Thursday, January 11, 2024

Winter transfer window rumours: Koba sold? Mir in?

 Over the last 10 years, Valencia's January additions have been a mixed to disappointing bag.

2015: Enzo Perez
2016: Cheryshev, Siquiera
2017: Zaza, Orellana
2018: Coquelin, Vietto
2019: Sobrino, Roncaglia
2020: Florenzi
2021: Cutrone, Ferro, Oliva
2022: Bryan Gil, Comert, Moriba
2023: no one

"Anyone remember me?"

With a few exceptions like Zaza and Coquelin most of the additions haven't improved the side much, with the very forgettable 2021 trio being a classic case in point. In that context it's best to keep our expectations low, indeed it wouldn't be a massive shock if, like last year, we signed no one.

On the positive side, for all their flaws, Meriton has resisted the temptation to move key players out in the winter window, preferring to wait until summer. Daniel Wass has probably been the highest profile player moved out and even then he was in his last half year of contract so cashing in wasn't the worst move.

As of now, the players the club are most interested in moving on are at least one of the defensive trio of Cenk, Diakhaby and Paulista. With players like Mosquera and Gasiorowski coming through it's felt that someone can go in defence.

Some of the criticism of Cenk goes way too far, I've seen "worse than Aderllan Santos" and nonsense like that. His stats and performances last season were acceptable. What was dubious was the club's decision to pay 5m for him when other positions were a bigger priority and retaining Kluivert would have made more sense. Cenk has also had a poor season. The problem is that no offers are forthcoming.

Paulista presents the club with a problem. He's an experienced player who's had a satisfactory season. His contract is due to expire in the summer but there is a clause that says that if he plays 7 more league games (at least 45 minutes in each) then he automatically renews for another season. He's been a loyal club servant who's stuck with the club through bad times, but the problem is that he's on a much higher salary than most of the squad. With his injuries and the fact he's now 33 it is probably time to say thanks and bye. 

As in August, Valencia's main target is Rafa Mir. As I reported then the problem was Sevilla's high asking price, originally 14m, later reducing to 8-9m, covering Mir's 3.4m a year salary and Sevilla insisting on a compulsory buy clause in the loan, with Valencia wanting an option. Fast forward 5 months and Sevilla's hand is much weaker. They're in financial difficulties, facing a tough relegation battle, on their 3rd permanent coach of the season and needing to move players out to make additions. Also Mir, whether it's because he doesn't want to be there or not or for another reason, hasn't had a great season. Sevilla now want €2m for a loan (to cover wages mainly) with €6m to buy Mir. Valencia are still pushing for this to be optional.

You might ask, if Mir is playing badly, why bother? The reason is that Baraja wants a physical striker to compete up front. He and Mir know each other well from Baraja's time managing the youth team and so he would need no adaptation. Really, if we could get a loan with a buy option, I'd trust Baraja on this as it wouldn't hurt to have extra competition up front.

The club's position is that there's no money until someone moves out, but there's now a lifeline. Koba Koindredi may go to Sporting in Portugal for 6 to 7 million (a figure that may drop if Valencia retain a sell-on clause.) If we got that money it would clear the way for Mir. Really the whole thing has Mendes written all over it but there don't seem to be any other moves in the pipeline. Valencia, as usual, dropped the ball on Carlos Vicente, one of the better players in Segunda this season, who would have come for 600,000, but the club dallied too long with its penny pinching and the result was that he signed for Alaves instead.