Friday, August 18, 2017

Murillo and Kondogbia to join Valencia CF

Valencia CF looks set to sign two Inter players, central defender Jeison Murillo and defensive midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia both of whom the club has been chasing for a very long time. At one point Inter was playing hardball and not moving an inch with their demands, but both players wanted to leave and forced Inter's hand as much as possible to allow for a move to happen.

Jeison Murillo arrives to Valencia CF for about 12 million euros, while Geoffrey Kondogbia arrives for around 18 million euros. For what little I've seen from these two players, it seems that they are decent players with Kondogbia having the more outstanding preseason with Inter and doing well for himself, so definitely a good purchase.

Finally some good news, though VCF is yet to find suitors for Aymen Abdennour who the team wants to sell due to the request of our coach Marcelino, as well as Orellana. I actually don't know why the coach is so dismissive of Orellana, to me he seemed like he had a great preseason, he was one of our better players during the friendlies and writing him off like that seems like a lot of favoritism towards certain "established" players from last season.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Valencia CF 1-2 Atalanta

As soon as I saw the Atalanta team walk out onto the pitch I thought that it was going to be a tough game. Their players all looked bigger and stronger than our boys and that is what it seemed for long spells earlier on, men against boys. They seemed able to control the ball well and found the passes a lot better than Valencia and it was no surprise when they went ahead in the 13th minute. A freekick from the left and Toloi easily out jumped our defence to head home.

The tables were turned when in minute 20 a free kick, again from the left was pushed out by the Italian keeper only for Vezo at the rear post to head home levelling the score.  I have to say that it was against the run of play but a goal is a goal.

Vezo and Javi Jimemez were the central defenders and Jimenez was showing again what a good and reliable player he is. He made a number of great tackles and looks a real class player. Vezo was doing ok but his ball out of defence was going astray just too many times and just not good enough.

Again Soler was put out wide left and looked totally lost in that position. He kept drifting in leaving big gaps and leaving Gaya exposed too much.  This has to change before next week as there was no player wide for the midfield to pass to.  Cancelo was showing why he is not a defender by having a very good attacking game getting the ball across well a few times and also slicing open the defence himself before firing over with a good opportunity.  Gaya also had what appeared to be a good goal disallowed when he chipped a great through ball over the keeper only to see the linesman raise his flag for offside. Also, he was unlucky when his cross was volleyed over by a Zaza bicycle kick which would have been one of the goals of the season with the great build up play, but it was not to be.

At times Valencia were playing some good passing football when they got the ball down and made numerous opportunities. However it was the same old story when the chances were squandered. Rodrigo made a good opportunity for himself breaking through for a one on one with the keeper but, trying to chip him just passed it into his arms for an easy save.  Other Valencia opportunities came and went.

Unfortunately it was Atalanta who had the final word when Palomino had an easy tap in after a corner from the right to give the Italians the final victory. To be fair Valencia improved in the second half with fresh legs but a win was not to be.

Positive performances from Javi Jimenez. If he keeps this up it would be impossible to leave him out for one of the new central defenders who are supposed to be coming.
Cancelo had a good game and if he does go it will have put a little on his value or at least convinced somebody he is worth buying.
Zaza and Rodrigo,   plenty of running but strikers are judged by goals and they didn't get one unfortunately.
Parejo and Medran looked ok in midfield but Soler was awful and it needs sorting. Maksimovic actually looks a good prospect and I liked the way he came on late and took responsibility, taking the ball from Parejo and making good passes.
Santi Mina came on late and I don't want to be a Santi hater but he really looks totally out of his depth this season.

We are getting near the start of the season and just like last year still haven't sorted out the defence.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Werder Bremen 1-2 Valencia CF

This was to be our toughest test yet this preseason, playing away in the Bundesliga is never going to be an easy game. Werder Bremen finished just above half way last season so a good test for Valencia.

Parejo caused the first piece of excitement when he missed narrowly with a long range free kick in the sixth minute, but was a little more accurate after 20 minutes when from another long range effort put Valencia ahead. A great goal from the new captain and will silence a few of his critics with that goal and his all round effort.

A crazy moment from Neto nearly cost a silly goal but with a little luck and some quick blocking the chance was lost for the home team. He just seemed to freeze and take his eyes off the ball, unforgivable really.  OK you are entitled to make a mistake but let that be the last one this season please.

The home team equalised in the 70th minute when the defence fell asleep and a deep cross was turned in for an easy goal. Bremen were a little unfortunate also to have another goal ruled out for offside which looked ok to me,  but we are not complaining.

In the final minutes Mina was put through and looked as if his boots were tied together when he tried to control the ball. Fortunately the home keeper made a hash of the save and Lato was there following up to put the ball in the net.

A bit of a lucky win with a not too convincing performance but a win is a win. Also to win with a late goal is always nice and makes a change from us giving away late ones. If we were lucky then let it continue because we had our fair share of bad luck last season.

The team must be doing something right because the goals against in the warm ups has been quite impressive and it can't all be down to luck.

I thought, good games for Parejo, Jimenez and Vezo.  Average games for many but not sure about Soler on the left.  I think Medran needs to dye his hair blonde, shave it mohican and get loads of tattoos on his face and arms. Why ?     Because then we will probably notice more the good things he does on the pitch.  He looks so ordinary that he just blends in too much.

Zaza and Rodrigo looked a bit ordinary and we need more from them, More goals that is.  Cancelo caught my eye on one occasion when he just stood rooted when the attacker ran forward instead of tracking back. Is he saying I want to go, who knows but he can go if he doesn't want to work.  Mina not good enough in my opinion but I haven't heard Man Utd or Juventus asking about him so I guess he stays.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Negredo joins Besiktas

So, as officially confirmed, Negredo's time at Valencia has come to an end. The player joins Besiktas, with his arrival celebrated by a truly awful video. The fee is said to be around €2.5 million. So Valencia paid 28m for a player worth less than 20, then sells him for less than a tenth of that and about a third of his value. There are many bad examples of poor transfer dealing in the Lim era, but this one has to be the pits.

Negredo joined Valencia back in 2014, sitting out the early months due to an injury. When he did play he was far from the standard that Valencia wanted. He did score some important goals, including a crucial goal to book Valencia's place in the champions league group stage and a goal from the halfway line vs Rayo but all those were overshadowed by him missing sitters, such as the one in the 81st minute vs Real Madrid which would have locked up three points and overall, was nowhere near justifying even half of his fee. Nuno clearly grew to dislike the player and ostracised him and DePaul in his last season. When he did come back, experiments at playing him with Alcacer didn't work and the latter tended to be preferred. Last summer, he was high on Valencia's list of players that they wanted to sell but with no takers, VCF had to settle for a loan to Middlesbrough, with a buy option. With Boro relegated, that buy option wasn't exercised and the club was saddled with him again. While the transfer fee is pitiful, it does free up a significant financial fair play margin, indeed, at the end of last season, Negredo made up an eighth (!) of the team's FFP budget.

With him removed, the club does have space to bring in new signings, which would involve, in order, a central defender then a defensively minded central midfielder. After that, a defender who can be back up on the right and centre would be high and a left winger, with Nani proving injury prone.

Overall, I wouldn't be too harsh on Alemany and co for the Negredo transfer as it was a mess not of their making. Lim's reckless spending in the first transfer window has really screwed us up and three years later we are still suffering. The club tried last summer to get shot of the dead wood and had no takers and with 85% of the current window gone, it wasn't going to happen this one either. So the administration faced the difficult choice of soldiering into the new season with dead wood like Santos, players who Marcelino doesn't count on or selling them on the cheap to get their salary off the books. Hopefully we can now see some movement on bringing in new signings, with Murillo high on the list. If we can sign a competent central defender and central defensive midfielder, we can yet challenge for top 7.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Looking for writers

Hey there guys and gals, I'm looking for few new writers to help me keep the website updated and have more news.

I've been trying to post as often as I can, but between work and personal stuff and just being really busy I've been unable to post on a regular basis and I the only way to improve this is to have some of you passionate VCF supporters write.

If you are interested please post in the comment sections or send me an email and I'll set you up immediately.

Few news while I'm at it is that Alvaro Negredo will be leaving Valencia CF and joining Turkish club Besiktas. They are actually able to come very close to his current salary and with no offers from England, Negredo has softened to a move to Turkey.

While its still not official yet, the deal is very close and is supposed to go through, but again we'll just have to wait to hear an official confirmation.

As far as new arrivals to Valencia CF, there has been nothing new, the club were after few players like Kondogbia, Jeison Murillo, Grzegorz Krychowiak, but so far nothing has materialized as players are just not interested in joining Valencia CF. Our club's reputation has really taken a beating the past few years and it seems players are avoiding our club like the plague!

So its going to be really tough to acquire new decent players!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

FC Cincinnati 0-2 Valencia CF

Valencia CF managed to shake off an unexpected defeat at the hands of second tier club New York Cosmos and in a way redeemed themselves with a 2-0 win over Cincinnati. Of course this is also a second tier club, so managing to only win 2-0 and scoring the second goal right at the end doesn't give you confidence in our teams abilities, but a win is still a win and hopefully we can learn from this and last match.

We do see some play and some moves that have been practised in training, we do see some of the work Marcelino has been doing, but again I'm most worried about our defense, if we concede it's hard to win, no matter how good our forwards are we need to concede little to none to be able to win more consistently.

We urgently need a solid central defender to pair Garay, otherwise we will find ourselves struggling again in the league. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Valencia CF suffers first friendly loss

Valencia CF lost 2-0 to New York Cosmos a tier two American team in what was a terrible performance from the so far impressive side. Of course you can blame jetlag, you can say that the New York Cosmos are more physically ready as their season begins sooner, but there is no doubt that the performance was not up to par and not what we've seen so far.

Our biggest issue was the defense, with a weak pairing of Aymen and Vezo(who replaced Javi Jimenez) the back line was fragile and it showed, as Garay wasn't even in the match suffering from a muscle injury.

I don't know why team team pushed for the goalkeeper purchase and sale of Diego Alves, when our priority was always a solid defender and a solid defensive midfielder, we haven't brought either and we are now being linked with attackers and wingers, we don't need any of them!

We need a solid defender who will link up with Garay and keep Vezo as a backup, but get rid of Aymen please, he is way too expensive for us to be keeping him. He has huge salary, one of the highest overall in the squad and has not payed off either his transfer fee or salary!

What did you guys thought about the performance and what do you think of the preseason so far in terms of games, transfers and training?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Diego Alves and other confirmed departures

Yesterday, Diego Alves became the latest player to leave Valencia. He joins Flamengo and again, it's for a laughably low amount said to be 300,000-500,000 euros. Alves was one of the highest wage earners in the squad and was said to be a disruptive influence in the dressing room and in training, but it's a mystery why the club, which is complaining about having no money for transfers, is giving away a player worth 5 million for a tenth of that. The transfers of Piatti, Enzo and Alves should have brought in close on 20 million, instead we've got just over 4 million for the lot.

Alves joined us in 2011 from Almeria, making 146 appearances and gaining notability for his penalty stopping, saving 23 during his time with us. Despite that, from a pure playing point of view I don't think it's a bad decision. For me, Alves was never the same player after his knee injury at the end of the 2014/15 campaign. Valencia's record of conceding in recent seasons has been horrendous and part of that must rest on the goalkeeper, not only for failing to stop them, but also because he's the one who must organise the defence in real time. A typical Alves game involved him saving a penalty making a couple of good stops, but an error and conceding three goals. So while all of us will wish him well and be grateful for some good moments, it was time for a change.

With his departure, that means there are only two outfield players left who played under Pizzi: Parejo and Vezo and the latter is hardly a regular. That tells you what you need to know about Valencia's stability in recent seasons.

Other recent departures have involved Santos going to Sao Paolo on loan for 18 months with an option to buy and Bakkali going for next season to Deportivo. Santos will not be missed by anyone but there will be a few fans who will still wonder why it never really happened for Bakkali. He seems to have ended the same way as Fede or DePaul: a flair player and a fan favourite but one who got limited playing time. I think this one is for the best. I've long said in the match reports that I never saw the point in bringing him on for barely 5 minutes at the end. Bad for the player and club. While it's possible he'll have a good seasonat Depor and come back to us stronger, I think it's likely that he'll end up the same way as Fede and make a permanent exit.

The other players whose exit is talked about are Cancelo and Garay. The first has long been the obvious choice to sell to raise funds. Garay, despite a disappointing first season, is firmly in Marcelino's plans for next season but if the club can't get the cash they need from selling Cancelo, he would be the next choice, as he's still sufficiently highly rated for teams in England to pay big money. The lack of clear targets remains a concern. The closest to a clear target for now is Geoffrey Kondogbia of Inter Milan, who the club is interested in taking on loan with a buy option.

Either way, the club needs to get a move on. The previous season finished 8 weeks ago and the new one is just 3 weeks away, with the fixtures announced on 20 July.