only played out a draw with a newly promoted team but struggled to do just that.
Having fortunately taken the lead in the first half, this was an opportunity for Valencia to put poor performance past them and build on it in the second. This wasn't the case. Valencia did do slightly better offensively but had big lapses in defense.
The goal from Huesca was coming. Multiple saves by Jaume simply stalled it. It in the end it was all undone with just one corner. There could've been more with chances from Okazaki's volley and Guillamon giving the ball away in a dangerous position. Kondogbia and Gameiro could only give Valencia half-chances.
Overall disappointing and will give Gracia something to think about. These 3 games were an opportunity to build momentum. An opportunity that was taken.
Full-time stats. 5-17 shots, 2-4 shots on goal, 48-52 %possession, 76-82 %possession.
Next game is on Tuesday the 29th away to Real Sociedad. A big step up in quality is needed for that game.