Monday, August 13, 2018

Gameiro versus Zaza / Medrán leaves

Valencia officially announced yesterday that a deal had been reached with Atletico Madrid to bring in Kevin Gameiro, subject to a medical which should prove a formality. Sources report the fee as being 16 to 16.5 million euros, with another 2 possible. The signing, together with the arrival of Batshuayi, strongly seems to suggest that Simone Zaza will leave. The only thing that I could see halting that would be if Real Madrid bought Rodrigo, and they've shown no signs so far of meeting the asking price.

Of all the signings this summer, Gameiro is easily the most controversial, especially as it's understood he'll be replacing Zaza, a fan favourite. Gameiro's age, his price and his unspectacular stats have led to questions whether this is worth it, especially since it means we are helping out a direct rival by taking a discard off their books. So why ditch Zaza?

The first answer would be that the latter's stats are even worse than Gameiro's. His first half-season for us was unspectacular. Then he hit a real purple patch in September and October last year, but since then he's been failing to hit the target, notching up only 4 goals in his last 29 appearances. In contrast, Mina scored 12 playing significantly less time. Of course, stats aren't everything. Zaza does a lot more for the team in general with hold up play, work rate, hassling defenders and even tracking back to help the defence. But the fact remains, if he'd continued scoring at a reasonable rate, we wouldn't be discussing this.

The clearest answer to the question therefore seems to be Marcelino's methods. He's consistently made it clear that he wants a harmonious squad and players with egos like Alves, Negredo, Nani and Orellana or those who demand constant playing time (Ryan or Medrán) have been quickly shown the door. Zaza seems to fit into both those categories. He clashed several times with Marcelino and there were a couple of games where he seemed to be sulking and not giving it his all.

Ultimately I have mixed feelings on that one. I can see why Marcelino has chosen to move Zaza on, but I'll miss him and I'm not excited by the replacement, who will have little resale value. The other issue is that by bringing in Gameiro before Zaza leaves, we have reduced our bargaining power for the latter, as teams now know that we will need to sell him. We shall have to see how Gameiro does.

Mentioning Medrán, he has joined Rayo Vallecano on loan for the season. With the midfield well stacked, and Kangin Lee now on the fringes, his chances would have been very limited. My only issue is that we should have just moved Medrán on permanently. The Rayo deal doesn't include any buy option. I would have put a compulsory one in, of between a million or a million and a half, subject to Rayo staying up. As it is, he will come back next summer in the last year of his contract and we likely won't get anything for him.

Lastly, to update the situation from my previous post about the Champions league. We need one of PSV, Salzburg or Benfica to lose in qualifying to achieve pot 3. Benfica are playing this week in Turkey, defending a 1-0 lead against Fenerbahce. In money terms, we need Benfica and Dynamo Kyiv to lose in qualifying as we will get 1.1 million extra for each of those eliminated.

A week to go to the first game and with Guedes likely, we look to have a decent squad.


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