Showing posts with label editorial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label editorial. Show all posts

Monday, November 30, 2015

Coaching options for Valencia CF

After Valencia's last nights defeat against Sevilla, Nuno Santo decided to resign from his position as coach of Valencia CF. He was under immense pressure and had already come under fire from fans and Spanish media, with last night's loss culminating in his resignation.

Now that he is out though Valencia CF turns its attention to find a new coach as quickly as possible, someone who can take this young group of players and build them up into a team.

Frank Rijkaard is one of the options that are being mentioned in the Spanish media, Barcelona FC  coach, he basically transformed Barcelona into the modern style that was later perfected by Pep. He became famous for his Barcelona coaching career, though he hasn't had any success since, though hasn't had any good options either, going to Turkey to coach Galatasaray and then just a year later joining Saudi Arabia national team.

David Moyes is another option for Valencia CF, he's an English manager who spent most of his coaching career at Everton before being appointed as the successor to Alex Ferguson, only to be quickly sacked after a not so great start to his career at Manchester United. He was then appointed to Spanish team Real Sociedad with whom he has had a decent first season, but was not so long ago sacked due to poor results this season. He will definitely be a big unknown for us, though not that bigger than Rijkaard who hasn't coached for almost 3 years.

Michael Laudrup is another option that is going around the press, he is extremely experienced as a coach, had a very successful playing career, but he hasn't celebrated himself as a coach and has often changed clubs or being forced out due to poor results. His most recent success was with Swansea City 2012-2014, though he was sacked in 2014 due to a run of poor results. He is going to be another unknown if we appoint him as Valencia's coach, though no more than the other two I've already wrote about.

Brendan Rodgers is another coach that is a potential option, he was just recently sacked from Liverpool after a string of poor results and overall unsatisfactory play from Liverpool after a second season of big summer spending. He because famous in Swansea City, leading them to the Premier league and keeping them there. His success with Swansea didn't go unnoticed and Liverpool came calling for his services in 2012. In his first season at Liverpool he led them to 7th place finish, his second season was his most successful one as he led Liverpool to 2nd place, just barely losing out the Premier league title to City.

Alejandro Sabella is yet another option for Valencia CF, he's an Argentinian coach who started his coaching career in 2009 at Estudiantes, before becoming Argentina's coach from 2011 to 2014. In his last year coaching the Argentinian national team he reached the final with them, losing out on the championship to Germany. He stepped down as coach even though he reached the final in the world cup and has been without a coaching job since.

Roberto Di Matteo who's been mentioned few times in the past as a potential coach for Valencia CF is available once again. He came to fame as an interim coach to Chelsea FC as he led them to Champions league glory. He was promptly sacked in his second season and just barely 8 months into his tenure at Chelsea after failing to advance the team through the Champions league group stage.
Since then he's worked at Schalke 04 for one season, resigning at the end of the season after failing to lead them to Champions league football.

Joaquín Caparrós is also available and a potential option for Valencia CF. As a long standing coach in Spanish football his name has been mentioned several times when looking at options for Valencia CF coach, but he's never quite entered into that short list for contention. He rose to prominence at Sevilla as he really developed them into a strong competitor team in his five years there. He left in 2005 to join Deportivo La Coruna who he led for two years before jumping board to Atletico Bilbao where he spend 4 relatively successful years. Since 2011 when he left Bilbao he hasn't found the same success he enjoyed earlier in his career and he's jumped between 4 teams since. He last coached Granada who were last place on the table when he was sacked.

Carlo Anceloti is the biggest name on this list and boy wouldn't it be amazing if he was to become Valencia's coach, but that is hugely unlikely as he's said he won't join any team in the winter and he's already in high demand as Bayern Munich, Manchester City and other teams are looking at securing his services next summer.

Who would you like to see become the next Valencia CF coach?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Possible Winter Transfers

Alvaro Negredo  Bought for 28 million euros from Man City August 2014.
In my opinion at the time it was an exciting purchase even though the price seemed high for a player of that age, however, if he was going to start getting goals for us it may have turned into a wise investment. Unfortunately as we all now know it has been a disastrous waste of money.  Now he is out of favour and looking to be offloaded in the winter, the worst possible thing  has to happen is that he has had to go to hospital for an operation and is now sidelined for a couple of months. Will anybody shell out any decent money for him in January ?  It remains to be seen.  Anyhow, I see the club losing a lot of money over this deal but in the long term good for both sides if he goes as I feel that at the moment he has no future here with the current set up.  Of course in the event of Nuno himself going that could all change and who would bet against that at the moment. The latest is that Olympic Marseille may be interested in him and that a possible move for us to take Michy Batshuayi, although there would be a big payment for us as apparently they are looking for a ridiculous 50 million for him and I don't think we will get that for Negredo.

Rodrigo De Paul  Bought from Racing Club for 4.5 million euros in July 2014.
A player who, in my opinion, and I know many others, has just not been given enough time in the team. We are a team devoid of strong powerful players who are willing to go and do the unexpected and here is a player who can do that. How Piatti is being chosen before De Paul has left many of us perplexed.  What is the reason for his exclusion ?  We have to appreciate that even though we all want to know, the manager cannot go to the press and criticize the players and say why they are not playing.  That would be the easy way out but it is a thing that managers are often reluctant to do.  The latest is that Villareal and Marseille are interested in his purchase so we will have to wait and see on that one.  I really hope he is given time and stays.

Nicolas Orban  signed from Bordeaux for 3.5 million euros August 2014.
A player I have always liked despite being error prone on occasions. He is a player who wants to win and who gives his all on the pitch. Versatile, in that he could be used as left back or central defence if needed and I am sure would also be comfortable as a defensive midfield player.  It is no surprise that teams like Celta Vigo, River Plate, Boca Juniors and Borussia Monchengladbach have taken an interest in signing him.  I wonder if Nuno has stopped to think that he might have missed something. Of course if he does go he will need to be replaced by another quality left back to cover for Gaya.  I do not understand why Gaya has not been given a rest recently and Orban used, I foresee Gaya getting another injury soon by being overplayed.

If it was down to me, players that would be leaving in the winter providing we could find somebody to buy them, would be  Piatti and Barragan.  I think we need a replacement right back to cover or replace Cancello and maybe another left midfield player.

Many players have been mentioned as possible signings but I think that is all just down to paper talk. Of course there will be new faces but I think they may be surprise purchases and may depend on us getting into the next round of the Champions League as to how much we spend.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

International break would benefit Valencia CF

Valencia CF managed to qualify for the Champions league group stage against a very difficult opponent in AS Monaco, but the team failed to win in two matches in the Spanish league, leaving the team on a somewhat bad start to the season.

Valencia CF coach Nuno Santo would be delighted the international break is now and it will last until the 12th this month, so he can work with the team for an extended period and fix the issues we've seen. Andre Gomes will also be closer to recovering fully and being called in the squad and the two new arrivals in Aderlan Santos and Aymen Abdennour would have some time to get used to the city, the club and the players before being incorporated into the team.

It will also give a chance for players who featured a lot to take a breath and recoup their energy, as well as possibly help some of the struggling players like Paco Alcacer by having him in the Spanish squad and mixing it up and learning from some of the best players in the country.
Sometimes a change of scenery and faces can really help you, refocus you and hopefully Paco will get his best form back, just in time for La Liga.

As I've already mentioned it would give Nuno some time to experiment with some players, try out the new defenders, asses their skills and play styles and gel the players together. With Mathew Ryan being injured for about a month, he can also experiment with the two goalkeepers and see who is more reliable and dependable, Yoel or Jaume.

Hopefully the defense will be rock solid so there won't even be reason for the goalkeepers to go into action, at least not often and just maintain a strong defensive line, now that we have 4 options for central defenders. It will be interesting to see who of the current central defenders Nuno decides to bench, whether he'll still prefer Mustafi over Vezo, or has Vezo impressed him enough?

What is your starting eleven team now with all the new additions and recovering players? Tell us in the comments section!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Valencia CF 2015 preseason

The summer is almost over and upon us is a new Spanish season and qualification for the Champions league group stage. Valencia CF faces a very difficult opponent in its path to advance to the group stages of the Champions league.

The team started the preseason friendlies fairly early, though in a standard fashion in Austria and against an Austrian team. Wiener SK was Valencia's first opponent the even though the players had just returned from vacation they had no troubles dispatching Wiener SK with easy and celebrating a comfortable 4-0 victory.

Valencia CF would continue the good preseason start by beating English Southampton FC by a minimal 1-0 and then facing instantly Werder Bremen, drawing in normal time, but losing 3-2 on penalties.

About a week later came the real test of Valencia CF strength against German champions Bayern Munich. This match showed just how much more Valencia CF has to go in order to reach top level, as the team was humiliated by a ruthless Bayern team who took advantage of every mistake at the back and punished Valencia CF. Bayern Munich would go on to win the match 4-1.

Next preseason match was against PSV Eindhoven in which Valencia CF took the lead early through Paco Alcacer and basically managed to keep that result till the end. Once again, third match is a row Valencia CF didn't seem convincing, ever since the huge Bayern Munich loss the weaknesses in the team were apparent and glaring.

The next match would be against Porto, the team had another week to train and improve and show it off, but once again a lethargic performance and a dismal showing. Even though the result was 0-0 and it was a slow and boring match it was Porto who showed more initiative and had more chances and attacks. Ultimately Valencia CF lost on penalties. Nuno said after the match that he was pleased and liked how the team pressed and dismissed questions about lack of creativity in the attacking third, saying he saw enough creativity to be pleased.
Apparently he was the only one who was pleased and saw that creativity, since most people and readers here on this blog thought Valencia CF played bad and without any cohesion.

The next day Valencia CF played against Koln and Nuno decided to field the reserves and B team, but it was still a fairly strong team on paper, but that didn't make a difference as Valencia CF lost again.

Ultimately it was going to be the match against Roma that was going to show the level of the team as it was the last preseason friendly and the orange cup which the team has always taken seriously and tried to win at all costs.
Unfortunately the plan to win and show a strong and great play was ruined as Roma would win the match 3-1, but more importantly expose key errors in Valencia's play and defensive line.

You can read most of the preseason match reports on the Fixtures&Results page and of course check out the fixtures for the new season.

Personally from what matches I've watched and/or seen highlights or read the reports here I'm not too convinced about our team. Sure last season we did great and the core team is the same, but what is a new name, which new players are going to made last years team better? Santi Mina is a talented  young player, but the key words here are 'talented' and 'young', certainly not proven, certainly not prime time ready.

Zakaria Bakkali came on a free transfer from PSV and once again a talented young player with the nod on 'talented' and 'young' again, certainly a player for the future, but not someone who will instantly make a difference and make the team better.

Danilo barbosa is the same mold of player, here on a loan deal to deputize in midfield, no one expects him to be a started and improve the team. So basically the team is the same from last season and Nuno and the officials are hoping the level would improve just by the players we have improving on an individual level. While I do think that can be the case, usually you want several older veteran type players who are able to lead the team and teach the younger players how to be better. The only player that is older, but certainly not the most established is Javi Fuego, hardly the Xavi, Pirlo, Toure, Xabi, etc... type who do so much for the top clubs.

The biggest issue I have personally is with the midfield, I just haven't seen a match in the preseason where VCF established midfield control and used it effectively to start attacks. In pretty much all of the matches the team has always been beaten in the midfield. On paper weaker teams managing to establish more control on midfield and have more initiative.

True, last season the team played pretty much the same way throughout the season and won most of the games, but last season the attack worked wonders for us with the fast paced, direct counter attacking style, but this was mostly due to the high form of Jose Luis Gaya, Pablo Piatti and Paco Alcacer. Their counter attacks were so devastating and of course set piece goals coming from our defense.
That was last season though and you can't rely on the same tactics and absurdly high form of certain players  to be able to do the exact same thing this season consistently as well, in fact we are seeing in this preseason that Valencia CF does have major trouble creating chances and scoring goals.

Personally having a bad preseason is making me more interested in our upcoming matches because I'm hoping that the team can surprise me, show good play and of course the most important thing - WIN. I'd like to be positively surprised and to have a reason to celebrate as Valencia CF beat Monaco and continue in the Champions league.

Some things that have happened in the past few days that can kind of worsen things is the renewed Otamendi saga, now once again Manchester United are after him and they are supposedly ready to pay the 50 million buyout clause.

Other reports even suggest that Manchester City have joined in the race to sign Nicolas Otamendi, of course all of these rumors sparked by the fact that Otamendi didn't play against the B team and supposedly asked Nuno to be excused, with him not even featuring in the squad build-up that is supposed to face Monaco.

Ultimately we'll have to wait and see what happens on that front, if we do lose Otamendi its obviously going to be a huge blow for Valencia CF, having to face Monaco without him.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Where Are They Now and Are They Coming Back?

Vinicius Araujo 
On loan at Standard Liege in Belgium until June 2015 having signed for them on a 12 month load period.  He was bought by Valencia from Cruziero in Brazil for a reputed 3.5 million euros, with Valencia owning half the rights but was not used  very often and was only seen few a few minutes at the end of games.
To me he looked very slow and heavy footed having come with very high hopes from Brazil.  He failed to score for us and is having a tough time now at Standard Liege having the same problems of not being played and coming on late.  At one time he was top scorer for the Brazil U/20s  but his career seems to have stalled at the moment.  he is on contract with us until the summer 2019 so it remains to be seen where he will go next season.  I think the chances of him coming back right now and being part of the squad are very slim.

Robert Ibanez
Currently on loan at Granada. Has scored 4 goals for them this season since he went there in January of this year. He seems to be fulfilling his expectations and looks a great prospect. He is due to return to Valencia in the summer and is contracted to us until 2018. A decision has to be taken then as to whether his loan will be extended which is unlikely as it looks as if Granada could well be playing in Segunda B next season unless they can improve their form. Alternatively in the event of them dropping down he could go elsewhere for a loan period and I am sure there would be no shortage of takers for him. However we cannot discount the fact that it may be felt that he has proved himself in the top league and could return to be part of the squad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fede Cartabria
  On loan at Cordoba until the end of the season 2015.  Contracted to Valencia until 2017.  Seems to be revitalised getting away from Valencia and playing more regularly.  His game certainly seems to have improved with the added responsibility of being their main playmaker at times. Great at taking free kicks and drawing fouls with his mazy runs.  Still seems to have a temperament problem though and seems to attract too many yellow cards from the referee. Although who are we to critcise that as we have enough players who seem to be doing the same thing. I think his decision making has improved somewhat but can still see some of the old bad things creeping in at times.

The season away will have been really good for him and the club and again a decision needs to be made on his future.  We have  the same dilemma with Fede as Cordoba appear to be doomed to relegation and he certainly will not be staying with them after the summer.  So what happens,  we sell,  we loan out again ?  We will wait and see.

Victor Ruiz
On loan at Villareal until the end of this season with an option to buy for 4 million euros. he is on contract to Valencia until summer 2016.
He has had a really good season with Villareal and it remains to be seen as to whether they will buy him.  I think the chances are that they will take up the offer considering the number of games he has played this term with a team that has until recently been challenging us near the top end of the table.  I don't see him coming back to play for us despite his improvement in form due to the opportunities he has had to prove his capabilities.  Is he a player we have let slip away ?  Time will tell but with our increased finances now maybe it is best for both parties.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Valencia CF season so far

Warning: Long wall of text

Valencia CF had a rough summer, Bankia had announced the sale process of Valencia CF months before and there were several companies with offers on the table to acquire the club. Peter Lim's company Meriton scored the most points by the evaluation company responsible for the sale process and the talks between the club foundation, the Valencia government and Bankia would result in the agreement that this was the best deal for all sides.

Just when things seemed to be running smoothly the sales process would hit a brick wall, with Bankia deciding to change up the initial sales agreement and complicate the sale of the club. Of course they had their reasons, now that they had a serious and good offer, they decided they want more money out of it. So the process came to a grinding stop. Even though it was now just Peter Lim's offer the sale of the club was in question.

Even with all the problems around the sale of the club, the staff was hard at work at securing new players and rebuilding the team. One of the best deals was actually achieved the previous season when Valencia CF purchased Otamendi from Porto for 12 million euros, but due to an unforeseen foreign players clause issue the club was forced to loan out the player. The player was kind of forgotten in the period that followed, after all Valencia CF had immediate issues and a squad that was playing each match. Unknowing to anyone Otamendi would prove to be one of the best signings for Valenca CF in the past several years and looking from today's perspective a damn good transfer deal.

The defense this season with Otamendi at the helm of it has been impeccable, in fact gone are the days were I would get gray hair in the final 10 minutes of every match, wishing its over so that the team could hold on to the 2-1 lead and not receive a last minute goal, which of course the team ended up conceding a last minute goal. If it was not last minute than the defense sure had a tendency to complicate things and fail to clear basic situations. Otamendi has been the best player so far and most do agree with me on this one, as I had a poll recently which had 90% of the people voting for Otamendi as the best new player this season and I think overall the best player as well, new or old. 

Peter Lim who had purchased Rodrigo Moreno and Andre Gomes from Benfica would loan out the players to Valencia CF, technically Benfica loaned them out to Valencia CF, but they were both owned by Meriton. That won't be all though and the club and Meriton would work closely together to bring in another major signing in Alvaro Negredo from Manchester City on loan with a clause in his contract to purchase the player for 25 million euros if Valencia CF qualify for the champions league.

Many players would be on their way out though, with several players leaving the club as a free agent, among them Ricardo Costa, Jonas Goncalves and others, with Juan Bernat and Jeremy Mathieu being sold to Bayern and Barcelona in a matter which the club didn't have an option to keep them. This would actually turn out for the best, as Mathieu was in my personal view too much error prone and Juan Bernat was good, but still very inexperienced and inconsistent.

Of course looking at it from the current position its even better since Otamendi was automatically a starter and was able to really gel with the team and of course Jose Gaya has done amazingly well, in fact so much so that I think his contributions easily outshine what Bernat contributions to the team were.

The club itself bought some players, Rodrigo De Paul was purchased from Racing club and Skhodran Mustafi was purchased from Sampdoria for 8 million euros. Lucan Orban came in for 4 million euros goalkeeper Yoel arrived on a loan deal initially and was then purchased.

The final change would be the coach, the club decided to end the contract with Pizzi who actually did very well the 6 months he was coach and the arrival of Nuno was purely political since he is close friends with the agent Jorge Mendes our club was dealing with, who is also a personal friend with Peter Lim, so the change was purely political and not based on performance or sporting considerations. This was the cause of much anger among the fans who saw Nuno as an inferior coach who was unproven at higher level.

With all of the changes that occurred, almost a completely new squad, new coaching staff and a transition to possibly a new ownership the pressure was on for results. Of course the brunt of this pressure laid on the new coach who had to make a team out of a random group of players, most of them new, some of the coming from the B team and few old players that survived the rebuilding process.

Things could not be harder for the coach, when the fixtures were revealed and we found out that Valencia CF is going play against Sevilla in its first match of the new season, away from home to make matters worse. The second match was not easier either with Malaga who at that point was significantly weakened from the time they had Pellegrini as coach, but were still a relatively strong team.

Surprising to many the first match would end in a draw, even though Valencia CF played with one less player for much of the second half due to De Paul getting sent off with a straight red card in his first appearance for Valencia. Sevilla was a strong team, coached by former Valencia CF coach Unai Emery and strengthened by Ever Banega who Valencia CF sold to them.

More surprising still is that the team would go on and score 3 goals in the next 4 matches, winning all of them, before being held to a 1-1 draw against a very organized Real Sociedad side before going on to beat defending champions Atletico Madrid by three goals to one.

Fast forward to today and the team is currently sitting in 4th position on the table with 31 points out of 16 matches played in what has been a solid start to the season, one which I wouldn't have guessed if you asked me in the summer. I though that just muddling through this season would be okay and building up for a good second season, but the performances have been great and we are looking towards a very successful first season.

When  I look at the team and all of the players I think we have a good team, we have good amount of depth as well, with Lucas Orban, Vezo and Cancelo as defensive replacements, all of which have shown great potential to an attack that consists of Negredo, Paco, Moreno. Negredo a very experienced and proficient striker, Paco and Moreno great talents for the present, who've already shown their worth and who've helped the team. The flanks are also quite stacked, with Piatti, Feghouli, De Paul.

One of the weaker links right now is the midfield, Parejo has not always been at his best and has had some inconsistency issues, Fuego is limited in his offensive contributions and while their is no doubt about his superb defensive contributions, one wishes he could do more and help the team to control possession and in an offensive manner.

Gomes has also been very good, he's created space and opportunities for other players, but again sometimes his overall contributions seem a little but low. Felipe Augusto who was purchased last moment basically after the deal with Enzo Perez fell through has proven to be a miss so far. He hasn't impressed at all in the several matches he's been given a chance and Zuculini who in on loan here from Manchester City hasn't even gotten the opportunities to prove himself.

Good thing is that Enzo Perez looks like a done deal right now and is highly poised to join Valencia CF when the transfer window opens, but you never know. He was poised to join Valencia in the summer, but at the last moment Benfica decided to disregard the agreement with Peter Lim for a 25 million transfer fee and demanded 30 millions and thus the transfer failed.

Overall apart from Enzo Perez I don't think there is someone that I would particularly want to join Valencia CF. The team seems quite balanced right now, there is enough players for most of the positions, we have players who can also play in several different positions and we also have some young talented players like Gil and Rotert Ibanez who have too much competition, so they can't even get a good playing time to be able to develop more.

If you are reading this you've made it to the end of my little editorial piece, so good on you and if you found any grammatical errors or contextual errors or wanted to correct me on a piece of information, please do so in the comments section and I will correct any mistake as soon as I can.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Goodbye Juan Antonio Pizzi

It's official. Valencia CF has sacked Juan Antonio Pizzi along with his coaching staff effective today. He will be replaced by Nuno Espirito Santo of Rio Ave FC in the Portuguese League. This has been rumored for quite some time now and here it is actually happening. Apparently, Pizzi doesn't have the trust of soon-to-be owner Peter Lim after finishing 8th in the league. This is slightly harsh considering Pizzi had to pick up from the ruins left behind by Miroslav Djukic and did quite well with what he had. Pizzi's contract was until June 30, 2015 but will be terminated with the club paying off the rest of his term in office. The club statement said this sacking was for the benefit of "stability" of the future sports project. To me, it seemed like it was doing the opposite.

Anyway, the new coaching staff will be there to start training the club on Monday at the training camp in Germany. This should also mean the arrival of 19-year old Brazilian midfielder Filipe Augusto to the Mestalla B team. The training camp should include all three signings Otamendi (may arrive later), Rodrigo de Paul and Dani Ramirez. With the latter of the three to be judged along with other Mestalla B players Ibanez and Tendillo among others, to see if they are worthy of first-team football. I don't yet if Filipe Augusto will also be part of that. From what I read, the new coach Santo likes to use a core of experienced players with a lot of young players in his line-up. We'll see if that is repeated here in Valencia CF.

This sacking also points to the near completion of the deal between Valencia CF and Peter Lim. Making such a move without knowing for certain if the sale will go through is risky and quite blatantly stupid. The only thing left in the contract was adding the clauses that insured that Peter Lim would not have to deal with Newcoval's claims of about 90 million euros. Since Bankia owns half of Newcoval, if Bankia agrees to that clause, Newcoval's claims are invalid; and indeed Bankia has submitted those guarantees. All that's left now is the OK for Peter Lim which should happen in the next 24-48 hours. With this move, Rodrigo Moreno and Andre Gomes of Benfica both become official Valencia CF players and should arrive at the training camp as well. The signings of Martinez and Perez  (if complete) should be announced soon after Lim's takeover is made official.

As for sponsors and kits, it appears that Jinko Solar will not be continuing as the shirt sponsor and the club is looking for replacements. If you check the official website, under sponsors Adidas is there but Jinko Solar isn't. Coca Cola is also listed under sponsors but I don't know if there is a shirt deal with them. There are also talks of Catalan Bank CaixaBank being the sponsor but it is still very uncertain.

I don't know how the new coach will turn out, but all we can do now is hope he is the best choice for Valencia CF and he can achieve the club's goals.

What do you think of the sacking of Pizzi? Fair or unfair? Any opinion on new coach Nuno Espirito Santo?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Valencia CF could play Europa League?

I know it sounds like a miracle or just crazy. I actually don't believe it too much myself. However, UEFA has found two Turkish clubs (Eskişehirspor and Sivasspor) guilty of match fixing and thus barred either of them from competing in the Europa League next year as per the regulations. The clubs still have less than 10 days to appeal the decision. Should this be true, two slots will open up for the Europa League. Now, the rumor that's spreading like wildfire on various sports websites is that the two spots will go to the countries with the highest UEFA coefficient, Spain and England. This would see Valencia CF and Manchester United both get a chance at qualifying for the Europa League. Sounds like wishful thinking to me. I personally don't think that UEFA will take away slots from Turkey and give them to other countries. The fair thing to do would be to give the next two highest teams in Turkey the Europa League spots.

Further reason why this is doubtful is because two or three weeks ago the same rumor was spreading except it was about Ukrainian club. There were reports that due to the unrest in Ukraine and the safety considerations, Ukrainian clubs would lose the privilege of competing in UEFA competitions and Spain and England would receive those spots. That rumor was quickly dispelled by UEFA and  put to rest. This new rumor with Turkish clubs has yet to receive any response.

While I would love to see Valencia CF play at a European competition next year, I don't really know how I would feel about qualifying in this way, should it be true. All we can do is wait for UEFA's decision.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Transfer Market 2014

As you all should know the transfer market has begun about a week and a bit now. While there is lots of speculations surrounding Valencia players, I wanted to get enough content before I actually started writing this. So here goes.

I wrote earlier about Portuguese youth Ruben Vezo signing a deal earlier in 2013. As such he is the first player to join Valencia in this transfer window. With Ricardo Costa and Mathieu both injured in the last game against Celta Vigo, which ended in a 2-1 loss for Valencia, Ruben Vezo might get his first start alongside Victor Ruiz against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday's Copa del Rey game.

Here is an overview of potential players arrival and departure. These are only speculations.

Possible Departures:

1) Sergio Canales: The attacking midfilder/winger has expressed his desire to leave to get more playing time. After his multiple injuries last year, the player has not fully settled or established himself in the squad. When he was given a chance by new coach Pizzi, this past weekend against Celta Vigo, the results were far from impressive. I thought he was a good prospect when he first arrived, he is talent but I don't see him getting back to what he was before.
         Offer: N/A
         Interested Parties: Real Betis


2) Daniel Parejo: This is just pure speculation and I doubt this will actually go through. Parejo has taken advantage of the misfortune of other midfielders and has established himself in the team. He is starting every game and doing his job well: keeping the ball and making great passes.
         Offer: N/A
         Interested Parties: Napoli, Everton


3) Ever Banega: Another midfielder who is linked out of the club. Having impressed in the pre-season, he blew his chances after giving away the ball so much and trying to dribble the entire opposing team by himself. He should've cemented himself as the star player after Soldado's departure but failed to do so and at times became more of a liability. A host of European giants are interested in his signature though which could be in our favor.
         Offer: Currently valued at 15 million euros (a lot less than the upwards of 20 million he was before). However, he could become part of an interesting trade. Read further for more details ;)
         Interested Parties: Manchester United, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Napoli, Fiorentina, Roma

You may notice that all of the departure section is midfielders. If one of them leaves it might not be a huge problem since Elche loanee Carles Gil is returning to Valencia at the end of the season. However, the problem remains on whether the midfield can hold its own for the remainder of the season. Other name that should be mentioned is that Juan Bernat rejected a move to Inter Milan and said he wants to continue with the club for a long time (good for him!)

Possible Arrivals:
The biggest area needing improvement right now in Valencia CF is the strike force. Between Jonas, Postiga, Alcacer and Pabon there is a lack of goals. Pizzi caught on to this and requested a new striker and there have been a lot of speculation. Here are the top ones.

1) Eduardo Vargas: 24-year old Chilean striker has fallen out of favor plays in Napoli now plays in Gremio (Brazilian Club) on loan. This striker tops the list since Pizzi requested him by name. His transfer is a bit complicated though as Napoli want to recover the 14 million or so euros invested in him. If he arrives it will be through a loan deal. Known for his speed and dribbling.
       Price: Loan Deal, Valencia want to loan him for the remainder of the season for half a million euros.

2) Vinicius Araujo: 20 year-old Brazilian forward. A great prospect in South America with his skill-level comparable with Neymar's at that age. If his skill is as good as they say, it will not go unnoticed and lots of the European Giants will try to claim his signature. As such a bid for him would be more probable if Peter Lim, TPG or QIA succeed in purchasing the club. As of now, a loan deal is the only way he can be signed but even that is unlikely since the player himself wants to establish himself in the Cruzerio first team.
      Price: N/A

3) Felipe Caicedo: 25-year old Ecuadorean striker currently playing in Lokomotiv Moscow. The player seeks a return to Spain where he played a season with Malaga and then Levante after arriving from Manchester City. He signed a five year contract with Lokomotiv but has finished about 3 years and the club might be reluctant to let him leave. Known for his strength and power.
      Price: about 7 million euros

4) Javier Hernandez: Here is a surprise. The 25-year old Mexican striker has been linked with Valencia time and time again but a move never seemed in the cards since the player is valued beyond what Valencia could afford. Even having connections with his fellow Mexican International Andres Guardado on the team wasn't enough to bring him in. The striker has down the pecking order at Old Trafford behind Wayne Rooney, Van Persie and Danny Welbeck is being used too now. His role at Manchester United has been that of a "super-sub" so far,  like Nelson Valdez was last year in Valencia, only a lot better. So why is he on the list when Valencia can't afford him? Well recently there have been talks of a trade: Manchester United's out of favor striker for Valencia's out of favor midfielder Ever Banega. Sounds like a great deal to me. I'm sure Valencia might have to put in a bit more cash but overall great deal for me.
        Price: Ever Banega plus the difference in their values.

Well that's all of them. Other names that should be mentioned are Edin Dzeko but that bid has apparently failed and Lisandro Lopez of Lyon but at 30-years old I don't see the club bringing him in.

Well I hope you enjoyed the current overview of this year's transfer window. If the purchase of the club does go through there will be more transfers to discuss.

Feel free to let us know what you think :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Match fixing in La Liga is the norm

Match fixing in Spanish leagues, especially Primera division is prevalent and the norm. Match fixing is way bigger than it was in Italy, in La Liga its systematic and supported by the governing body. Those who don't go along with it are swiftly fired.

Many teams have fixed matches, but its only the norm and standard practice for Barcelona and Real Madrid, where referees will 100 out of 100 times whistle in their favor.

This was clear yet again in Valencia CF vs Real Madrid match, where everyone saw the offside, except the referees. This has been the case vs Barcelona as well, and its EVERY YEAR. We have been seeing Valencia CF lose to the referees year, after year, after year for at least the past 4/5 years, likely more.

These are not just small mistakes, these are blatant match fixes, these are deliberate decisions to put Real Madrid and Barcelona ahead.

There should be major investigation into match fixing in La Liga, its too big, its too obvious to ignore anymore. I wrote a similar article last several months earlier as well, can't find it right now because for some reason the search functions doesn't work, but I'll link to it once I figure out why the search doesn't work and fix it.

Anyways its not accidental, its not random, when something happens again and again and again and again, its a pattern and if its a pattern that means something is creating the pattern.

Monday, December 16, 2013

What is next for Valencia CF?

Now that Miroslav Djukic has been sacked, the team can move forward, but only if a good, solid coach is found who is able to get the max out of the players and who is a really great psychologist who can instill some self confidence and belief in this battered team.

I hate to say it, but I was was right again, just like I always am, I said that Djukic had to go at least 6-7 matches ago, I knew that the team wouldn't improve with Djukic at the helm. I made my research, my analysis, looked at some of the missed matches I couldn't bare to watch at the time and knew 100% that the team can't improve with Djukic, the coach was just incapable of making this team work, so if my advice would have been taken in time, the team would have had time to actually improve with another coach and maybe, just maybe have better results right now and be in a better position.

What Miroslav Djukic did was turn the team from at least a top 6 finisher, to a mediocre, middle of the table team with no aspiration and quality for anything else. Some small club coaches excel when given the opportunity to work with bigger team, but Djukic choked on the opportunity and was unable to rise up to the occasion. His false bravado, his false confidence didn't help things out either, sometimes you have to admit that you are doing bad, that you are doing things wrong so you can learn from it and do things the right way, to improve. Miroslav Djukic didn't want to admit he was wrong, he didn't want to admit that he was doing things bad and thus he didn't improve and couldn't have improved.

I'm glad even Salvo, so far one of the worst presidents ever, managed to realize this, even though it took him this long. I wouldn't want him to manage my laundry, let alone a club like Valencia, being unable to make the right decisions and needing for all hell to break lose in order to act. I mean the mark of a great manager/CEO is being able to analyze things clearly and make timely informed decisions that are for the good of the club/business you manage. If you are unable to do so, then you are not made out for that type of work. Either way the decision was finally made to sack Miroslav Djukic and now the question is who will replace him?

This is a crucial moment for Valencia CF, hiring another failed coach can literally ruin and destroy the club and after that I don't know how this Valencia CF can come back, hundreds of millions in debt, low income, no investments, 3 different major owners of the club right now between the bank, the Valencia government and the Valencia foundation, all on their own in major financial trouble.

There were talks and reports about Bankia wanting to sell Valencia CF and Salvo after initially rejecting the idea came around, as he hopefully realized that there is not other way out for the club. At this point the club has to be sold, otherwise I don't see a long term future for the club, at least not how we expect Valencia CF to perform. I expect this team to always finish in the top 4, to be competitive, to play in the Champions League, to create and discover super talented players like Aimar, Ayala, Marchena, Silva, Villa, etc... and at the same time have a great play, which doesn't actually have to be possession based. When I started supporting Valencia CF they didn't have much possession, they were playing this really fast, really pacy wing play where 3 players in a type of triangle would move on both wings and cause havoc for the opposing team, while the midfield was held with solid defensive midfielders who knew how to position and defend and mark opposing players and be a great support for the defense.

Back to my points though, the club has to be sold for a long term future and obviously the buyer has to be serious and a fan or at least informed and knowledgeable about the club and its history. Second the new coach is extremely important and has to be a fit, has to work. Another failed coach just can't happen. This is probably one of the biggest decisions for Valencia in recent times.

Andre Villas-Boas was recently sacked from Tottenham, so he is available and after such a failed stint in England, I think he would be willing to take a serious pay cut and work for Valencia CF. I think it would be a personal mistake for him to demand the same type of salary that he earned in England and hold himself to a job in England once again. So he could be a choice, but is it a good choice for Valencia CF? Will he improve this Valencia team, is he a good fit, will he fail in Valencia CF like he failed in England in Chelsea and Tottenham?

Then you have Roberto Di Matteo who lead Chelsea to a champions league final win, but he doesn't have much experience other than that. His experience is limited to basically two clubs, working for only 3 years, is he the kind of coach that we need or want? I'm really skeptical about Roberto Di Matteo, especially since he isn't familiar with the Spanish league.

Marcelo Bielsa is free and an experienced manager, he also has a possession type play style, so he could fit in, but I got to say I wasn't too impressed with Athletic Bilbao under him. You got to look at the results and position he achieved and it wasn't really good. So, I'm kind of against this choice as well.

Other than these free coaches, I don't know who else is there who is decent. I mean Juande Ramos can probably come as he is working with a lower level Ukrainian team, but I'm not sure Valencia would want to pay anything more than they would absolutely have to, plus he hasn't coached in Spain in a long time.

Pepe Mel is free and could surprise, but again this is an unproven coach and we'll have to take a risk with this appointment. So, there aren't too many good choices, other alternatives are basically former Valencia CF players to coach the team, but after the two recent failures I don't think that is a good idea either.

So hopefully you guys/gals have some suggestions and thoughts and if so please share them in the comments.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Miroslav Djukic last match?

Miroslav Djukic could have his last game as coach of Valencia CF this Sunday in the match again Getafe. Valencia CF president Salvo earlier in the season claimed that Miroslav Djukic is safe for the whole season, but he is forced to say that to keep things calm and quiet, another loss would mean the end of Miroslav Djukic and even a win, which is highly unlikely may still be the end for him, even if it means just prolonging the stay a little.

Getafe are playing some good football this season and it shows on the table, as they are in 6th position with 19 points, only 6 bellow 3rd placed Real Madrid. This isn't guarantee that they will finish top 6 at the end of the season, but with 11 games they've shown they can hold their own against most teams and certainly Valencia CF is one of those teams.

Getafe are playing at home and in the situation Valencia CF is right now, Getafe are the clear favorites to win, which at this point I think I wouldn't be too bummed out if it means Djukic gets ousted. I just don't trust him anymore to lead the team to good things and everything I've seen from him tells me that he is not going to get things right.

For example he keeps playing players out of position, he keeps on insisting on the failed central defensive duo of Mathieu and Costa when Ruiz has proven that he is way more competent than Mathieu and R. Costa right now and in the few matches he played Valencia CF actually defended competently.

The team also doesn't have wing play, at least not in a good solid way that would enable them to penetrate opposition defenses and to me this is a failure of tactics and training. I mean you got to practice moves in attack so that players know what to do and what is expected of them, right now I feel like its free for all and no one really knows what to do or what is expected from them to do.

We have 3 great attackers on paper in Pabon, Postiga and Jonas, but somehow can't utilize them properly. I mean Postiga is great on positioning and dead ball situations, not very technically gifted, but has a sense of goal, Pabon is the type of player who likes to cut in from the side, run at players, dribble past one or two players and he showed that he is really good at it at Betis, and we have Jonas who is an assist machine and who's proven this time and time again each season. He is a sort of poor man's David Silva that operates through the center, rather than through the wing, yet this season he hasn't done much.

To me this means they aren't utilized properly and that the team isn't functioning as a unit and this can be due to lack of match practice in training, lack of build-up practice, players being out of position often, or all of these combined.

I mean on paper the Valencia CF team should perform way better, this is not hugely weakened team from last season, in fact we lost Soldado, but gained Pabon, Postiga, Michel, Ever and Canales are fully fit, we have a more robust defensive midfielder, etc...

Again, at this point I don't trust that Djukic can improve the team and lead them to Champions League position, I actually won't mind if Valencia CF lost to Getafe so that we can get a new manager. I know the financial situation is bad and that if we have to pay Djukic all the money of his contract it would be terrible, but I hope that Djukic would be honest with himself, realize that he is terrible and can't lead Valencia CF and come to an agreement to reduce the penalty of breaking the contract and get paid up till 31 December and obviously be free to look for a new job. This would be the best possible scenario, though I'm not so sure if Djukic is a fair and honest man.

What I know for certain though is that if Valencia CF lose against Getafe that would be it with Djukic, I just hope that the next manager that replaces him is actually more reputable and more able to lead a club like Valencia CF.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Miroslav Djukic must go

Okay, this is the last straw for me. I haven't been writing because I haven't watched half of the matches because every time I watch I get extremely frustrated and even though I've watched the match and have my notes, I just can't make myself write it because of how terrible the team is playing and because most the the results are loses.

For me this loss today against Almeria puts the nail on the coffin for Miroslav Djukic. I didn't want to write this article earlier, because I thought I'd give him time and that the team would improve, but that has not been the case at all, in fact, if anything the team has gotten worse.

This match against Almeria tonight just showed how bad the team is playing and we are basically almost half the season. Within few more matches and is end of the first half of the season, and the team couldn't be further from playing good football and winning.

Lets face it, with the type of games we've been having in most of the matches we can't win, the team is at best a bottom half team that finishing 10th place would be considered great. That is how bad the team is playing and has been playing so far in the season and I don't have any illusions anymore that it can improve or better said that Miroslav Djukic can improve the team to fight for at least a Europa League spot right now, I'm afraid we are going to miss out even that.

Miroslav Djukic is just not the coach to make it work, he had his chance, he had the full support of the board and of the president and even the fans have been contempt and waiting on him to really develop the team, but I think its clear now that this is not going to happen.

I've went back in anticipation of another loss and rewatched some of the games and in most games the midfield was pretty much non existent and the average concurrent passes seemed to be around 3 and then the ball would have been lost and a counter attack pretty much with the defense that we have assures a goal for the opposing team.

I think the players moral is low, self belief is low and I think they question the coach as well, I also don't think that Djukic was ready for a team like Valencia CF, he has never coached a team of similar status as Valencia CF and a small team coach doesn't understand how to coach a higher tier club. We've seen this time and time again, the few coaches that manage to get it right from that position end up becoming really recognizable and great coaches who are then worth million to bring.

Valencia CF doesn't have the money, but at this point I think it may not be the worst to splash 3-4 million on a great and proven coach, than just waste 1 million here, 1 million there and have bad coaches and loose out on Champions league and maybe even Europa League this season.

Its better to splash the cash on a proven coach and then just forget it and be secure that he will do very good and be able to steer the team even with bad players to a good position on the table, which right now would be 5th to 6th position and 4th position would be just amazing.

At this point Salvo must act as well, if he is to not be named one of the worst presidents in the history of the club and I must say I already miss Manuel Llorente who's approach was way better and he would have been in the locker room every day if he had to, to talk to the team and get everyone to perform.

I'm also sick and tired of Braulio who has no plan at all, he is like a headless chicken in the transfer market with no vision and/or long term planning. I mean putting a random person on his position would have done a better job this season and for that matter last season as well.

First thing's first though and Djukic must go, in fact if he is honest with himself he will resign on his own and won't demand to be paid his full contract. At this point his false confidence won't do him any good, it clear that the task for him is too big and he isn't competent enough to manage the team.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Djukic tinkers with lineup

After the horror at Cornella against Espanyol and Djukic blasting the team's performance at the press conference, the club's attention turns on facing Barcelona at the Mestalla. With Banega and Fede doubtful to make the lineup due to injury and after the mess against Espanyol, Djukic is considering, and experimenting with, some changes. While Djukic expressed that he wouldn't alternate keepers, it is likely now that Guaita will feature against Barcelona. In addition, Djukic tested out Guardado as left-back, Canales as playmaker instead of Banega, and Jonas on the left wing. Pabon also had a chance to train with the squad and expressed that he is ready to play against Barca if Djukic deemed it the right choice. Some say that Djukic is considering using him on the right wing instead of Feghouli, a good way to utilize the space left by the Barcelona full-backs when they attack. The lineup experimented with was thus : Guaita, Guardado, Costa, Rami, Pereira, Parejo, Fuego, Canales, Jonas, Feghouli / Pabon, Postiga. However, a lineup alone is not enough to win as we've seen against Espanyol. While it's true to say that everything went wrong in that match, it is more helpful to narrow it down to a few specifics. Here are the main ones in my opinion:

1. We saw a bunch of players out there but we didn't see a team: While this cannot be fixed overnight, we have seen good teamwork in the preseason, it just has to be revived. There were no link-ups, on the wings, the center, or anywhere on the field besides the play that lead to the goal. This selfishness only served in loss of possession to Espanyol. On the other hand, Espanyol kept it together as a team.

2. Simple was made complicated / over-confidence: This is somewhat connected with the above point. Players were taking on more than they could by themselves. We saw players trying to dribble past too many players and fail or attempt to shoot from further than they could see. The team therefore easily lost focus and couldn't defend or attack properly. The simple play worked so well against Inter, Everton and Olympiacos.

3. Plan figured out: The game plan this game consisted of giving the ball to Banega. Although he is an important player, he cannot do anything by himself. The opposing teams have figured this out and shut him down quickly. He needs to have a creative partner to link-up with like Viera/Canales/Jonas.

I think those three are the most important but you could probably have a few others up there, maybe more wing play - wingers  were useless that game. Anyway, hopefully this is just a one time thing and we shouldn't worry about it. However, Barcelona are a huge step up from Espanyol and a drastic improvement is needed. I am actually optimistic about the game. Djukic managed a 1-3 at home and a 2-1 loss away against Barca while he was with Valladolid so hopefully he can do better with Valencia. I am also excited to say Canales and Pabon play.

Feel free to let us know what you think :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Helder Postiga is a bench warmer at best

Helder Postiga is hailed as the replacement for Roberto Soldado and Valencia CF had reached a personal agreement with him early, in case Soldado left and now that that happened, Postiga is the replacement for Soldado.

Reality is that Helder Postiga is a bench warmer at best, he is really terrible at scoring goals, he is slow, he lacks technique and he is 30 years old, he is certainly not getting any younger and sure as hell hasn't proved that he is of high quality in the past either.

Not only can he not replace Roberto Soldado, but he can't even replace Nelson Valdez and even Paco Alcacer is better than him even this young.

So I don't know what Salvo is thinking or lack thereof, but Postiga is not the kind of replacement that fans want for Soldado. The kind of replacement for Soldado would have to be in him prime at about 25-26 years old, that has scored 10+ goals in a lower level club consistently and each season and has shown quality that he can play at a higher level.

And let me tell you, if Valencia CF does not bring a proper replacement for Soldado than say goodbuy to Europa league playing as well, at best we are going to see Valencia CF competing for positions 8-10. You have to have very strong team to complete at the top, you have to have especially a striker that can score 15-20 or more goals to be able to complete for Champions League spot.

With Sevilla getting Kevin Gameiro from PSG after the sale of Negredo to City they have done good business with the purchase of Kevin Gameiro, Atletico Madrid sold Falcao for over 55 million euros and got David Villa for 4 million euros from Barcelona, amazing business.

Why couldn't Salvo talk and negotiate with Villa who I'm sure would have loved to come back to Valencia CF, especially when Soldado was 95% sure to leave. He would have been an amazing replacement for Soldado at just 4 million euros.

Now Zaragoza are demanding 4 million for Helder Postiga and I'm supposed to believe Villa and Postiga are at the same level? Postiga is worth at most 2 million euros in order to warm the bench.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Valencia's Striker Problem

After the departure of Nelson Valdez and the squandering of goal opportunities in the second pre-season friendly against SV Waldhof Mannheim, Valencia are in the market for a new striker. The decision has been agreed upon by the Valencia management, sporting director and the coach. Valencia are looking for a low cost yet high profile striker to replace Valdez and compete with Soldado.

So you may ask what about Jonas and Alcacer? As for Jonas, one source recently indicated a return to Brazilian league to give him a better chance of making the squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Sao Paulo is rumoured to have made a bid for him and the club is willing to sell for the right amount. As for Alcacer, the coach expressed that he has a lot of faith in him and his abilities.

Lastly and most importantly, Soldado. With Liverpool striker Luis Suarez heavily rumored to leave, Liverpool will most likely move for Soldado. After the money, they would have more than enough money to meet his termination clause of 30 million euros. In addition, Tottenham's targets for the striker position are rapidly being taken by other teams which may force them to pay the 30 million euros. After that, the decision is Soldado's.

So what are the options? Most likely right now is 22 year-old Ruben Rochina of Blackburn Rovers (England). Doesn't exactly meet the criteria of "high-profile" as he has only 7 goals in 41 appearances for Blackburn. He is however "low-cost" with a price tag of 1.5 million euros, born in Valencia and was part of Valencia's youth system before being sold to Barcelona's youth system.

Here are some strikes we were linked to at one point or another in 2013. Expect hearing more of these players if Soldado is sold.

Name                   Club                                       Age              Price                                 Goals
Ilombe Mboyo        Gent (Belgium)                         26                5 million euros                  36 in 77 games
Philipp Hosiner      Austria Wien (Austria)               24                3.5 million euros               32 in 36 games
Sergio Garcia        Espanyol (Spain)                      30                3.5 million euros               15 in 73 games
Maxi Lopez           U.C Sampadoria (Italy)              29                5 million euros                  4 in 17 games
Kevin Gameiro       PSG (France)                          26                10 million euros                 19 in 59 games

So what do you guys think? Who should be sold/kept? Who should be bought if Soldado leaves? Do you agree with the decision to buy a new striker? Who would you like to see at the club?


Thursday, July 4, 2013

More Transfers and Rumors...

Transfer Rumors:

As you all should know, the transfer window for the summer has officially opened; and I must say Braulio Vasquez has moved rather slowly. He has already let five planned signings be taken by other clubs. The first is Vitolo (winger) from Las Palmas who is a former teammate of Jonathan Viera. There were hopes that the two would link up again at Valencia but Sevilla beat us to him. The second is Benat Extebarria (midfielder) of Real Betis, who was recently signed by Athletic Bilbao. The third being former Valencia player Andres Palop (goalkeeper), who was signed by Bayern Leverkusen. The fourth being Tomas Pina (midfielder) and lastly Giovanni Dos Santos (forward), both from recently relegated Real Mallorca. Both of them are almost certainly going to recently promoted Villareal, unless the transfer market lives up to its unexpected nature.

Tottenham recently increased their bid for Soldado to about £17 million. In response, Valencia has reiterated that they will only accept a £25.5 million bid (the release clause). Tottenham is a bit hesitant to meet that figure and hopes to take advantage of our financial situation to negotiate the price. As for Soldado, he really hopes to stay in Valencia (we do too) but seems open to a move to the English Premier League.

On a positive note, Miroslav Djukic has plans to include our home-grown striker Paco Alcacer in the first team this year and will not loan him to Getafe. In addition, one source recently reported that we are edging Liverpool FC in the battle for highly-rated Sporting Lisbon defender Tiago Ilori. We have also stepped up the chase for Chelsea defender Oriol Romeu as well as Barcelona winger Gerard Deulofeu, both on loans. However, both Chelsea and Barcelona could end up selling, according to some reports. The former's price is yet undeclared, but Barcelona are demanding  12 million for their player, which is well beyond our current capacity. If we could negotiate the price or take him on loan, it would be great.

Here are some further transfer rumors:



1. Philipp Hosiner (Forward): 24 year old Austrian striker who currently plays for Austria Wien in the Austrian Bundesliga. Very impressive goal scoring record and cheap. He was the third top scorer in all of Europe in the 2012-13 season, with 32 goals (behind Messi-42 and Ronaldo-33). He managed this in only 36 games. Some might say that it is because the Austrian Bundesliga is less challenging than the other leagues, however he seems capable of taking on the Spanish League to me. He also has 2 goals in 3 games for the Austrian national team. According to the reports, we will only push for this signing or any other strikers for that matter, if we end up selling Soldado.

Cost: € 2.5 million
Main competition: Hoffenheim (Germany)

2. Abel Aguilar (Midfielder): 28 year old Colombian midfielder, on loan with Deportivo La Coruna from Hercules. You might remember him for scoring Deportivo's last minute equalizer in that exciting 3-3 draw with Valencia. To be honest, I don't see why we would want him. He managed 3 goals and 3 assists only in 28 games with the team. He also is not regularly called for the Colombian national team. He was almost taken by Granada but told them to wait since he really wants to move to Valencia. At this point, he seems to be the alternative to Oriol Romeu. The latter should be attainable and is considerably better so I see no need for Aguilar.

Cost: € 3 million
Main competition: Granada FC (Spain), Deportivo La Coruna (Spain)

3. Daniel Aranzubia (Goal Keeper): 33 year old Spanish goalkeeper who currently plays with Deportivo La Coruna. Very experienced keeper with over 400 caps for clubs and country. First goal keeper to score from open-play in La Liga history. Kept 7 clean sheets in 35 games last year, conceding 66 goals in La Liga (1.88 goals per game). Guaita kept 6 clean sheets in 14 games last year, conceding 15 goals in La Liga (1.07 goals per game) while Diego Alves kept 5 clean sheets in 24 games last year, conceding 39 goals in La Liga (1.625 goals per game). Aranzubia seems to be our replacement for Diego Alves. I have seen him play and he does have many good saves, however its difficult to tell how he will do. The stats make him look inferior to our keepers but that might be due to Deportivo's defense. 

Cost: € 2 million
Main competition: Real Betis (Spain)


1. Jonas: Previously linked with Tottenham, now he is being called by Sao Paulo (Brazil). Despite expressing his desire to stay, the club might sell him due to the economic situation that has been further hurt by not making the Champions League. In addition, with Paco Alcacer rumored to rejoin the first team, there is simply no room for four strikers. Even if Soldado gets sold, Jonas is not the same threat as Soldado. Even though he rescued as many times with some goals, he also let us down a lot. I would have liked him to stay but I don't see him staying.

Offer: € 6 million (could be sold for more)

2. Diego Alves: As mentioned previously, a replacement is being planned for him. It would've been great to keep two good keepers but since one of them must go, it was decided that it would be Diego Alves. Italian club AS Roma has bid for him and hopes to get him for a cheap price. Other clubs like Manchester City are also interested but only AS Roma has negotiated a price so far.

Offer: € 2 million (too little in my opinion)

Next Season:

We need to be more active on the transfer market so we don't lose great signings like Vitolo, Benat and Dos Santos especially not to our rivals. I really hope we finish up signing Romeu and Deulofeu quickly. I think the former is a versatile and solid player. The latter will link up will with the likes of Juan Bernat and Paco Alcacer since they are all part of the successful Spanish U-20 side. In addition he will brings the pace of Piatti and is a good finisher. Our big names (Rami, Soldado) are again being targeted by many other clubs. While the former seems certain to go, I hope we keep Soldado since he is our target man. I hope whatever we do, will make us serious competitors next year.


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Transfers and Rumors

Transfers and Rumors!!!

Transfer window for this summer will open tomorrow. But Valencia has already digged into the transfer market and has bought 2 or 3 players already. Though not of the highest quality but squad players. Valencia are suffering financially so do not  expect us to spend big.We would be rather selling our prized assets then buying to balance the book. After loosing on Champions league spot we tend to loose $30M odd money. So we will be looking for cheap signings. We hope to hold on to our best players this summer.

NOW we will look on some of the transfers that has already happened till date.


1. NELSON VALDEZ (STRIKER): We have purchased NV from Russian Club Rubin Kazan for reported fee of 2.64 M Pounds. NV who spent last season on loan at Valencia has impressed Valencia officials to buy him permanently. The Paraguay forward last season played 28 games scoring all together 6 crucial goals.   The 29 year old is basically seen as backup to our main striker Roberto Soldado (if he stays obviously). He said he is happy with the role.

2.MICHEL HERRERO: (MIDFIELDER): He started his professional career with Valencia B side. After first team opportunity hard to come by, Michel quickly jumped the ship and signed a 3 year contract with our local rival Levante UD in last year June  After being impressed with his performance , Valencia has quickly exercised the buyback clause that is around 369k
pounds. Last year 24 year old 
played 51 games scoring 8 goals. He is a promising young player but i dont see him starting games in La Liga this season. However, he will be used in CUPs and Europa league.

3. JAVI FUEGO (D. MIDFIELDER): He used to play for Rayo Vallecano. Valencia has signed him on free as his contract with Rayo expired. He was good for Rayo, but i think he is an average player who will be used as backup to Dani Parejo. He is a good ball player, interceptor and tackler. I hope he proves me wrong and turns out to be a gem.


1. TINO COSTA: He has left Valencia CF for Russian Club Spartak Moscow for reported fee of 6.16 M pounds. Valencia needs to balance their accounts so he was sold. I think it was good decision in the end. He was an average player. Other than his set pieces there was nothing more he could offer. Dani Parejo is better than him.

2.DAVID ALBELDA: Goodbye to the legend. Every start has its end and this is it. It was emotional and sad decision but life goes on.Age was getting better of him. After brief meeting with new manager Miroslav Djukic both the parties decided it was best time to part company.



1.ROMEU: As i have already told you, he is a good player. We should sign him at all cost.

2.ALMUNIA: Who is he? Seriously, Almunia? I dont think he is good enough for our reserve team. Please stay away man. Go find clubs in segunda. Former Arsenal man is in mid thirties and probably past his prime. So no to him.

3.TIAGO LLORI: Highly rated Sporting defender has been linked with a move to Valencia as a possible replacement to  Rami who is expected to leave.The center back has impressed this season and has attracted a lot of suitors.Liverpool are also monitoring the situation closely. He has  potential to be a great player. He has $3M  odd release clause. So we should sign him.

4.GERARD DEULFEU: After Barca has decided to send their young star in loan every clubs in Spain, England and Germany want this player. Valencia is also linked with this rising star. But i dont think we will be able to land him.

5.GIOVANI DOS SANTOS: Six or seven teams are in race to sign the Mexican star according to Real Mallorca president. Valencia is confident in signing him. Mallorca has accepted 8 M euro offer from LA Galaxy, only for Dos Santos to turn down the move. Valencia have reportedly bid 4 M euro, but Mallorca view as insufficient. He is a quality player. We should sign him at all costs.

6.KEVIN GAMEIRO: PSG striker is looking for more playing time after failing to break into PSG's starting lineup. He currently behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ezequiel Lavezzi in the picking order. He is a good player and would give good competiton to Soldado. 


1. RAMI: Targeted by Napoli, Arsenal, Man City and host of other European clubs.He wants to go so we should cash in by selling him. 

2.SOLDADO: Targeted by Tottenham, PSG, and other clubs. He has expressed desire to stay with Valencia. We shouldnt sell him. Team should be built around him. He is our best player. He should be retained at all cost.

3. DIEGO ALVES:  He has been currently linked with a move to AS Roma  and Man city. We expect him to leave because we cant keep two good keepers.

4.FERNANDO GAGO:  Sell him, sell him, sell him. He has his heart set on move back to Argentina. We dont need half hearted players.

5.ALY CISSOKHO: He is a decent player. A defensive minded player is linked with a move to Liverpool. I think we should keep him. If we play Jermey in center back then we will need him in left back. He would be a good cover if Jermey gets injured.

6. VICENTE GUAITA: Valencia have made it clear that VG is up for sale according to He is a long term target for Barca as a replacement for Victor Valdes. WTF? if we are going to sell our two best keepers who are we going to buy? Almunia? Jesus, save Valencia.

7. PABLO PIATTI: Piatti has been transfer listed by Valencia. He has been seen as  surplus to requirement in Valencia. I dont know but as we need money we should sell him.

So there are lots of players who has been linked in and out of the club. We are in financial trouble so i dont expect any big name signings in this summer. But i do hope we sign Dos Santos and Romeu and a center back too. Main problem now is to retain our best players. Big Vultures are hovering over us. They will obviously want to take advantage of our financial problem. So i hope the players we sign turn  out to be very good.

amunt valencia!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The story of Manuel Llorente

Warning: long text ahead...

Valencia CF presidential elections are coming up this summer and current president Manuel Llorente could be on his way out. Right now there is only one challenger for the presidency in the former Valencia CF player and recently former sporting director Fernando Gomez.

Many Valencia CF fans, but especially Spanish fans are unhappy with where the club is at right now and understandably so, since the club is about 380 million euros in debt, no trophy has been won since 2007 when the team Managed to win the Copa Del Rey, but that is the season the team barely survived relegation as well, just in the final few matches. The team has been selling its best players like David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata and Manuel Llorente has been president for the past three and a half years and has presided over what has been happening.

Lets start from the beginning. Manuel Llorente had studied economics as a young adult and had found himself working as director for Juan Roig food business Mercadona. The Roig family consists of 5 brothers who are all into business. He was doing a great job at Mercadona, so he was given a job at Valencia CF in 1995 as a club manager by Juan's brother Francisco Roig and subsequently became director-general. Manuel Llorente was in charge of the finances at Valencia CF from 1999 all the way until 2005 when he was sacked by a board meeting headed by Juan Soler.

So Manuel Llorente presided over the best and most successful years of Valencia CF from 1999 to 2004 when the club reached two Champions League finals, won two Spanish titles, Uefa cup, Super cup, Copa Del Rey and more. While things were great sporting wise, the financial situation wasn't booming. Even though Valencia CF had great success, that meant high wages for the players and big bonuses for the officials, putting the club 200 million euros into debt. Even though Manuel Llorente was known for his firmness and tight control of the finances, which actually led to the dismissal of Rafael Benitez as the two were unable to reach an agreement over Benitez salary and the club's transfer budget, the spending was still big and Valencia CF was spending a lot more money than they were taking in and even though the preseason tickets were always sold out and the stadium was full, it just wasn't enough as Valencia CF didn't have the TV revenue or established high paying sponsors.

To his defense he wasn't responsible for the transfers and promises made by the presidents at the time and Pablo Aimar's 24 million euros transfer, Gonzalo De los Santos 15 million euros transfer, Salva Ballesta almost 11 million transfer and others were weighing heavily on the budget. Ultimately the club was forced to sell Gazika Mendieta to Lazio for a record fee at that time of 48 million euros. Unfortunately Lazio went bankrupt the next year and so Valencia CF was left without the money and settled for two players Stefano Fiore and Bernardo Corradi.

As I already wrote Manuel Llorente was sacked in 2005 by a board decision headed by Juan Soler who had become the major shareholder of Valencia CF and he wanted to have someone closely related who he can trust fully with the finances, so he can do things undisputed.

Juan Soler had a good chance to put the finances in order and finish up the stadium, but he had illusions of grander and went on a shopping spree for good and talented, but overpriced players such as Miguel Brito, Asier Del Horno, Joaquin Sanchez, Manuel Fernandes, Nikola Zigic, Ever Banega and others, who not only cost a lot to bring in, but had huge salaries.

Joaquin Sanchez for example cost the club a whooping 25 million euros at the time, Manuel Fernandes 16 million, Ever Banega 20 million. Joaquin Sanchez never repeated the performances he did with Real Betis, same with Fernandes and only in the past 2 years has Ever Banega really been performing, though not after a lot of headaches before that and in the midst of it.

Step forward, Vicente Soriano, the club’s former vice-president, promising €500 million of new investment from a company called Dalport Investments that would clear the club’s debts and enable them to build the new stadium. It sounded too good to be true – and it was. The mysterious backers, whose company logo was revealed to be copied from a children's coloring book, failed to deliver and Valencia faced a serious liquidity problem.

This is when building of the new stadium stopped as the company doing the construction hadn't received one penny for the last year of construction.

Without going into details there was a huge fight from 2008 till 2009 over the club, in which 3 presidents came and went until Manuel Llorente with his foundation Valencia came in and purchased the majority of shares, then soon after had an increase of the shares of the club in order to gain some capital in order to refinance the debt. Of course all of this was sanctioned by Bancaja which later became Bankia, because Bancaja went bankrupt as well, but merged with Caja Madrid and 5 smaller banks and became Bankia.

So officially Manuel Llorente became president of Valencia CF in June of 2009 with a contract until June 2014 and a annual salary of 360.000 euros. At the time Valencia CF had accumulated debt of over 550 million euros, it had an annual loss of over 20 million euros and an interest rate of over 16% on its debt. In other words the situation was terrible, the club might as well have went into bankruptcy and clean the slate, but Bancaja would have lost its money and they were interested to keep the club operating, in order to try and regain their investments/loans in the club, which by then was clear it was obvious loss with little chance of being repaid.

Anyways Manuel Llorente did the only thing possible at the time and that is to start selling the club's biggest stars, though not immediately and not before he basically had no choice. He sold Raul Albiol for 16 million euros to Real Madrid, but was determined to keep David Villa and David Silva, even publicly stating they weren't for sale. Whether he was serious and somehow thought he could keep them or if it was just a trick to try and increase their price is unknown, but whatever it was, by the end of 2009 it was clear they would have to be sold in order for the club to survive and not go into bankruptcy, which would have meant the club drops to the lowest league in Spain. In fact 2009 was a year that had the players not receiving salary, payments were constantly late and so in the summer of 2010 David Villa was sold to FC Barcelona for 40 million euros, David Silva to Manchester City for 30 million euros and Nikola Zigic for 10 million euros to Birmingham. Alexis and Carlos Marchena were also sold, but not because their transfers brought any money, but because their salaries were too big. Hugo Viana and Asier Del Horno also left on a free transfer and offloading them meant the club would for the first time in years not have an operating loss and due to the sales it even made small profit.

Manuel Llorente had fired sporting director Fernando Gomez in June, appointing Braulio Vazquez as his successor, citing money saving as the reason. Certainly that would have been part of the reason, but I think it was more of an authority move so that he wouldn't have much to contend with with the sale of the biggest players as Braulio Vazquez would have been a yes men and wouldn't have had much say, with the only things concerning the new sporting director would have been to get as much possible for the sales of Valencia's top players.

Valencia CF got 80 million from the sale of Villa, Silva and Zigic, but due to the fact that all of the big earners were offloaded it was the equivalent of 100 million profits. Villa, Silva, Del Horno, Hugo Viana, Alexis, Marchena were all earning over 20 million per year combined. That year a lot of the contacts were renegotiated as well and all of the players got a salary reduction. To compensate Manuel Llorente had to put in lower buy-out clauses so that if the players were approached by other clubs they would have easier time leaving.

Small portion of the money gotten from the sales of Villa and Silva was spend on bringing in reinforcements such as Roberto Soldado (10 million euros), Tino Costa (6.5 million euros), Mehmet Topal (5 million euros) and others. Obviously Roberto Soldado turned into a huge star and Valencia's key players, but Tino Costa and Mehmet Topal were useful as well, both combined playing key matches and helping lead the team to consecutive 3rd place finishes.

Unai Emery was brought in in 2008 and even though in his first season he only managed 6th place with the club, he was kept as manager and that decision paid off as Emery would lead Valencia CF to three consecutive 3rd place finishes that meant Valencia CF automatically qualified for the Champions League and had received some much needed cash.

The next year 2011, there was a lot of talk how Juan Mata, who by then became a huge star would be sold, though Llorente came out publicly again and stated that the debt had been reduced by over 150 million euros and there was no need for the club to sell anymore players and as such he would keep Juan Mata. In fact he actually managed to convince Mata to sign a new contract. Came the summer though Chelsea FC came knocking on the door and while Manuel Llorente was serious that he didn't want to sell Mata, Mata wanted to leave and urged Llorente to look at the Chelsea FC offer, so he did and decided to accept their 30 million transfer fee for Juan Mata.

The sale of Mata went a long way though of bringing in new players and contrary to popular belief Manuel Llorente spend all of the money from the sale of Juan Mata on new players, bringing in players such as Victor Ruiz, Pablo Piatti, Adil Rami, Daniel Parejo, Diego Alves and even loaned in Sergio Canales for 1.5 million euros from Real Madrid on a 2 year long loan.

In fact it is rather miraculous how Manuel Llorente managed to lower the debt by over 150 million euros within just 2 short years, considering the total sale of players such as Villa, Silva and Mata was 100 million euros and the money from Mata's transfer were all reinvested into the purchases of 6 new players. Yeah the team made 20 million profit as well in the two years due to playing in the Champions League, but the fact that he managed to stem the tide when he came in, went through the whole thing of players not getting salaries without loosing even one players for it, to lowering the salary players were earning from 89 million euros in 2008 to 74 million in 2009, 73 million in 2010 and less than 70 million in 2011, all the while bringing in new players, keeping old players and reducing their salary and the club's expenditures at the same time.

On December 12th, 2011 it was announced that the club has reached a deal with Bankia to resume construction on the new stadium. The deal was supposed to have Bankia loan Valencia 140 million euros for the completion of the new Mestalla, while Valencia CF gives away the old Mestalla land and new Mestalla land, including the hotel, to the bank and in turn have their 240 million debt to the bank wiped out. Manuel Llorente boasted how the future of Valencia CF was secured and all problems were solved.

This year though Bankia unilaterally broke the contract as it was announced that the bank was not solvent and had no money to loan out, and acquiring the stadiums wouldn't have meant anything to them, since they wouldn't have anyone to sell them to and recoup the money.

Ultimately the breach by Bankia was good, since the deal was rather bad for Valencia CF and was done in desperation to get rid of the debt and would have meant Valencia CF looses the stadium and ends up having 140 million additional debt to the bank and still paying interest. Basically the deal would have moved the situation further, made it reasonably better and eased up conditions, but it was in no way a great solution.

Valencia CF also had trouble finding sponsors for the 2011/12 season and it took Manuel Llorente a lot of travels to try and find one, with Valencia CF playing the first half of the season without a shirt sponsor. Manuel Llorente finally found a sponsor and it was Chinese energy company Jinko Solar. The contract was signed in January of 2012 for the rest of that season. By the end of the 2011/12 season Jinko Solar officials were satisfied with the relationship and the two parties announced a new two year contract that was signed in the summer of 2012.

The club also did a promotional tour in the USA at the end of the 2011/12 season, basically instantly after the season finished, and did a promotional tour in Indonesia as well as part of the preseason friendlies. Even more recently, around the time Mario Alvarado was making the waves, supposedly wanting to purchase Valencia CF, Llorente was all over Asia and the middle east trying to find investors and/or sponsors.

So we come to the present and what the situation is now, but what has also been achieved in the past. Well what it was achieved is stability, after a large fight in 2008 till 2009 about who will run Valencia CF. Since Manuel Llorente took over the club in 2009 the worst has passed. Due to the increase in shares later that year, the club increased its capital over 92 million euros and that was used to pay off some of the urgent debt and operating fees, so that the club can continue operating normally. Then next year Villa and Silva were sold to net the club a whooping 70 million euros in profits just by those two, but Llorente got rid of some of the high earners as well, reducing the players salary from almost 90 million euros in 2008 to 73 million euros in 2010 and even lower in 2011. The fact that he kept Unai Emery as the coach and negotiated a low salary with him on a yearly contract also led to success as Emery led the club to 3rd position three times in a row, which qualified the team for the Champions League in which it earned 22 million and 16 million euros respectively.

So in just two years he lowered the debt by over 150 million euros and Valencia CF actually started making a profit, rather than big losses every year. Since 2011 though the debt has remained at 380 million euros, but the club also hasn't sold anyone, though it could have actually sold Roberto Soldado to Tottenham last summer for 30 million euros, but Llorente decided to keep him and luckily enough Soldado also wanted to stay at Valencia CF, confirming his commitment to retire at Valencia CF, and that has obviously lead to stability this season as Soldado has been the key player for Valencia CF, netting a lot of goals for the team.

Now, it hasn't all been great. Under Llorente Valencia CF lost Isco and Jordi Alba, although one could argue that was more of a fault by Braulio Vazquez the sporting director rather than Llorente, though the blame will ultimately reside at Llorente as he is the head of Valencia CF and has the ultimate say.

So that is in short the story of current Valencia CF president Manuel Llorente in terms of his history with the club and what exactly has been going on. Hopefully this will make it easier on some to decide whether they support him or not.

If you think there is something I should have written and haven't, if you have found some mistake in the article, like mistaken date or just want to share your viewpoint about Manuel Llorente, please do so in the comments.