Friday, September 1, 2023

Another poor transfer window closes.

 Another mediocre transfer window for Valencia has just closed. Yes, I know that some will argue that the players brought are upgrades, but they're not looking at the bigger picture. Look at the chart below. That's the value of Valencia's squad on 1st of September of every year of the Lim era, in millions of euros, adjusted for inflation.

The trend is clear. Valencia came off its worst season in 35 years. We narrowly escaped an embarrassing relegation.

A normal club would have reacted to that appropriately: by hitting the ground running when the market opened. Valencia had 2 problems last season. The first was having a number of mercenaries. Players on loan contracts who weren't committed. The bigger problem was lack of goals. Who was Valencia's remaining highest scorer from the 2022-23 season on 30th July? The 4th highest scorer of the 2022-23 season? Give up? It was this guy...

Yep, Diakhaby, with 3 goals, was Valencia's 4th highest scorer last season!  Ahead of him were

Kluivert 9 goals
Lino 8 goals
Cavani 7 goals.

None of those were prolific but after letting all 3 go, a normal club would have identified that and made strong efforts early in the window to improve. Instead we get the same rubbish and failure to learn.

Instead of strengthening the squad, the club went the other way. 14 players left, 4 joined with 1 loan being made permanent. Most of the changes are below (with Esquerdo and Castillejo's exits missing and Yaremchuk joining.)

Overall, by position:

Herrerin is probably the least controversial exit. He was brought in for emergency cover. He played all of 12 minutes for us in the Copa versus La Nucia. Thanks and goodbye. Not losing Mamardashvili is, like the dog that didn't bark in the Sherlock Holmes story, significant. A positive, since we're better with him than without.

Keeping Gaya is another positive, but getting rid of Comert is stupid. Not to say that Comert was anything amazing, but his low cost and adaptation to the squad and La Liga and lack of replacement are all questionable. Lato is a loss. A loyal club servant and good back-up. Keeping Guillamon (better in defence than midfield) would be a positive, if only Baraja would play him. Though Paulista started well here, his injury history means we're weaker here.

This saw the biggest changes. Racic is another I wouldn't have given away. Musah is a big long term loss for me. Yes, he had an awful last season but I think he was a good long term prospect. Unfortunately, money was needed. Pepelu and Amallah look like good additions. With the emergence of Guerra, this is the only area where we seem to be as fine as last season.

Cavani, Lino, Kluivert, Castillejo all gone. Only Canos and Yaremchuk added. The latter could be worthwhile, but after wasting 2 months of the the transfer window chasing Rafa Mir, we are clearly weaker there. Yaremchuk has actually scored a hat-trick this season, but against an Icelandic team in Europa League qualifying. Him, Duro and Mari, injured until Christmas, makes it a poor set-up.

All in all, I see the squad, despite 1 or 2 decent additions, as weaker and lacking in depth. I don't see anything in this window to say that Meriton have learned. Quite the opposite: I don't go for conspiracies but often it looks like these guys are deliberately sabotaging us. Forget any hope of a top half finish and let's hope we stay up.