Thursday, February 1, 2024

Valencia - Almeria match thread

 This is mostly a placeholder to allow for comments, sorry to say, as I'm travelling this weekend to watch football in Germany and that game clashes with ours. 

The winter transfer window closes today and Valencia has another operation in play. The Rafa Mir move has been reactivated. Valencia made an offer yesterday to loan him for the rest of the season, paying 30% of his wages and having a buy option of 4m. Sevilla instantly rejected that but negotiations are ongoing. As I've said, I think Mir would be a good addition. Not because he'd score lots of goals, but because he'd keep Baraja happy and would fit Baraja's system well as a physically strong forward who could bully opposing defenders and help us to "defend from the front." While it's still in balance I'd say the deal is more likely than not as Sevilla want rid of Mir and Mir only has eyes for us. Meriton's penny pinching remains the stumbling block.

After 4 wins in a row, Valencia came crashing down, somewhat predictably, against our long time nemesis Simeone's Atletico. The team has a chance to make amends against the bottom club Almeria. The latter are chasing an unwelcome record. If they don't beat us they'll equal Sporting Gijon's record from 1997/98 of the most games at the start of the season without a win. Almeria, of course, actually played well at Real Madrid and dodgy refereeing decisions cost them at least a point. They also drew with us earlier in the season so this game is not one we should take for granted.

With Paulista now gone and Diakhaby still at Afcon it will be interesting to see what defence Baraja opts for. Mosquera is almost a given but his partner isn't. Yarek and Cenk are the main options, assuming Baraja doesn't want to push Guillamon back. 

The Mir deal didn't happen. As in the summer, Valencia claimed that after agreeing a deal, Sevilla changed the conditions at the last minute. Sevilla claimed that they hadn't changed anything and the difference in asking prices was only 100,000 euros. With Meriton, both options are possible, including that Lim had no intention of re-signing Mir and just went through the motions. It's embarrassing and a poor look all round.

Worse, there was also the following rumour:

"Valencia’s owner Peter Lim was considering sacking their coach Ruben Baraja because he continued to play Gabriel Paulista despite the club's disapproval."

Given that they sacked Marcelino in part for taking the Copa seriously, nothing would surprise me. Sacking Baraja for non-sporting reasons would probably be the final straw for me. If something like that happened, I'd probably take a break from Valencia until Lim sold. There are rumours that Lim is in poor health and his son has no interest in inheriting Valencia, so while I actually wish Lim the best of health, I hope he does sell soon.