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.