Showing posts with label Players. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Players. Show all posts

Saturday, December 24, 2022

News update

 The World cup was, overall, not a happy one for Valencia players. Gaya was sent home due to a minor injury while other players from the top clubs who had similar injuries stayed on. The only positive is that now that Enrique has gone we may see less favouritism. Musah was the stand-out player though, as usual, pride in seeing him do well is balanced with the realisation that it just makes it more likely this will be his last season here. Guillamon got no minutes and Comert only limited game time. Cavani did play, but it's probably better he didn't. After not having a penalty appeal go in his favour he and other Uruguay players lost the plot a bit, with Cavani kicking over a plinth at the end. I have to say that I think the referee was right, it was a soft call and didn't look a penalty to me. Now, as a result, FIFA are planning disciplinary action with a ban of 10-15 matches for him being discussed. Possibly the only positive is that Valencia players may have enjoyed more rest.

There have been recent developments on the new stadium. The city council finally published the conditions which it should meet. This includes a 70,000 capacity to allow it to be included in a World Cup bid, allowance for an athletics track around the stadium, solar cover to provide shade and an attached sporting complex which would cost 10 million. The club has until 11 January to respond and the issue needs to be legally settled by August.

Valencia extended the contract of Jaume Domenech until 2024.

Domenech broke into the first team in 2015 after the injuries to Alves and Mat Ryan and has played 116 times since then. Some of us do have concerns about his weakness to shots from outside the area, on the other hand, he's been a Valencia loyalist, who's been happy to be a back-up player and numerous managers have spoken positively about his leadership in the dressing room so it's probably a good thing.

The club has also made a contract offer to Diakhaby whose contract ends in the summer but haven't received a reply. He looks gone to me. The club are still looking for a midfielder and a winger in the transfer market, almost certainly on loan. Jesus Vazquez has been linked with Torino and it's unclear if it will be a simple loan, a loan with a purchase option or repurchase option. This seems a huge loss as he's shown potential, but instead we're developing Lino, good as he is, for another team.

Lastly, Valencia learnt their Copa Del Rey last 32 opponents yesterday.

It's La Nucia of the 3rd level. By pure chance, I attended the Copa Del Rey first round game of La Nucia when they won at Hercules Alicante in controversial circumstances. I didn't see anything that we couldn't handle, their defence looks shaky, but we'll find out soon enough when we play them on 3 January.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Gaya renews until 2027

So following the disappointment of the late drama at Sevilla comes better news. Gaya has renewed until 2027. His contract was up next summer and a lack of renewal could have led to a painful exit for free. 


In his statement, Gaya admitted that he'd had offers from other clubs including some for more money but only wanted to play at Valencia. In particular, Barcelona have had a long interest in signing Gaya as long term replacement to Jordi Alba and Gaya always had good relations with Mateu Alemany.

The club's video (here) announcing the renewal was very good, with Valencia legends Pep Claramunt, Ricardo Arias and Fernando Gomez symbolically passing on the captain's armband to Gaya.

The 10th anniversary of his senior debut in the Copa del Rey will be on 30th October. He is currently 26th in terms of league appearances for Valencia

He's quite a way to go to match Fernando and Arias but could get into the top 10 next year. The club is also interested in renewing Diakhaby and Lato but those will be more difficult. Diakhaby is understandably evaluating offers from other clubs. As for Lato, the renewal of Gaya and continued competition from Vazquez makes his role questionable. Gattuso has been trying him as a Wass-style utility player but it hasn't worked so I would be surprised if her or Diakhaby were still with us next season.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Mamardashvili renewed until 2027

In welcome news, Valencia today finished the contract renewal and upgrade of Giorgi Mamardashvili. He renews until 2027 with his release clause increased from 20 million to 100 million euros.

He joined us on loan lasy year from Dinamo Tbilisi with a buy option of 800,000 and was expected to play for Valencia Mestalla while we assessed him. However, injuries to both Cillessen and Jaume, with Rivero already being loaned out, threw him in at the deep end and he did well enough in the early games to keep his place when Cillessen returned. That prompted Valencia to exercise the buy clause.

However, doubts crept it with a few errors and after a horror show against Sevilla he was dropped. He was benched for over 4 months, during which time he became disgruntled and sought a loan out at one point. He returned to the team at the start of February and played most games after that in La Liga and unusually, the Copa del Rey as well. By the end of the season he had clearly established himself as first choice so no one complained when Cillessen was moved out. The low release clause remained a worry but having retained him this window, we now have space to play with.

The question is now about the other renewals. Guillamon, Gaya, Diakhaby, Jaume and Lato all finish contract next summer and all should be renewed in that order.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Transfer window closes

It was a busy transfer window at Valencia, with 8 departures and 8 additions.


So to add to the previous post, Soler left. The fee was reported to be 18 million plus a possible four more in variables. Since he and Guedes contributed 22 goals and 11 assists last season so the pressure is on for the new additions to do that. A disappointing sum but as in so many cases, the club let contract renewal drag on too long and were forced to cash in for less than half of what he's worth.

Quite a few of our fans are disgruntled at the emotionless way that Soler left. Not a hint that the last game would be his last, no message to the fans and a shrug of the shoulders as he flew off to Paris. True, he's getting a lot more money, but it contrasts with the emotional exits of Cancelo and Parejo and the respectful one of Rodrigo.

In the end Tottenham refused to loan us Bryan Gil, who put a cryptic message of disappointment on his social media. Instead, the club added Justin Kluivert on loan with a 15 million buy option. He's said to be pacy and promising but not the finished article, with errors in his game. Hopefully he'll do better than his dad who managed 202 minutes played in a season where he was out injured almost the whole time.

In a surprise move, Valencia brought back Ilaix Moriba for another season's loan. His last season was a bit like Soler's recent form: utterly average and a lot of the time you simply forgot he was on the pitch. It's hard to be excited about his return, the only memorable thing I can think of was his assist in the cup final. 

3 other departures were confirmed. Maxi Gomez heads off to Trabzonspor. Again the fee is shockingly low. Valencia paid 17 million plus Santi Mina (valued at at least 15m) for him. Yet the asking price went from 12m to 9m to Valencia finally saying they were getting 6m, only for the Turks to leak that it was actually 3m. Meriton's negotiation stinks and then they complain we have no money? Maxi's transfer seemed a great idea at the time. Only 5 players had scored more than him in La Liga in the 2 seasons before he arrived: Messi, Suarez, Greizmann (who were all out of our price range) and Stuani and Aspas who were 33 and 32 respectively and also were penalty takers. Adding one of La Liga's young proven goalscorers should have worked out great, but he was mostly a flop.

Manu Vallejo, again a player we paid 5.5m for, was let go on a free to Girona. You'd think they could have at least got some cash for him, but nope. He was a player in the mould of people like De Paul, Bakkali etc, a fan favourite who never won the confidence of any manager and who had to make to with a bit part in the team as a late sub. Marcos Andre, who was linked with a departure, stayed in the end as Gattuso believes he's a player he can work with.

Racic has gone on loan to Portugal for the second time, this time joining Braga for the season. With all the new midfielders added he'll get more playing time there.

The day's most positive news is that Mamardashvili accepted the new contract, so is now part of the first team with an extension until 2027 and a release clause of 100 million, upped from the 20 million release clause that made us vulnerable to losing him.

Both Mata and James Rodriguez were linked. In the case of the latter I'd probably pass. Stories from Saudi are that he's not the player he was 5 years ago, is lazy and has increasing discipline problems. Having made his money at Real Madrid, motivation seems to be a big issue. Mata returning on a free would be a crowd pleaser and would add experience, though Meriton seem disinterested. So while it's still possible to add him, I'd be very surprised if it happened.

All in all, while it's good we made some additions, I'm not convinced the squad is stronger or in a position to challenge for top 7 and Europe let alone Champions League (out of the question for me barring a miracle.) The team did add in the 5 positions necessary: defence, defensive midfield, midfield, wing and forward but most of those players are young and inexperienced and we have to hope they step up to fill the shoes of the experienced departed. Andre Almeida and Cavani are the ones we most need to produce and in the latter's case, that means avoiding injury which is not a given, and getting service (also a longterm problem.)

Ultimately, while I hope I'm wrong I don't expect us to improve on last season's 9th place. I think the big three will be there as usual with Betis or Villarreal most likely to take 4th. I'd expect Bilbao and Sociedad ahead of us. Our main hope of Europe would rest on us or one of those teams winning Copa, Sevilla doing exceptionally poorly and some of the pretenders like Celta, Rayo, Osasuna etc not sustaining form across a season. In that scenario we could get 7th. Fingers crossed but with this ownership all I see is short term thinking and mediocrity.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Ezequiel Garay announces his retirement

 Ezequiel Garay announced his retirement from professional football today.

The player had been without a club since leaving us last year. He revealed that he had been suffering with a long term injury since 2018 and had had offers from other clubs since leaving us, but felt that it would have been dishonest to accept them since the injury situation would have meant he would only have been available for one game out of every three.

Valencia first attempted to buy Garay in summer 2015 as Otamendi's replacement. It's not clear why the deal didn't happen then and we got Abdennour instead, who turned out to be a disaster. 

With the hapless Abdennour shipped out on loans we got Garay the following year and his best years followed with the arrival of Marcelino in 2017 as he formed a solid backline with Paulista. Ultimately, his decision to speak out strongly against the sacking of Marcelino sealed his fate. Given Lim's vindictiveness, he would have been released last year anyway. A serious injury suffered against Celta in the 43rd minute on 1 February 2020 proved to be the end of his career. In total he played 114 games for us over four seasons, scoring 6 goals.  

It's unclear why no one picked him up last season. He was still highly rated enough to be signed on a contract that would include a significant "pay as you play" element. Ultimately it wasn't to be and I'm sure all of us will wish him well in his retirement.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Carlos Soler is called up as a back-up for the Spain squad

Spain's preparations for Euro 2020 have been badly disrupted. Sergio Busquets tested positive for COVID he has gone into 10 days' isolation and the rest of the squad, including Gaya, also in isolation pending COVID testing. The friendly against Lithuania tomorrow will now be played by Spain's under-21s, who include Guillamon. As it will count as a full international, that means Hugo could get his first senior cap.

With Spain's first game in 8 days' time, there are now significant doubts whether Busquets will take part. As a precaution, Spain have called up Rodrigo Moreno, Carlos Soler, Pablo Fornals and Brais Mendez, who will train in a parallel bubble.

It remains to be seen if Soler will make it to the final squad as an emergency replacement, but this is the first official acknowledgement that he is definitely very close to becoming a full international. With his star rising, hopefully the club are not mad enough to consider a sale.  

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Daniel Wass wants to leave

Not much good news on the Valencia front. Reports say that Wass is looking to leave as he feels like his time in Spain is up and would like to return to his native Denmark. 

Wass' statements, in contrast to Guedes' father are at least respectful: "People underestimate the size of the club that Valencia really is" but also says that he thinks it may be the right moment to leave. Ultimately he acknowledges that it's down to Valencia.

Wass joined us from Celta in summer 2018 and in his 3 seasons, he's played 131 games, managing 8 goals and 14 assists. Probably the most important of those was the equaliser at Mestalla against Chelsea in the Champions league, even if it looked like a fluke. Unspectacular figures, but for me he's been a very useful squad player, being able to cover right back, right wing and back-up for central midfield and especially since he hardly ever gets injured.

Clubs mentioned as possible destinations are either the club of his youth, Brondby, or FC Copenhagen. Wass has a year left on his contract and the club were already working on an extension of a year, with the possibility of one on top of that. Valencia are unlikely to get much: maybe a million or as little as half a million in transfer fees. 

For me, I'd do what I could to keep him, due to the useful squad role he plays. I'd even consider just letting him run out the last year of his contract. 500,000 isn't going to be much help to Valencia's finances.

So what do you think? Keep or let go?

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Valencia get Mamardasvhili on loan

 Valencia have confirmed the addition of goalkeeper Giorgi Mamaradasvhili from Dinamo Tbilisi on a one year loan. He's a bit of an unknown and I haven't been able to find out much on him other than that he's 20 years old and highly rated, but La Liga is obviously a significant jump in quality from the Georgian league, which is ranked 40th out of 55 by UEFA.

It's unclear where he'll fit in, he appears to be too highly rated to spend much time with the reserves but this addition would seem to confirm that we're going to have changes in the goalkeeping department, though as I already wrote, Cillessen's departure is somewhat more complicated by his absence from the Euros. 

If there is one good thing from this, it's that the club are, for once, getting some transfer activity done early, rather than wait until the last minute as is usual. Bordalas can therefore assess him in training. It's also unclear what buy option if any we have on him. I'll update if it is announced.

Cillessen will miss the Euros

 Very bad news from a Valencia perspective...

Cillessen will miss the upcoming Euros. He tested positive for Covid, has had to self-isolate and was forced to miss the team's training camp as a result. He was expected to be the Netherlands' first choice goalkeeper in the tournament but Frank De Boer has therefore decided to omit him altogether.

Cillessen is one player I really don't want to sell as finding a good goalkeeper is tough, but as he is one of the highest wage earners in the squad, he's a prime target for an exit. Valencia would have been hoping that he'd have a good tournament and that would push the price up, so this is a real setback.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Cillessen injured, Gonzalo Villar continues to shine

 Bad news for Valencia. Just when he'd returned and was beginning to play well, Jasper Cillessen got injured while on international duty with the Netherlands. 

He's expected to be out for 2-3 weeks, missing the game away to Cadiz and probably the home game versus Sociedad. It's a blow because he's looked more convincing than Jaume between the sticks.

Meanwhile in the internationals, Gonzalo Villar scored for Spain under-21s. Valencia let him join Elche in 2018, with the club retaining 80% of the rights, which meant that 3.2 million was earned when he joined Roma in January last year. That's the end of the good news. Valencia no longer has any rights in the player, who is now a regular defensive midfielder for Roma and whose value has reached at least 15 million. It's another failure of Valencia's often chaotic youth policy under Meriton, who claim to be interested in developing youth but often let promising ones slip away for next to nothing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Ferro and Benfica angry with Valencia

Loan signing Ferro is reported (via golsmedia) to be very unhappy with Valencia.

Valencia had some interest in the player last autumn, but with Lim refusing to sign off on new signings it didn't happen. He then was one of three additions in the January window, all of them apparently without consulting Gracia. For Ferro the move seemed a logical one. The arrival of Otamendi at Benfica reduced his playing time and a spell at Valencia, who seemed to have only one fixed defender in Paulista offered more opportunities. The loan includes the possibility to extend it by one year if all parties are happy. It hasn't worked out that way. Ferro played the whole game against Real Madrid on 14 February, but only because Guillamon was suspended and Diakhaby and Mangala were injured. His only other appearance was the following game, where he came on in the last minute purely to waste time. Even the game against Levante, where Gracia opted for 3 central defenders, failed to result in playing time. Despite Diakhaby's recent mistakes, he's also maintained the coach's confidence. If Ferro doesn't get any match time in those circumstances, when will he play?

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Valencia sign Ferro on loan, Sobrino leaves

Like buses, nothing for a while and then two at once. Valencia's second signing, loan of course, is Ferro from Benfica, who joins until the end of the season with the option to prolong the loan by another year. 

I've mentioned that I;ve seen Cutrone and don't expect much from him: unwanted at Milan, Wolves and Fiorentina, but I think this guy has better potential. He played most of the games for Benfica last season, including 4 of the Champions league group games, so he has reasonable experience and with the injury to Diakhaby, Mangala forever injured, Paulista injury prone and Guillamon a diamond in the rough, it will help to have an extra option in defence.


A defensive midfielder, Oliva from Cagliari is said to be the third and final addition. At least we've seen some moves this window.

Balancing these additions is one exit. Ruben Sobrino joins Cadiz until the end of the season. Sobrino joined us exactly two years ago today from Alaves for the head scratching sum of 5 million. It always looked like a panic buy to pay so much for a guy who had managed just 6 goals in 48 league games there. He did have a false dawn at the club, having an amazing debut at Celtic in the Europa league scoring and providing an assist in a 2-0 win, but that would be the only goal of the season. That remained the pattern: a solitary goal, a valuable one, to earn a late draw against Sevilla last season and then a goal at Yeclano in the cup this year. He's clearly surplus to requirements and Cutrone is an upgrade on him at least.

Friday, January 22, 2021

The where are they now of the Lim era part 3: attackers

The last part of the series on everyone who played in a competitive game for the first team and then left. Part one: here and part two: here.

 Iban Salvador. Had a “blink and you’ll miss it” cameo, playing the last 10 minutes of the Copa 2nd leg against Barcelona in 2016. By chance that was also the last game of 3 others on these lists: Diallo, Zahibo and Villalba. As we’d lost 7-0 in the first leg, how many of us watched that? Released that summer, he’s been with a few clubs since. Valladolid, who loaned him to Murcia and Leonesa, before he transferred on a free to Celta reserves. After a season there, he joined his current club, second level Fuenlabrada, in 2019. He has at least broken into the Equatorial Guinea national team and scored the only goal in a crucial African Nations cup tie against Libya last November. 

Vinicius Araujo. Always looked like a mid-season panic buy, with Valencia playing 3.5 million to Cruziero for him in January 2014. After 6 unsuccessful appearances, a series of loans followed as Valencia tried to recover some cash. After the loans at Liege, former club Cruziero and Brazilian club Sport didn’t work out, he made a surprise brief return to Valencia. Played in the dead rubber second leg of the Copa at Celta (after we’d lost the 1st leg 1-4) and even scored his only Valencia goal. That was his swan song. Loaned to Huesca a week later and joined Zaragoza on a free later that year. An unsuccessful season there meant he returned to Brazil for a similarly unsuccessful stint with Vasco, who loaned him to Avai. He finally saw some success last season at Montedio Yamagata of the Japanese second division. He’s certainly travelled around.  

Munir. Joined on loan in summer 2016 to cover Alcacer’s departure. Did finish as joint top scorer with Rodrigo, but 7 goals in 25 games wasn’t enough for Valencia to even consider the 12 million option. After returning to Barcelona he hardly played and joined Alaves on loan where the prat celebrated scoring against us in the Copa as though he’d won the world cup. Moved permanently to Sevilla where he’s established himself well.

Alcacer. A player who was developing well into the talisman of the Valencia side so it was a sickener how he left and how badly handled it was. A chaotic exit with Lay Han Choon being undermined by her boss, who first told her he wasn’t leaving and then negotiated a sale to Barcelona after that. Most well know his history so I won’t dwell on it. Controversial exit. Struggles at Barcelona where he was behind Messi, Suarez and Neymar. Did well at Dortmund, now also doing well at Villarreal. A sad tale of the mismanagement and chaos at Valencia summed up in one player.

Negredo. Valencia’s record signing at the time for 30 million. How would The Bomb do? He lived up to his name, but not in a good way, as a financial bomb. He’s subsequently said that joining Valencia was a mistake and he’ll not find any Valencia fans arguing with him. A loan season at Middlesbrough proved unspectacular and he moved to Besiktas in Turkey but eventually lost his starting place. Their financial problems meant he lasted only a season. Two prolific years at Al-Nasr in Dubai followed before he returned to Cadiz for this season.

Nani. After a couple of middling seasons, we tried and failed to recover cash with a loan to Lazio. He was then released to return to Sporting Lisbon. After a single season there joined Orlando in the MLS in 2019 and is still there.

Zaza. Who can forget this guy?

Eyebrows raised when he was first linked with us. Despite his flaws, left a positive impression at the Mestalla and had a real purple patch, equalling the most-games-in-a-row scoring record. That turned out to be a blip as his goals dried up, with just 3 goals in his last 24 games. To the consternation of many fans, he was moved on to join Torino for 14 million. In hindsight, it looks like a wise decision as his scoring rate hasn’t improved: just 15 goals from 70 games in his three seasons there. 

Vietto. After being linked with Valencia for a long time (we had a buy option on him as part of the signing of DePaul, but didn’t use it) finally joined on loan in January 2018. Started spectacularly with a hat-trick in his second game, a Copa win over Las Palmas which included a goal from the halfway line. Just 2 goals in the next 17 games followed, we declined the 16 million option and he was loaned to Fulham, managing just a single goal in 22 games. Then joined Sporting Lisbon, who he’d rejected to join us. They sold him for 7 million to Saudi club Al-Hilal last year.

Batshuayi. After 3 decent seasons at Marseilles, Chelsea and Dortmund, looked a great loan pick up. What could go wrong? Everything. He seemed sluggish, overweight and off the pace. He seemed to unbalance the team and after his loan was cut short, results flowed for Valencia. Looked like he’d got his revenge by scoring a late winner for Chelsea at Ajax in our Champions league group but it wasn’t to be. Loaned to Palace where his 6 goals in 26 games are hardly setting the world on fire.

Rodrigo. A slow burner. Looked like a useless and expensive bust in his early seasons where he was misused on the wings. Began to show some form in the Ayestaran-Prandelli era where he moved to central striker in a 4-3-3 but then got injured. It was only with the arrival of Zaza and switch to 4-4-2 that he began to produce. His linkup play between midfield and attack are sorely missed. Just 3 goals in 15 games for a Leeds side that have been struggling recently.

Santi Mina. After a slow start, won the fans over with a super sub role producing goals, though I doubt anyone misses the LeBron James celebration which he overused? Has hardly excelled at Celta since returning there. Marked his 50th appearance since rejoining Celta this week with a goal but that’s only his 2nd of the season and 8th overall. Does have 3 from 3 in the Copa against lower division sides, but he’s well below the potential he started to show at Valencia.

Rafa Mir. Along with Danilo Barbosa, the poster child for critics who complained that Mendes had too much influence at Valencia. His highly controversial selection for a crunch Champions league game at Zenit arguably sealed the end for Nuno, who resigned the game after. Mir's relationship with the fans soured and after an abortive attempt to join Real Madrid, rejoined Nuno at Wolves in the second level but only got 4 games. Has since had loan spells at Las Palmas, Nottingham Forest and Huesca, with only his last season with them in the Spanish second flight really impressing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The "where are they now?" of the Lim era part 2: midfielders

Continuing our trip down memory lane of players who had competitive minutes with the first team since Lim took over but have left us. Obviously some of these guys played in more than one position. 

Left wingers

Bakkali a flair player who won over the Mestalla faithful, but his defensive contributions were lacking and as a result he only started 5 of the 40 games he played for us. After a loan at Depor, returned to his native Belgium at Anderlecht in 2018 and played half the games in his first season. Injury sidelined him for most of 2019-20 and since returning, he’s been out of favor, only playing 2 games this season.

Sito. Made his debut in the last game of the 2015-16 season, replacing the injured Piatti in the 38th minute. (That would be Piatti’s last ever Valencia game, more on him in a minute.) Sito played a single minute the following season and that was it for him. Loaned to Lorca and then released on a free to join his current club, Asteras Tripolis of the Greek top division where he’s begun to establish himself.

Piatti. We hotly debated his merits for ages on this blog. Valencia sold him for the usual scandalously low price to Espanyol. Debuted with a goal and 2 assists and had a sensational debut season ending with 10 goals and 11 assists. Saw reduced returns after that, though, and injuries recurred. Another injury February 2019 kept him out for most of that year. In January 2020 he was released and now plays for Toronto in the MLS.

Nacho Gil. Made his debut in February 2017 and then began to see some game time and starts under Marcelino. Doubts crept in and he was part of the controversial experimental line-up which flopped badly away to Las Palmas in January 2018. That would be his last game. Joined Elche on loan the following week before being released in the summer to join second level Ponferradina. After 2 seasons there he joined Cartagena who had been newly promoted to the second level. Has been a regular as they fight relegation. 

Central midfielders

Bruno Zuculini. Joined us on loan from Man City in Nuno’s first season but only played half a game. Loan was cancelled mid-season and a series of loans in Spain, England and Greece followed. Permanently joined Hellas Verona of Greece in 2017 but only lasted a year before returning to his native Argentina with River Plate.

Felipe Augusto. Represented by, you guessed it, Mendes. Nuno brought him with him from Rio Ave. After a few sub appearances, started his only game, a disastrous 3-0 defeat at Depor and was subbed off at half time. (That game also ended the Valencia career of Yoel.) After a couple of sub appearances in December he never played another minute the rest of the season. Returned to Portugal and was loaned out to Braga before a permanent move to Benfica. They in turn loaned him to Turkish top flight side Alanyaspor. He was then sold back to Rio Ave where he was a regular until dropping out of the team last month.

Carles Gil. One of the first to depart under Nuno, joining Aston Villa in January 2015. He had a decent enough spell there but returned to Spain in summer 2016 for two years at Depor. Then moved permanently to the MLS to play for New England Revolution, where he’s a regular.

Fran Villalba. Attracted a lot of buzz after emerging in 2015 but never made it. His last game was the dead rubber Copa 2nd leg vs Barca (incidentally also the last game for 3 others on these lists.) After spending all of 2018-19 on loan at Numancia, he joined Birmingham City permanently, though with Valencia reserving half his rights. After an ok season there he’s been back in Spain since summer 2019 on loan at Almeria , who have a buy option.

Enzo Perez. One of many expensive busts for 25 million. He started well, but there were always questions over his fitness and after 2 years, Valencia cut their losses and transferred him on the cheap to River Plate where he’s a regular.

Danilo Barbosa. Controversial Mendes addition for the 2015-16 season where he was a regular, playing 32 games. Valencia rightly declined the 15 million buy option. Returned to Braga who loaned him out to Benfica and Liege. Surprisingly, Braga did get a decent fee of 10 million for him from Nice in 2018. He was a regular for them in the first season but gradually fell down the pecking order, being used as emergency cover at central defence and has only played 4 games this season with talk of a transfer.

Wilifried Zahibo.

Broke through in the Neville era and got 7 games, starting 6 of them, even managing a goal in the Copa against Granada. But the Copa 2nd leg against Barcelona with Valencia well eliminated already would be his final game. Left after one season and played at the second level with Gimnastic. After 2 seasons there he moved to the MLS with New England Revolution for 2 seasons. Spent last season with Houston Dynamo, but only played 4 games. His contract there expired last month and was not renewed, so he is now a free agent.

Tropi. Mestalla player who made his La Liga debut, and his only top flight appearance in the 89th minute at Elche in March 2015. Got a couple of late sub appearances under Neville in Copa and Europa league the following season. Has had a journeyman existence since then. Year-long loans at Alcorcon and Lorca. Signed by Recreativo Huelva but released after the 2018-19 season. Atletico Madrid reserves signed him for 2019-20 before he joined third level UCAM Murcia last autumn, where he is a regular.  

Andre Gomes. The transfer to Barcelona, though it brought in 37 million ultimately, really stung, especially since the 2 guys that follow on this list were not up to the task of replacing him. Had a torrid time at Barcelona before a loan at Everton became permanent. Was a regular at Everton in his first season, even after overcoming a horror injury but has struggled for game time this season being used more as a sub.

Alvaro Medran. Bought in summer 2016 as a very cheap replacement for Andre Gomes. Though he showed some early promise, lacked the consistency to be a regular, making 19 appearances and scoring 3 times. Started in Marcelino’s first game in charge in 17/18 but that would be his final appearance. Went to Alaves on loan where a managerial change proved disastrous for him, leading to him infamously breaking down in tears in a post-match interview. After another loan at Rayo, he joined Chicago Fire on a free, where he’s a regular.

Mario Suarez. As I said in the previous post, if Simeone says you’re past it, you are. Joined on loan from Watford in summer 2016 with a buy option to replace the departed Fuego. Was a regular for the first half of the season without convincing. With Voro taking over and Soler’s emergence he was deemed unnecessary and didn’t even play a single minute after February 2017. Joined Guizhou in China that year before returning to Spain with Rayo in 2019. Was a regular the first season but now struggles for game time, used as a sub mostly.

Javi Fuego. After 3 ok years with us, joined Espanyol. 2 seasons later spent a single season at Villarreal where he featured rarely as he spent most of the season injured. Released by them, he dropped down a level to join Gijon where he’s ever present. Considering he turned 37 earlier this month, that’s not bad going for a midfielder.

Maksimovic. Was a good pick-up on a free from Astana but got frustrated at lack of game time behind the next 3 guys on this list and left to join Getafe where he’s done very well. It’s a shame because with the current state of our midfield, he’d be a useful player to have.

Parejo. His departure for no money and the manner of it: tossed out as if he was no one when he was actually a loyal, long time club servant, still annoys. Has been a regular at Villarreal this season.

Coquelin. Not going so well for him up the coast. Has really struggled for game time, with brief sub appearances the norm since October and for the last 5 games he’s played 4 minutes and hasn’t even been in the match squad the other 4.

Kondogbia. I hope he gets more money at Atletico because he’s certainly losing game time. Hasn’t played more than 27 minutes in a league game since joining them and didn’t even play the last 3 games.

Right wingers

Fede Cartabia, played both wings. Joined us at age 13 and made a decent breakthrough for 2013-14, playing 40 games. But fell out of favor and a couple of seasons of loans followed. Made a surprise return to Valencia in summer 2016 but only lasted the first half of the season. Released on a free and returned to Depor, where he got reasonable game time, but was loaned out to Braga and then last season to Al-Ahli of Dubai in the UAE. Still there but out of favour. Another promising youth player who never quite made it.

Feghouli. After 6 reasonable seasons with us, he fell out with the club at the end and left for a season at West Ham. Moved to Galatasaray in 2017 and is still there, recently passing 120 games for them.

Orellana. Joined in January 2017 and started well, with a winner against Real Madrid but was then frozen out and left to join Eibar. After two and a half reasonable seasons there, moved to Valladolid for this season.

Ferran. Doing well at Man City. Too painful to write any more.

DePaul. Another one that got away. After a brief spell back at his boyhood club Racing he moved to Udinese where he’s highly rated and played 165 games to date.

Andreas Pereira. His loan spell with us ended sourly as it became obvious we weren’t going to buy him and he responded by sulking. Returned to Man United and saw decent game time last season but is now on loan at Lazio.

Rober. Made sporadic sub appearances in Nuno’s first season before heading out on loan for a couple of seasons at Granada and Leganes. Made a brief return and scored his only senior goal in his final appearance in a Copa win over Zaragoza. Joined Getafe in January 2018 but was barely used and moved to Osasuna on loan a year later. Their promotion for 2019-20 triggered a buy clause but he didn’t play much after that. They loaned him out to second tier Leganes for this season.

Monday, January 18, 2021

The "where are they now?" of the Lim era part 1: goalkeepers and defenders

 Just for something different. I was looking over my spreadsheets of player appearances recently and wondering what had happened to some of those guys post-Valencia and decided to do a couple of nostalgia driven posts on it. This is the full lowdown on every former player who kicked a ball in a competitive game with the first team since Lim took over in 2014. Salva Ruiz and Michel, who were registered but never played, are not counted, nor are the guys currently out on loan (Jimenez, Piccini and Guerrero.) 


Diego Alves: it almost became a ritual: dubious penalty whistled, Alves played mind games with the taker and, to the roar of Mestalla, saved it half the time. Injured the last game of 2014-15 season and never recovered his previous form. He’s now back home in Brazil playing for Flamengo and still saving half the penalties.

Matt Ryan: signed to cover Diego’s injury, got injured himself early on at Valencia and that effectively killed off his Valencia career as he found himself fighting for the number 1 spot with Jaume and then with Alves when he returned. After just 10 league appearances, joined Brighton where he did well until this season when he fell out of favor and is now transfer listed.

Yoel: signed as backup and never recovered from a disastrous performance at Deportivo followed by letting in 4 in the Copa. Even the injuries to Alves and Matt Ryan failed to give him game time as Jaume was preferred. Loaned out to Rayo and Eibar, being bought by the latter, who also put him out on loan to Valladolid. Now just a back-up at Eibar.

Neto: early questions were asked when he seemed static as goals went in past him, but established himself as a reliable keeper. It all ended weirdly with him getting the huff with Marcelino when Jaume was maintained for the Copa. His time at Barcelona hasn’t convinced and he’s recently been asking to leave to get more game time. Safe to say the Cillessen-Neto swap, which seemed a good idea at the time, hasn’t worked out for anyone.

Lucas Orban: signed from Bordeaux, his Valencia career got off to a dream start when he came on as a late sub and scored an equaliser against Sevilla in Nuno’s first game in charge. His only goal for the club. Though he got a few games in the middle of that season, he struggled to establish himself and left on loan to Levante before moving permanently to Genoa. After struggling for game time there, returned to his native Argentina where he now plays for River Plate.

Siquiera: if Simeone thinks you’re past it, he’s usually right. Signed in Jan 2016 to cover at left back even though Lato was showing promise. Got game time at the end of 15-16 but didn’t convince and ended injured. When he returned he struggled for games with Lato and even Montoya preferred when Gaya was unavailable. Valencia did not take up the buy option and Atletico Madrid released him. After a year without a club, retired in 2018.

Jaume Costa: after his loan year with us, back at Villarreal where he’s still a back-up who rarely plays.

Ibrahim Diallo: signed for Mestalla as a promising youth from Eupen in Summer 2015. Played 4 games in the Copa, two of them the full 90 minutes, one the dead rubber second leg against Barca after we had been crushed 7-0. Lacking game time, returned to Eupen and played most of 2016-17, but suffered a horrific knee injury at the start of 2017-18. After 2 and a half years of various treatments proved unsuccessful and he hadn’t played a minute, he retired last summer at the age of 23. Now works as a video analyst for Eupen.

Vezo: Had a lengthy spell of six seasons at the club and I was sorry to see him go for while he was never amazing, he was always a useful backup. He got fed up of that role and joined Levante where he’s been getting the game time he lacked. 

: best defender we have had in the last decade, he of course abandoned us after 1 season to join Man City and was doing fine there until cracks started to appear and fell out of favor. Despite being linked with a Valencia return many times, he’s now back in Portugal at Benfica.

Mustafi: formed a decent partnership with Otamendi before joining Arsenal in a deal which eventually saw Paulista, Coquelin and 14 million come the other way. After a good start at Arsenal, it fell apart and he’s now the butt of jokes among their fans who will be happy to move him on.

Abdennour: signed as Otamendi’s replacement on the strength of a good season at Monaco he quickly alienated the Mestalla faithful with error heavy performances. With Garay and Mangala arriving it was game over and Valencia attempted to recover some money with a loan to Marseilles. After he failed there, he was released and spent a year in Turkey at Kayserispor where he also didn’t convince. They released him on a free to Qatari club Umm Salal where he at least gets some game time though his career is effectively over at top level.

Santos: awful signing that we blew 10 million of the Otamendi money on. After even making Abdennour look like a great signing he was loaned out to Brazilian clubs and then Valencia apparently got some money from Al Ahli for him. After not impressing there, they let him return to Portugal, to Rio Ave, on a free.

Jeison Murillo: always a mystery why it didn’t happen for him at the Mestalla as he looked a solid 3rd choice defender. Loaned out to Barcelona, where he played just a single game and then to Sampdoria. Joined the latter permanently, struggled for game time and now plays regularly on loan at Celta.

Roncaglia: after the strange decision not to give Murillo game time, Roncaglia was brought in on loan to cover. Looked error prone and got sent off at Girona so it was no surprise that his time with us ended after half a season.

Garay: probably the best defender of the Lim era after Otamendi. Started to become too injury prone but was ultimately a victim of the internal club politics. Though he’s recovered from last year’s injury, he remains without a club.

Barragan: despite never being great, had a long 5 seasons with us. Sold to Middlesbrough in summer 2016. After not impressing there, returned to Spain with Betis who released him to join Elche last summer.

Montoya: Barragan’s replacement. Proved no better and not an answer to the club’s long lack of a decent right back. After teaming up with Matt Ryan in Brighton he returned to Spain last year with Betis.

Nacho Vidal: broke through under Marcelino and was even touted as one of the best Spanish young players but a few iffy performances led to him being dropped and he left for Osasuna where he’s been a regular.

Cancelo: big money transfer to Italy followed by another big money transfer to Man City. His career is going well.

Florenzi: should have gone better for him than it did, but injury and the general chaos at the club meant that his loan becoming permanent was never an option. Doing well with PSG now.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Yunus Musah renews, Copa del Rey time confirmed

 News at Valencia hasn't been great in recent times, with ongoing instability in the club. Today the club announced better news. Yunus Musah has announced a 4-year extension to his contract, tying him to the club until 2026.

Musah's emergence has been one of the more positive notes to emerge from this season, during which he earned a first international cap for the US national team, though he remains eligible to play for England as well. Unfortunately, none of the sources give his release clause. With Gabriel Paulista recently getting Spanish citizenship, that opened the way for another non-EU player.

Valencia drew Tercera División (fourth level) side Terrassa CF in last 64 of the Copa Del Rey and the date and time have now been confirmed for the midweek after next on 15 December at 19:00 CET.

Terrassa have never played in the top flight and it's been 15 years since they were even in Segunda. While that makes it sound easy on paper, it's a one-leg game away and Valencia have had a few nervy moments in recent times against lower level clubs in the Copa, so hopefully the main enemy, complacency, can be overcome for this one.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Official: Kondogbia sold to Atletico Madrid

Valencia and Atletico Madrid have confirmed the transfer of Kondogbia to Atletico Madrid today. Kondogbia has already passed the medical joined up with his new team.

The player signs for 4 years with a reported fee of 15 million euros with Valencia reserving around 15% of a future sale of the player. For reference, Kondogbia arrived at Valencia in the 2018-19 season from Inter Milan for a fee of 22 million euros, having spent the prior season on loan at Valencia.

When Inter Milan made the sale, 20% rights to future sale of the player were included in the agreement. In this case, however, they would get nothing due to the condition on the previous clause. It only applies if the sale amount is a number greater than 25 million euros.

This signing came about after Arsenal activated Thomas Parey's release clause in the last moments of the transfer market and signed him from Atletico Madrid. To accommodate such late transfers, Atletico were allowed to make a signing despite the closing of the transfer window to everyone else. Kondogbia was interested either for the pay increase or the loss of hope in this project. Either way, he pushed for a way out and has missed the last few training sessions and fixtures with Valencia. His Instagram dig at Anil Murthy signaled the beginning of the end. 

So comes the end of the player's time at Valencia. He has been an instrumental part of the Valencia team with his great work rate and controlling presence in midfield. He was also part of the the team that won the Copa del Rey in 2018, Valencia's most recent trophy in their cabinet. 

Thank you to Kondogiba and best wishes with his new club as well as any future endeavors.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Official: Cristiano Piccini loaned to Atalanta

 The club has confirmed today through its website and social media accounts, the departure of Cristiano Piccini to Atalanta. 

The agreement between the clubs is a one-year loan with a purchase option at the end of it. The fee is reported to be around 3 million euros. Piccini arrived two seasons ago from Portuguese club Sporting CP for 8 million euros.

For many fans, the signing of Piccini did not accomplish it's intended goals. He was supposed to take over the right-back role thus addressing a previously vulnerable position for the team. However, his time in Valencia has seen him playing while struggling with injury, absent due to long-term injury or playing after a long period through recovery from injury. His injury has lead to Wass having a prominent role as right-back as well as the signing of Correia later on. With those two available and with Piccini being injury-prone, many would have wanted the club to push for an exit. He did play in parts of the pre-season games with Javi Gracia so there was some indication he could stay but it just wasn't to be. It remains to be seen whether a signing will be made in right-back or if Wass and Correia will be in charge of that position this season.

Piccini has sent a farewell letter to the fans in which he expressed appreciation for all the support, thanked his teammates and coaches, reveled in the Cup victory and provided some words of encouragement moving forward. Good luck to Piccini with his new team!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Rodrigo Moreno leaves

 It seems to be confirmed that Rodrigo has officially left the club, signing for Leeds United, for a reported 30m plus a potential 10m more in objectives.

Rodrigo was always a divisive player. Signed for 30m in 2014 as part of Meriton's first season splurge, in his early years he was the poster child for Meriton's excesses and unhealthy association with Jorge Mendes' clients.

Usually played on the left of a 4-3-3, his goal rate was hugely disappointing. His first goal for the club came from the penalty spot at Getafe in late September. It would be 4 months before he scored again, his first from open play highlighting what he can do: intercepting near the halfway line, dribbling to the edge of the area and scoring from outside the box. In total he managed 4 goals in his first season, 7 in his second. The departure of Alcacer and Negredo in 2016 saw him moved more central and, somewhat unnoticed at the time, his rate picked up: 7 goals in 21 games before getting injured.

It took the arrival of Marcelino to boost him, with 19 goals that season in a 4-4-2 with Zaza, followed by 15 the following season. The latter included his only hat-trick for the club in the memorable comeback versus Getafe. At the end of the game he clashed with Getafe players and mocked them in revenge for similar gestures. He went on to score the winning goal in the cup final.

Last season he reverted to disappointing goal numbers: 7 in 34 games, though his assists record remained good. He also scored two crucial goals in the Champions league: the winners at Chelsea and Ajax.

Ultimately, as usual, I'm a little disappointed with the transfer figure. I know he's 29, but he is a Spain international and therefore I would have hoped for 40m at least. The big question is how the club will replace his link-up play between midfield and attack. Soler? Kang-In? Guedes? New signing?

Lastly, this is another sign for me of the decline of La Liga, something the league's overseers only have themselves to blame for as they concentrated too much money into two super-clubs (one of which is in clear decline.) It's hard to imagine newly promoted Cadiz signing an England international forward, yet the equivalent has happened. 

In previous transfer windows we seemed to leave things very late, even when we had cash to spare. We're now doing the same, as there are just two weeks until the return of La Liga, but from an even weaker position. Maybe the Rodrigo money can finally get things moving? Cillessen is said to be next out the door.

Anyway, good luck to Rodrigo with his new club

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Official: Javi Jimenez loaned to Albacete Balompié

The exit operations for Valencia continue with the announcement that Mestalla B defender Javi Jimenez has been loaned to Albacete Balompié for the duration of the 2020-21 season.

Despite having recently renewed his contract with Valencia until 2022, Javi Jimenez was not part of the 31 players summoned by Javi Gracia for the preseason. It seems like he wasn't even given a chance with the new coach. Seeking to get some minutes under his belt, a loan deal was established with Segunda division team Albacete Balompié. Other offers included teams like Castellon and Lugo.