Showing posts with label feature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label feature. Show all posts

Saturday, August 15, 2020

An open letter to Anil Murthy

 As some of you will have seen, Anil Murthy has released a statement on the club's website explaining some of the club's actions.

It deserves a reply, and I've pinged him on Twitter, though without little expectation of acknowledgement. 


First of all, that the club’s president has taken the time to outline some of the club’s thinking is to be welcomed. All too often, due to a lack of communication, supporters have been left in the dark on the club’s motivations. This has led to an atmosphere of mistrust, bred conspiracy theories as to the owner’s real motives and made the fans feel as if they don’t count. The regrettable comments by the owner’s daughter on social media have simply added to this. So in that context, some explanation is appreciated.

To begin with, the statement is accurate in some respects. Valencia before Meriton was poorly managed by local owners. Decisions were made which created considerable problems further down the line. Those led to some of the issues which the club currently faces.

What is problematic is the version of history presented in the statement. The history carefully skips over the first 3 years of Meriton’s ownership. In that period of time a number of mistakes were made which simply deepened the club’s financial and sporting problems.  

Large amounts of money were spent, often blindly, on “prospects.” Often from Portugal and usually from the Jorge Mendes roster. Considerable sums were also spent on players past their best. Much of that was a significant overspend on players who did not work out: 30 million for Alvaro Negredo, 25 million for Enzo Perez, 23 million for Aymen Abdennour,  9.5 million for Aderllan Santos and 9 million for Nani. Only sporting failure prevented a similar mistake to be made in the case of Danilo Barbosa, who the club had planned to buy for 15 million.

For balance, it does need to be acknowledged that there were successes: Andre Gomes and Joao Cancelo, while Rodrigo Moreno has at least proved valuable to the club despite being one of many players with a questionably inflated transfer fee of 28 million. However, it is clear that that strategy was overall not a success and added to the club’s debt issues. Exacerbating this, the club too often put the sporting project into the hands of people with little or no experience of either presiding over a sporting project or managing a top level club in Spain: Chan Lay Hoon, Gary Neville, Pako Ayestaran and Cesare Prandelli to name just some. Their failures undermined the club still further.

Next comes one of the biggest problems with the statement: “In 2017/18, after nearly a decade, the club started paying back the banks. The banks were finally happy. They trusted that this version of Valencia CF would be sustainable. In 2019/20, VCF had by far their greatest ever income in history. The club won a first trophy in 11 years, beating Barcelona in an historic battle in the Copa del Rey.”

It seems strange that the club claims credit for the Copa win. Two previous managers, Marcelino and Gary Neville, have stated that Peter Lim instructed them to get out of the cup as soon as possible. The cup win appears to have come in spite of Meriton, not because of it.

The major problem and what is not mentioned in this statement is why the club managed this high income in 2019/20. What happened between 2017 and then? The answer is simple: the club entrusted the running of the club to professionals. Mateu Alemany was hired to oversee the sporting side. He in turn recommended the hiring of Marcelino as head coach, while Pablo Longoria was given responsibility for scouting. Hiring tested and experienced professionals produced results. The club qualified for the Champions League two years in a row.

The impact of that on the club’s finances were profound. According to UEFA’s accounts, the club received 57.1 million from participation in the Champions League and Europa League for the 2018/19 season. While the accounts for 2019/20 have yet to be published by UEFA, Valencia making the last 16 of the Champions League is worth over 60 million in participation fees and prize money to the club. On top of that, the club benefits from ticket sales, merchandising and sponsorship, all of which would add at least 20 million to those figures. It also made it a more appealing destination for ambitious young players and coaches.

“We must be a serious club. We must be responsible” is a laudable sentiment. However, the actions which Valencia’s owners took in 2019 were anything but serious or responsible. To the astonishment of Valencia fans and the entire football world, they dismantled the sporting structures which had brought success and ended the club’s turmoil and lack of achievement. Showing once again a lack of self-awareness of the mistakes made in the two seasons prior to 2017/18, they yet again entrusted the club to an untested coach who lacked experience of being a club’s head coach anywhere. It's clear that relations between the owner and the previous manager Marcelino had broken down, but why was a more experienced coach not appointed and given part of a pre-season to work with the players? Why wait until after the season had started and just before crunch games in the league and Champions league?

In other words, 2019 represented a return to the flawed model which had been tried several times in 2015 and 2016 and had resulted only in mid-table finishes. Predictably, this led to a failure of the sporting project for 2019/20 and results in renewed financial problems for the club.

“We need to reduce the cost of our team” is true but again, a major reason for that is the poor decisions taken in 2019, which have left the club short of 60-70 million of income from European football. It is also totally unclear to fans how the financial issues can be solved by gifting players with two years of their contract left on free transfers to clubs directly competing with us for European places. Some transfer fee would be expected and would go some way to quelling supporter unease. Furthermore, as replacements for those players, we are now being linked with “prospects” who have never played in the Spanish league, who are represented by Jorge Mendes, and who the club seems willing to gamble 15-20 million on. Basically, this is simply returning to the same mistakes of Meriton’s first three seasons in charge and shows a spectacular failure to learn.

Unfortunately, the President’s statement then contains a number of statements or implications which are either questionable or simply untrue.

“Pushing to have a big stadium and big name players, wining LaLiga and the Champions League at all cost will lead to a repeat of the past. “

As noted previously, the club is already repeating mistakes of the past. However, the implication that Valencia fans are “pushing to win La Liga and the Champions League at all cost” is totally incorrect. The overwhelming majority of Valencia fans realise that, due to the imbalances in club funding within La Liga and other major European leagues, winning either of these top prizes is unachievable until major reforms of how clubs are funded and how TV money is allocated occur.

What fans do expect is the club to make top four at the very least on three seasons out of six, with qualification for the Europa league the other three occasions. Additionally, winning the Copa del Rey or making the final at least twice a decade. The 2017-19 period showed that these are realistic objectives. Ultimately, we want a club that we can have pride in, not an underachieving mid-table team with constant managerial changes and instability. 

Lastly, most fans would take issue with this claim: “We have qualified for Champions League three times in our six seasons here, and won a trophy. It is no less, if not better, than the previous six seasons before we arrived. It is also in line with VCF’s Champions League qualification record throughout the club’s history.”

It’s true that the three Champions league qualifications are exactly the same as the six seasons prior to Meriton, however two of the three seasons in which Valencia failed pre-Meriton did at least have the club in the Europa league. There lies the big problem:

in the 17 seasons prior to Meriton’s takeover, Valencia failed to qualify for Europe just once. In just 6 seasons under Meriton, Valencia have failed to qualify for Europe three times.

In the 17 seasons prior to Meriton, 8th and 10th were Valencia’s worst placings. Under Meriton, the club has finished 9th, 12th and 12th.

It may now be too late to win back the fans’ trust. Moves are already underway in several penyas to organise a boycott of the club, which would involve not attending games after the COVID restrictions are lifted and not purchasing merchandise.

If the club wants to avoid that, it needs to stop repeating the same mistakes over and over. The President’s statement is a step in the right direction towards better communication, but a flawed one, since it lacks self-awareness, avoids taking any responsibility and fails to understand that a successful sporting project and stable financial situation are inextricably linked.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Player discontent with Celades growing

Various stories are coming through that Celades has lost the dressing room and the respect of the players after a number of incidents.

The first situation seems to have been with Diakhaby. Following his last game, Diakhaby said that he'd had a productive chat with the coach, something which the coach confirmed at the time. However, later Celades was more critical of the player, blaming him (not without justification) for costing the team 2 points. Worse, commentator Pichi Alonso released a story saying that "club sources" had told him that Celades had met with Diakhaby, shown him a video of his errors and this had ended with Diakhaby leaving the meeting in tears. Diakhaby, through L'Equipe, flatly denied this. The bigger problem was that the feeling was that the leak could only have come from Celades, meaning that he was backstabbing his players. While Diakhaby will have little sympathy among Valencia's fanbase, things like this will seriously undermine the trust of players in the coach.

The second blow-up was with Maxi Gomez. Following the Osasuna game, Maxi got frustrated with the coach, asking why he was always the first subbed off. Discussions became so heated that allegedly Maxi aimed a headbutt at Celades and had to be restrained. He turned up at the next training session in apologetic manner, but was given a cold shoulder by Celades and told to go home, further angering him.

After being told that Maxi wouldn't feature in future games, other members of the squad got angry, seeing him as a key player. Ferran Torres posted a message of support for Maxi on Instagram.

The club's captains met with sporting director Cesar Sanchez reaching agreement that Maxi would not be ostracised and would instead be fined. However, the mood following the meeting didn't seem to improve. Kondogbia posted on Instagram shortly afterwards: "¿El traidor? Es como una serpiente, pica y se esconde…" (The traitor? It's like a snake, it bites and then hides...") a message which seems to be aimed at the coach.

Celades' substitutions in general seem to be causing frustration. Guedes was visibly angry after being subbed off while having his best game of the season versus Osasuna. Another player who seems to getting annoyed is Ruben Sobrino. 4 of his last 6 appearances have seen him play 1 minute (twice), 2 minutes and 4 minutes. While Sobrino is below the level Valencia need, the player seems to be arguing, not unreasonably, that such brief cameos are pointless, as he has no chance to prove himself and make an impact on the game. His annoyance came to the fore in the Osasuna game, when the manager sent him out to warm up with 86 minutes played. Sobrino, given all the previous, got angered and Celades responded by not bringing him on.

Of course, a contrary opinion to this could be that the players should simply man up and accept the coach's substitute decisions. If it were one or two players, this would go fine, however annoyance seems to go throughout the squad now, with numerous players at odds with the coach. That never ends well. When I wrote my review of the season a few posts ago I said that Celades would probably be in the hotseat after the summer. Not only does that look unlikely now, there are serious questions over whether he can even make it to the end of the season. The team plays without direction, Celades' subs often don't make sense and the below par performances from the players are probably affected by growing dislike of the coach. Champions league is out now and even Europa starts to look like a struggle. Hopefully the owner will draw the necessary conclusions and hire an experienced coach to take us forward.

***Edit/update*** Stories that Celades offered his resignation to the club last night, but this was turned down. His days seem to be numbered.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Garay explains his position

Garay has just released an emotional video on Instagram (here, in Spanish) in which he explains his side of his contract renewal situation.

He claims that the assertion that he refused a decent sized salary is false, with the only offer made during the Marcelino time and substantially less than what he currently receives. He says that he has always wanted to renew with the exception being for a short period of a few weeks after Marcelino's sacking when he wanted to see how things would develop.

He says that since his injury, the club has made no new offers, apart from suggesting that if he took a bigger salary cut than the rest of the squad this would help his case.

He looks very stressed, really annoyed and at one point, on the verge of tears, saying that he's sick of being misrepresented on this issue.

Despite all that, clubs generally look really unfavourably on such uses of social media, so I would say that this had definitely sealed his fate and he has kicked his last ball in a Valencia shirt.

The question now is who replaces him. The club's defensive planning has been poor for some time. Given his vulnerability to injuries, having 4 defenders has clearly not been enough and there have been various times during the last few seasons when other players have had to plug the gap, Coquelin most notably. The signing of the even more injury prone Mangala just made things worse and this is clearly one of several areas where the club needs to invest in. They also need to blood a fifth defender (Javi Jimenez?) who can step in when needed.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Valencia v Barcelona (15 June 2003)

Today is a special anniversary for me. It was exactly 16 years ago that I finally got to visit Mestalla. Valencia at that time had been on a roll. Two unsuccessful Champions league finals in a row in 2000 and 2001 had been followed by the first league title in over 30 years. After all that excitement, the 2002-2003 season was a let down.  In the Champions league, after negotiating the two group stages (this was the last to feature two group stages) Valencia went out in the quarters to Inter Milan on away goals. In the Copa, Valencia's rotations didn't work and after a 3-3 draw at now defunct third level Alicante CF, we lost on penalties in the round of 32.

In La Liga, Valencia had struggled, dropping from third to the fringes of the Champions league places in spring. The biggest problem was one that had been clear the previous season. Even when we won the title, Ruben Baraja had been our top scorer with a risible 7 goals. Strong defence had saved us. (Sound familiar?) This season had been the same, with the team really struggling for goals. At the time of this game, John Carew was the leading scorer, with a disappointing 8 goals.

A 1-2 defeat to Real Madrid in the previous game at Mestalla in the 35th round of games had allowed Celta to overtake us for fourth. So this game, the 37th of the season, was crucial to our Champions league hopes.

Our rivals, Barcelona, had their own issues. The arrival of a certain little Argentinian guy was a few seasons in the future and they had missed out on the top three in the previous three seasons and were languishing in seventh place. With both cup finalists not in the top six, Barca were in serious danger of missing out on Europe altogether. They came into this game hoping to avenge Valencia's 4-2 win at the Camp Nou in January.

The positions at the time of the game were:

1. Sociedad 73 pts
2. R. Madrid 72
3. D. Corunya 69
4. Celta Vigo 58
5. Valencia 57
6. A. Bilbao 52
7. Barcelona 50

Real Sociedad were chasing their first title since 1982 and would ultimately be unsuccessful.

The day of the game itself had been baking hot, the season started a bit later then and went on a month longer, finishing on 22 June with the cup final a week after that. I was looking for work in Valencia at the time so had to settle for the cheaper seats "in the clouds" at 42 euro a go.

Valencia lined up with a 4-2-3-1. Canizares and a defence of Carboni, Marchena, Pellegrino and the on-loan Reveillere. Screening them were Baraja and De Los Santos. The attacking midfield was made up of Kily Gonzalez, Aimar and Rufete, supporting the lone striker, Carew.

Barcelona's line-up was Valdes ; Gabri, Puyol, De Boer, Reiziger ; Enrique, Mendieta, Cocu, Overmars ; Kluivert, Javier Saviola.

Luis Enrique, of course, would go on to manage Barcelona and Spain, while Gaizka Mendieta was making his first return to the Mestalla since his transfer two years earlier.

The game itself proved a baptism of fire for me. Strangely enough, despite it being a relatively unimportant league game in the pre-YouTube era, the full game is online. I only recommend it if any of you are feeling masochistic, though.

The first half saw Barcelona have the better chances and Canizares had to make a couple of saves. The dynamic changed just before half-time. Marchena brought down Mendieta and then Carew lost it a bit, body checking the referee and then getting in his face to get a debatable straight red card. Mendieta scored to make it 1-0.

Those events put Valencia on the back foot for the second half. Juan Sanchez came on for Rufete, with youth player Borja Criado later coming on to make his third and final appearance for the first team. Those attacking changes failed to produce the equaliser and, in the 73rd minute, the first half repeated. Barcelona countered, Luis Enrique dribbled past two of our guys and was brought down by Carboni just before he could shoot. A clear penalty, but the double punishment of a red card for Carboni seemed harsh. 0-2 down, with 9 men and news coming in that Celta were 2 goals up against Sociedad spelled the end of Valencia's Champions league hopes. Marc Overmars added a third for Barcelona before Juan Sanchez gave us a late consolation goal.

Sociedad's defeat at Celta cost them the title. Carew's season had ended on a low note, he was loaned out the following season and never kicked a ball for Valencia again. Mista took over as main forward and produced a better following season.

Valencia went on to finish fifth, qualifying for the UEFA Cup which we won as part of a league and European double. For me, it was a sign of things to come: harsh and dubious refereeing decisions favouring Barcelona and disappointing seasons would feature quite a bit in the next 16 years but those just make the wins even sweeter.

How was your first game at Mestalla?

Monday, June 10, 2019

Valencia's future in European competitions

In this post last year I looked at how Valencia would benefit from European competition financially. The figures for that are almost in. Valencia have so far earned 40.75m from the Champions league (15.25m participation fee, 17.7m from the ten-year ranking, 3m per win and 0.9m per draw.) On top of that, the club gets 5.5m from the Europa league. TV money is yet to come on top of that, I'd guess around 8m, though the figures aren't usually released until mid-October. When you add gate receipts, merchandising and so on, our windfall from European competitions easily passes 60 million.

When you look at the breakdown, it's obvious that the Champions league (CL) is where it's at: we got over seven times as much money from that as the Europa league. Does that mean we should ignore the Europa league altogether? Not at all, without the ranking points from that we would be in pot 4, instead of pot 3, in next August's draw and would also receive 3.4m less in CL money next season.

Ensuring that that money keeps coming in and making progress in Europe are the big challenges ahead.

The news here isn't good. You would think that Valencia reaching the semi-finals of the Europa league would boost our ranking, maybe even putting us in with a chance of pot 2, but in reality we are almost unchanged from last season. This website (look under the CL tab) assumes that seeded teams win in each round. Valencia are guaranteed pot 3, but are much closer to pot 4 than pot 2. That's down to the fact that seeding is based on the last 5 years in European competition and Valencia was absent in 14/15, 16/17 and 17/18.

For ranking points, teams get 2 points for a win and 1 for a draw in European competitions. There is 1 bonus point for reaching quarters, another for the semis and another for the final. Those points are the same for either Europa league or CL. For CL, teams also get 4 bonus points for playing group stage and 5 bonus points for last 16.

Looking at the CL tab in the link above shows the problem. Valencia are 33.5 points behind the last ranked team in pot 2, Ajax. We could catch up this season but not enough. The ranking points from 15/16 then expire after next season which means that we are basically stuck in pot 3 of the CL until at least the 2022-23 season, that's the next three seasons at least playing groups of death, unless we get pot 1 by winning a European tournament. Missing a single season in Europe or failing to reach at least CL last 16 or EL quarters will prolong that. We must qualify for Europe and take whatever competition we're in seriously.

The problem with the current European competitions is that no one is happy with them. UEFA's tendency to give increasing numbers of guaranteed places in the group stages to a handful of top countries has forced most federations to play a ridiculous number of qualifying rounds, up to 6 for the smallest federations and 4 for most. For clubs in The Baltics, for example, that means that usually 2 or 3 of 4 entrants fall at the first hurdle, with any survivors usually culled off a round or two after that and facing unsexy ties against clubs from Scandinavia, Poland, Czechia, Belarus or The Balkans. It's hardly a way to promote interest in football in countries where ice hockey seems more interesting.

To cater for the concerns of smaller clubs, UEFA is establishing a new third-level competition, provisionally called Europa league 2 until they can think of a better title. That will start in the 2021-22 season and will feature the last qualifier from Spain, could be us if we finish 7th. The winners of that only qualify for the Europa league and the money is likely to be even worse than that so it's one for us to avoid.

Of far more interest to us are the proposed changes to the CL for 2024. Richer clubs like Manchester United are annoyed at missing out on the CL and UEFA themselves recognise the $$$ that they can earn by having them in. UEFA has suggested a more closed arrangement for the CL. Under that, there would be four groups of 8 teams instead of eight groups of 4. The bottom 8 teams would be relegated to the Europa league, with the other 24 continuing for the next season. After the inaugural season, the only way to get into the CL would be by winning the domestic league then being one of 4 teams winning play-offs between 40+ champions or finishing in the last 4 of Europa league, which would likely be a tougher prospect as all teams would take that far more seriously.

With a guaranteed 14 games instead of 6 in that, CL prize money would more than double. Valencia could potentially be looking at 100+ million a season for participating in that. A few seasons of that would more than wipe out the club's debts and leave us solvent for the first time in 30 years. But only if we get in. It's not yet been confirmed how the teams will be selected for that but the general thinking is that it would be done on the basis of UEFA's 10-year ranking, with maybe the top 32 from that or top 30 and the Europa league and CL winners from the season before. Valencia are currently 23rd in it, but more recent lists start to put us lower: 27th in the last one I can find.

It has to be said that the changes are only proposed and due to be discussed in August. Valencia and other clubs have already expressed opposition and there's a good chance the changes will be rejected, but I really think some change like that is inevitable. The idea of a European super league has been around since the late 1980s and you only have to look at recent developments to see this. Winning the domestic league is now usually not enough. In recent times, PSG have parted company with Emery and Juventus with Allegri despite domestic league success, while Valverde is under heavy pressure at Barcelona. In all cases, it's because of failings in the CL. Among major leagues, England is the only exception to this. All that suggests that a super league will happen, likely through reform of the CL and Valencia has to be in that.

Interesting and challenging years ahead.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

How changes to domestic cups will affect Valencia

There are some major changes coming up in domestic cups, with more confirmed and proposed for Europe. Here I want to look at how the changes to domestic cups will affect us.


The old format which has been used for about 15 years was seen as boring, so the Spanish Football Federation decided to make some changes, inspired by the German and English domestic cups. The number of teams has been expanded slightly, from 83 to 126. For the first time since the early 1980s, teams from the Regional Preferente, the fifth level of Spanish football, will gain entry.

The other big changes are that only the four clubs playing the Super Cup will start in the last 32. The other La Liga clubs will start two rounds earlier. Instead of two-legged games, as we've seen up to now, all ties, except the semi-finals, will now be one game only. No replays, just extra time and penalties if needed. Games will be played at the ground of the team that is in a lower division.

If two teams from the same division are drawn against each other, the first team drawn will have home advantage. After preliminary rounds reduce the Regional Preferente teams down to 10, the Regional Preferente and Tercera division teams, along with 4 Segunda B teams, will be drawn at home to the La Liga teams. This round will be regionalised, though how regional we will have to wait and see.

Effects for Valencia are
  • Fewer games. Winning the cup next year would only require playing 6 games rather than 9. If we are not in the Super Cup, it's still 8 games instead of 9. 
  • Shorter first round trips. Valencia have headed to Vigo in the first round in recent times. If we're not in the super cup, we shouldn't have so far to travel.
  • Loss of revenue. Fewer cup games at Mestalla, as lower league teams get home advantage.
  • The cup gets a bit more open. In the past, Barcelona and Real Madrid could lose their first leg against La Liga opposition and win the return: that happened this season with Barcelona losing 0-2 at Sevilla but battering them at Camp Nou. I think it's more likely that clubs outside the big two can win now.
  • Less chance to blood young players. The two-legged format suited La Liga clubs well. We could experiment with the team and include some promising reserve team players in the starting line-up in the first leg, safe in the knowledge that, if we screwed up and lost, we could put out a stronger line-up in the second leg at Mestalla and overturn the loss. That's exactly what happened this season against Gijon. This allowed us to try out players like Gaya, Kang-In and Alcacer in the past. Now, we won't be able to gamble too much with a weaker squad in the first leg.
Overall, the changes are better for the neutral, but mixed for us, especially from the development point of view.


Similar to the Copa del Rey, the Super Cup expands next season to four teams. Instead of the league champions against the cup winners (or runners-up if a team won the double) over two legs it will be the cup finalists and the two highest placed teams in La Liga playing single leg games outside Spain. Saudi Arabia is the likely venue for this. Valencia were very angry about this, arguing that forcing us to play a semi-final, when we had qualified by right for the final, was unfair. The club said it supported the expansion for future seasons, but not for next. The changes have gone ahead anyway. Valencia made noises about legal action but this hasn't happened.

The draw has already been made, Valencia will face Atletico Madrid on 8 January, with Barcelona - Real Madrid the following day and the final on 12 January. There are conflicting stories about the division of revenue. Some sources suggested we would get 1 million, Atletico 2m and the big two 6m each, which sounded blatantly unfair. Later, reported that the losing semi-finalists will get 800,000 each, the runner-up 2m and the winner 2.8m. 

Effects for Valencia

  • More chance of qualifying. 4th in La Liga will probably be there about a third of the time.
  • More money. Foreign cities will pay more to host it.
  • The neutral games often won't be neutral. Barcelona and Real Madrid have far more international fans than we do. Barcelona vs Valencia played in Miami, for example, would be virtually the same as Barcelona playing at home.
  • Less disadvantage in La Liga when playing the Super Cup. Under the old format, we would have had 2 extra games next season while other La Liga clubs have a nice break. This time, we'll be playing at the same time that they play Copa del Rey games. 
So, apart from next season, and assuming that the money will be performance based, these changes are better for us.

In a future post, I'll look at how changes to European competitions could affect us.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Valencia CF need a new striker

Last two matches against Sporting Gijon in the copa and Real Valladolid in the league have shown us just how desperately we need a new striker. In the copa match against Gijon Michy missed an open goal, a sitter and was subsequently subbed at half time and with good reason, with reports suggesting that he is going to leave Valencia CF as VCF are negotiating with Chelsea to end his loan deal. That said in the match against Real Valladolid we had several players miss similar chances. Cheryshev had a great opportunity on goal, Santi Mina also missed an empty open goal as he fumbled with his legs and missed the whole ball, in literally went in between his legs as he missed an open empty goal.

Rodrigo Moreno then had a solid chance as well from open play, he also missed and later on he had opportunity to make it right through a penalty and he shot straight into the goalkeeper. We can't win games when we can't score goals even when we are creating so many chances. There are some games that we don't create many chances, tighter games and that is another issue altogether, but in matches like last one where we create plenty of opportunities, its sad that we barely managed to score one goal. We probably had 5 games like this and I'm being conservative here, we probably drew 5 games that we should have won, and that is 10 more points right now if we'd have won. Again if we'd won 5 matches instead of drawing and we could have won that amount of games if we scored more, we've had the chances and opportunities to score more in at least 5 games, that would have given us 10 more points and we would have had 33 points now and actually be THIRD on the table, sharing the spot with Sevilla.

This is why I think the number one priority of the club is to bring in a good quality striker on loan, and give Marcelino one more month to turn things around. If we can get a solid striker who is in better form and allow Marcelino time to work with that, we can properly assess if the biggest issue is the coach. If he can't make it work even with another good striker that is going to score from these type of good opportunities, then we can think about replacing the coach.

Right now I just don't see anyone that can make a better difference. The best option would be Voro, but that is just so depressing to have him come in as a caretaker so much and so often. And the only person who can turn things around in such a short period is him, every other coach would need more time to figure out the squad and put his stamp on.

So yeah, Valencia CF should be looking to bring in a new quality striker on loan, one who can immediately make a difference, the winter transfer window is always tough to get the best and/or the ones you want, but we can't do worse than what we have now, that is for sure. Then lets give Marcelino a proper month with the new striker to turn things around, only then should he fail to improve things, should we be looking at replacing him. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

The essentials about Valencia's champs league participation

Last season Valencia achieved what most of us doubted last summer: a return to the UEFA Champions league. The draw for the group stage will take place a month from today, though qualifying rounds have already been played for the last five weeks. Compared to when Valencia last played there in 2015-16 several changes have been made. The biggest one has been to have increased numbers of qualifying rounds for the majority of less successful federations, but give the 4th placed team from the top 4 automatic entry to the CL group stage. 

Last time round, VCF had to play a qualifier and despite being seeded, got a tough opponent in Monaco FC, who they edged. Had the old system continued, Valencia would have been unseeded in the last qualifying round and could have faced a tough tie against someone like Liverpool or Roma. That change is good news for us. 

The second change which is good news is that the cash on offer has increased by nearly half, from €1.35 billion to €1.95 billion. Last time out, VCF took home 27m, picking up another 2.1m from the Europa league. We stand to make a lot more this time.

VCF's champs league earnings will come four ways: a participation fee, a 10-year ranking, market pool and performance bonuses.

The first is the easiest to explain. Every team that plays in the group stage gets 15.25 million. 

The 10-year ranking is new for this year. Basically, there are 528 "shares" split between the 32 clubs based on their performances in the previous 10 seasons in European competitions. Each share is worth 1.108 million. The highest ranked team (Real Madrid) gets 32 shares, the second and third teams (Barca and Bayern) 31 and 30 respectively, down to the 32nd team which gets one share. Valencia are provisionally eighteenth in the ranking so will get at least 15 shares for a total of 16.6 million. However, that could increase if either Benfica or Basle (or both) get knocked out in qualifying. In that case Valencia would get 17.7 or 18.8 million. 

The market pool is another way of saying tv revenue. That seems to have been cut in half this season, with the money going instead to the 10-year ranking. UEFA don't release these figures until the October or November after the champions league final, so we don't yet know what teams got last season, but working off previous seasons, it seems like Spanish teams will get 8.8 million for Barca, 6.6 for Atleti, 4.4 million for R.Madrid and 2.2 million for us. Teams will also get about half a million per game they play, so provisionally, about 5.2 million for Valencia for the group stage.

Lastly, there's performance bonus. Each champs league group stage game has prize money of 2.7 million. If a team wins, that's easy, they get all of it. If it's a draw, it gets more complicated. Each team gets 900,000 with the remaining 900,000 put into a pot and split between teams based on the number of games they won. Roughly speaking, that means a win is worth close on 3 million and a draw 900,000.

Getting to the last sixteen earns 9.5 million. Reaching the quarters adds 10.5 million. Those amounts aren't cumulative so VCF would get 20 million in prize money for reaching those two rounds. Semis add 12 million and reaching the final earns 15 million. The winners get 4 million on top of that and qualify for the UEFA Super cup where the winners get 4.5 million and the losers 3.5 million.

So worst case scenario, VCF loses all 6 games we still earn 37 million.
Best case scenario, Basle and Benfica eliminated, VCF wins everything (we might as well think big) we get 116 million.

I think all that shows just how important it is for us to make the CL a regular thing instead of once every 3 or 4 seasons. 

The biggest problem is that 2 years of not qualifying for Europe at all have really hurt Valencia's ranking. Last time round we were ranked 14th and comfortably made it into pot 2. For now, we are 21st, which would be pot 3, but there are a number of teams in qualifying with a higher ranking than us: Benfica, Basel, Dynamo Kyiv and Ajax in the league route, which has 2 qualifying places, and Ludogorets, Salzburg and PSV in the champions route, which has 4 places. To get pot 3, we need to hope that no more than 3 of the 6 qualifiers have a higher ranking than us. Most likely that means seeing Ludogorets, who drew 0-0 at home in the first leg, getting knocked out this week and 1 of PSV or Salzburg failing to make it. Pot 3 would mean our easiest team could be Bruges, Plzen or Galatasaray instead of Liverpool, Roma or Schalke.

A crunch season ahead, hopefully we won't crash and burn like we did last time. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Formation Change?

First off, congratulations to France and all French fans and supporters on the World Cup win. With the World Cup now over, everyone is looking ahead to the new club season. However, the World Cup always has an impact on the new season. The performance of players causes a lot of movement in the transfer market with clubs keen to steal away the best performers. The World Cup also gave us a good taste of VAR (video-assistant-referee) which will be in full effect this new season, hopefully with a few kinks worked out. However, the World Cup is also a lesson in tactics and formations, and that's what I want to speak about today.

I read an article on Superdeporte that suggested that Wass was being experimented by Marcelino as part of a double pivot. I didn't think much of it at the time but while watching the World Cup, I realized that many of the top teams, all use a variation of a formation with double pivots: 3-4-2-1, 4-2-3-1 or a 3-5-2. The champions France played a counter-attacking style as we do, but the core of their success is the double pivot of Kante and Matuidi. No doubt many coaches looked at the tactics used in the World cup either to emulate them or at least to figure out how to stop them, and Marcelino would have been no exception. 

So why change the 4-4-2, which has worked well for us this far? Well, my guess is that Marcelino only opted for this formation since it was simple and effective. Given the time and resources he had, this made sense. But a coach has to adapt to the times and this could be a reason to change. 

It struck me as odd that Marcelino would invest in yet another CDM and another CB. This leaves us with 3 CDMs (Kondogbia, Coquelin, Racic) and 6 CBs (Garay, Murillo, Paulista, Vezo, Diakhaby, and Jimenez). On top of that, there were rumors that Valencia were going to use Nani as a bargaining chip with Sporting CP to facilitate the signing of another CDM, William Carvalho. This didn't materialize. That would've left us with 4 CDMs. Now, this could be for a few reasons. It could be the club is anticipating Kondogbia will be sought after by bigger clubs soon and have already planned his future replacement. Racic could also be a temporary cover for Coquelin whose injury might make him miss some of the next season. As for the CBs, many have speculated that Garay would be on his way out since he has one of the highest salaries and could fetch the biggest price out of the players. However, it could also be in anticipation of a formation change. 

In a formation with 3 CBs, having 5 or 6 CBs doesn't seem so strange anymore. Similarly, a squad with 3 or 4 CDMs, in a formation with double pivots, is not strange either. This, at first sight suggests that we would play a 3-4-2-1 or a 3-5-2. This could looks something like this:

Guedes?/Ferran                 Parejo/Soler
Gaya/Lato    Kondogbia/Coquelin    Wass/Racic    Montoya?/?
Murillo/Jimenez      Garay/Paulista      Diakhaby/Vezo

This is very similar to the way to the way Belgium would play, 3 CBs with wingbacks on either side of the double pivot. In front of them, two mobile and/or creative players with a central striker. Now, if one of the center-backs leaves on loan or is sold, this could be adapted to a lineup similar to France's 4-2-3-1 as follows:

Guedes?/Ferran                Parejo/?                      Soler/?
    Kondogbia/Coquelin    Wass/Racic    
Gaya/Lato     Murillo/Jimenez       Diakhaby/Paulista      Montoya?/Vezo

***Note, I didn't include Zaza in these, as he seems to be getting pushed out. However, he could very well fit in as the central striker in these formations, with Rodrigo playing just behind. Guedes remains a maybe so I kept him but I'm hearing names like T.Hazard, Malcolm and Kostic to replace him. Maksimovic was signed by Getafe, so he wasn't included.

Both formations have been effective in the World Cup especially conducive for counter-attacking football. Of course, this is just pure speculation from my end based on our transfer-activity, some news and my analysis of the World Cup but we'll see what happens in the preseason friendlies and the next month and a half of the transfer window. A lot of the time, there is a cascading effect with transfers where as soon as a club gets their player, the selling club will buy to replace and then that selling club will also do the same and so on, unlocking the deadlock.

As usual, please share your thoughts with everyone in the comments below. Is it safer to stick with the 4-4-2? Or would you like to see a formation change? Which one? Which transfer targets would make it work? How should we lineup? 

Monday, June 4, 2018

2017-18 Season Review: The Best and the Worst

With the season finished, now is a perfect time to sit down and reflect it.

Starting at the beginning, we had finished in a dismal position on the table last season at 12th. The turbulent coaching story continued with Prandelli resigning last season and Voro stepping in as usual to cover. As if that wasn't enough the players, which so much money was splashed on, did not live up to even fractions of their price tag. 

This season was going to be different. We signed a coach that had a track record, experience and was familiar with the country, it's language and the league. The investment strategy for players was different as well: take the players on loan and only should they perform well do we consider investing in them. Of course, part of this was due to necessity since Financial Fair Play would restrict our buying ability regardless. Some players like Paulista, Murillo, Zaza and Neto joined on permanent deals right away (with payments in installments), while others like Kondogbia and Guedes were considered for the future via the loan deals. In addition, excess baggage that didn't prove it's worth last season: Abdennour, Santos, and Nani, was sent elsewhere. Other young players were loaned out as a chance to prove their worth and either come back or be purchased by the club to which they were loaned. 

This set the stage for what was to be a brilliant season to watch and a great success, especially relative to previous seasons. We returned to the Champions League with a few games to spare, played an attractive brand of football, produced consistent performances and challenged the top teams.

From the beginning, we would go on huge runs of great form and build up a streak of undefeated games and great form for our players. Although we did struggle breaking down teams that would park the bus or aggressively break the flow of the counter attacks, we did punish almost every team that challenged us in an open game. The team would be soaring and then the gravity of injuries would pull us back down at points in the season. Our squad depth would be exposed, having no one on the bench to offer anything different. Then, Zaza would go on goal drought, Neto's feet were frozen solid, we would have a crisis in defense and midfielders were used to cover for injured defenders, and finally our right-back would give an opening for all teams to exploit. Despite all that, we managed to achieve the goal and if we were offered this position at the beginning, most if not all of us would've taken it. We actually did even better, as we could've very well finished 3rd or even 2nd.

So without further ado, here is the best and the worst for me in this season:

Best Player: Geoffery Kondogbia

Huge difference to previous holders of the position in previous seasons (Danilo, Enzo Perez, Javi Fuego). Offers great strength, dominant presence and great work ethic. He facilitated our counter-attacking style by intercepting passes and winning the ball back in midfield to start such a move. He had great driving runs forward taking on defenders confidently and producing a good pass or shot to finish. A great asset to have while defending corners and set pieces as he has won the aerial duels many times. He is well liked by the fans as well as his fellow players. Easily justifies his price tag and is undoubtedly a steal for this amount (25 million euros). The deal to sign him permanently was expected and good to see it go through.


Guedes: for taking our attacking game to the next level with his creativity, dribbling and pace.
Rodrigo: great goal tally, really stepped up in the second part of the season and a well-deserved Spain NT call-up
Gaya: perhaps the only constant in defense, one less for Marcelino to worry about.
Soler: Growing talent, versatile (midfield and wing play) nice to see him with the Spanish NT as well.

Worst Player: Martin Montoya

No doubt this has been our weak point all season. We got him on a free transfer, so it was a good deal in that sense. He wasn't always poor, he had some decent games, a few good. But when he was bad, it was really bad and we were exploited. It didn't help that his competition for the spot was Nacho Vidal who was ostracized by Marcelino from the start. He was then left to compete with Vezo for the spot and lost out to him a few times.


Nacho Vidal: I take it if he wasn't used all this time, then Marcelino doesn't value him highly.

Best Game: Real Betis 3 - Valencia 6

Despite conceding 3 goals and almost throwing away a 4 goal lead, it was very entertaining to watch. Lots of contributors, with 6 different goal scorers. Very open game from both teams, almost a comeback at the end only for the momentum to go back to us in the final minutes. Great away win.


Valencia 4 - 0 Sevilla: It felt so good handing a wide margin loss to a rival that's given us so much trouble. Very convincing win.

Worst game: Valencia 1 - 4 Real Madrid

A lot of factors for this. Losing to rival in a 6 point game. The controversial referee decisions at their worst. Losing at home, etc.


Getafe 1-0 Valencia: although we lost by one goal, this was quite embarrassing. A type of game where the other team played aggressive to break up counters, ended up with 10 men very early (25 min into the game) and still managed to beat us. 

Best Goal: Guedes vs Sevilla (4-0 home game)

Guedes summarized in this goal. Receives the ball in midfield, accelerates quickly taking out 2 players, gets to the edge of the box and fakes two more players before smashing it into the top corner from range. It was 


Guedes vs Betis (3-6 away game): edge of the area, with a wall of defenders in front yet smashes it into top corner.
Rodrigo vs Leganes (0-1 away game): tight game, needed a goal, just substituted in, Kondogbia wins the ball back at the edge of the box, Rodrigo takes possession, runs across the edge of the box and bends it away from the keeper and into the net.
Vietto vs Girona (0-1 away game): struggling on form and getting tons of criticism and whistles but remains focused and produces a great goal. Carried the ball from midfield to the edge of the box, used the defender to block the keeper's vision and curled it to the top corner.
Vietto vs Las Palmas (Copa del Rey 4-0 home game): debut game, saw the keeper of his line and beat him from insane range

That's it from me. Just thought I would discuss this as we haven't had a chance to fully reflect on some of these things. Now I'll pass it to all of you.

Who were your best and worst players of the season? Best and worst games of the season? And Best goal of the season? Other comments or suggestions for improvement?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Don't Forget Us

Alvaro Medran 24yrs

Signed from Real Madrid July 2016 for 1.5 million euros and contract here until June 2020.
Currently on loan at Alaves until June 2018.

Is he playing well ?  Unfortunately no.  Not being used nearly enough and perhaps will be released by them or maybe another loan deal, but unlikely. A promising player who has failed to live up to his expectations so far. Seems to do some good passes but never seems to take command and direct the play.

At an age now where we should be seeing him at his best and therefore decisions have to be made in the summer to keep him or get rid.

Fabian Orellana 32yrs

Signed from Celta Vigo for 3million 2017 and currently on loan at Eibar.

There is an agreement that he would sign for them for 2 million at the end of this season if they remain in La Liga.  It looks like they will be staying with the big boys and as he is playing well it appears his destination is Eibar for next season.

Started off well for us but fell out of favour and is now outside of our plans. 

Zakaria Bakkali  22yrs

Came on a free transfer from PSV Eindhoven and currently on loan at Deportivo La Coruna until June 2018.  He has a contract at Valencia until 2020.

Is he playing well.  New manager Clarence Seedorf seemed to like him and gave him plenty of playing time when he first arrived.  Unfortunately he looks the same as he did at Valencia. Explosive running power and good crossing ability.  However, he is lacking on getting back to defend and gives the ball away too easily. I have seen him play many times and not impressed.

I do not see him changing and I think he is not what our manager is looking for.  Alaves should stay up now and again a decision needs to be made what to do with him. He has to go I think.

Aderllan Santos 29yrs

From Braga 2015 for 7 million euros and contract at Valencia until June 2020 but currently on
loan to Sao Paulo in Brazil until December 2018.

It appears he is not getting any game time at all in Brazil therefore a big problem in December as to what to do with him.  He came with a good reputation but apart from a few occasions failed to live up to it.  Massive mistake paying that sort of money.

Nacho Gill 22yrs.

Local player who came up through the club system. 

Has a contract here until 2020 and currently on loan at Las Palmas until June 2018.

I have seen him play many times for Las Palmas on TV but he always looks too weak too small and easily dispossessed.  He has been given many opportunities but failed miserably to impress.
Las Palmas will go down this season and maybe he will stay and play in the Segunda

Eugini Valderrama 23yrs

Contract here until June 2019 and currently on loan at Cadiz CF in Segunda until June 2018.

Another player not living up to his expectations. Cadiz are in line for possible promotion to La Liga but Eugini is not starring in the team enough. We will have to wait and see what becomes of him.

Summary.   Very disappointing news unfortunately.  Nobody except Cancelo is going to bring in any decent money or looks as if he has a future with the club.

What are your views guys. I hope I can be proved wrong by one or more of theses players ?

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Remember Me ????

Aymen ABDENNOUR aged 28yrs

Cost  22,000,000 Euros  August 2015 from AS Monaco.

Where is he now ?   On loan at Olympic Marseille until 2019 but with an option to cancel in June 20018.

Is he playing well ?  The answer to that is NO.  He had a decent game in the middle of January 2018 against Strasbourg but was only playing regularly up to middle of December 2017.  It seems as though they will cancel his loan in June 2018 but he is still contracted here until June 2020.

So what now ?   So, we hope that maybe Marseille pick up some injuries and he can get back in the team. Maybe that could give him a chance of appearing in the World Cup for Tunisia which might boost his value, or of course he might play badly and nobody will want him.

Summary.   Looks like we will take a big hit on him whatever happens therefore we can just pray that there is somebody out there with loads of money who will take a chance on him, maybe China ??


Information from the club today suggests that the deal with Abdennour is that only if both parties agree he can be returned to Valencia this June.  He has stated he wants to continue with Marseille to prove himself.  So that means that if Valencia don't want to take him back he is obligated to remain in France for another season.
That of course poses the dilema that he will then only have one year left on his contract.  The gamble then is, do we take him back and hope to sell him this summer or do we force his stay in France and risk getting less or nothing back on a transfer in June 2019 which could also sour our relationship with Marseille.

Luis NANI aged 31yrs

Cost 8.5 million euros from Fenerbache July 2016.

Where is he now ?  On loan at Lazio until June 2018.  Contract at Valencia to June 2019.

Is he playing well ?  No not really.  Not playing regularly and doesn't seem to be impressing much.  Getting used for the final minutes perhaps to waste a bit of time when they are winning a bit like Alcacer at Barca.

So what now ?   He had refused an offer of going to China but maybe he will change his mind now as he will know, like Abdennour, that he has no future here. Hopefully gets picked for Portugal and can impress in World Cup but that looks unlikely with young players coming through and impressing.

Summary.   Another waste of money but who knows, maybe we can offload him for a small sum and save on his wages.  Would be very surprised to see him in our shirt again.

Joao CANCELLO 23yrs

Cost 15,000,000 from Benfica July 2015.

Where is he now ?   Inter Milan on loan with buyout clause of 35,000.000.

Is he playing well ?  You bet !   A real success story and it looks as as if Inter will pay the buy out option. He is not only playing regularly but very popular with the fans and management after a slightly troubled start. With Kondogbia and Murillo coming the other way a deal will hopefully be worked out to make everybody happy, including the FFP.

Summary.  At least a bit of good news. I don't think we should criticise too much the bad signings as all clubs take a  gamble when signing players and they don't always work out.

I am sure if I have got any facts wrong somebody will put me right.

So what do we think ?  Is there a place for Nani in the team. Abdennour ?  can we use him anymore ?

Some more faces next week

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Marcelino's training methods

As you all know Valencia CF trashed some Swiss team called Lausanne-Sport, not some great feat, but its always nice to start off on a good footing early in the preseason.

I've watched all of the training videos so far and I've got to say I'm very impressed my Marcelino's training methods. At first I thought it was going to be the same old, as they team only did fitness type training, but since then the training schemes have been amazing, all tactical and technical in nature.

We've seen a lot of training on moves, movement, passing and pressing. Some of the training stuff is something I'm seeing first time ever, so I like that and I think its going to have a positive effect and we are going to see a much better team for it.

With all that said we do need one good defender, we can't rely on the error prone Abdenour, Vezo is a hit and miss and we lack a 4th serious CD either way. Great training can do so much, you also need the players to back up the good training.

So far so good in terms of training though, the focus is on the technical and tactical aspects, with the occasional fitness training to maintain the players weight and stamina. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Valencia CF preparations in France

Valencia CF is holding its preseason preparations in France this week and Valencia's new coach Marcelino has published the squad list of players that will be training there.

Goalkeepers: Neto, Jaume, Sivera
Defenders: Montoya, Nacho Vidal, Vezo, Garay, Abdennour, Javi Jimenez, Lato, Centelles
Midfielders: Parejo, Medran, Maksimović, Orellana, Bakkali, Nacho Gil, Nando, Eugeni Valderrama
Forwards: Rodrigo, Zaza, Mina, Rafa Mir, Negredo

Some players like Gaya, Soler, Nani and Cancelo won't be joining the team as they have an extended vacation period due to their national teams involvement, thus will be joining the rest at a later date.

Diego Alves and Aderlan Santos are not in the team because they are expected to leave, the team has made it clear that they would not be counting on these players for the next season, which is a shame to threat Diego Alves as such, he could have joined the group and trained until he finds a better club to join, so a pity that the club treats its players with such disrespect and contempt.

Right now in Valencia CF squad in France there are only few players that have been with the club for more than 3 years and those are Vezo(yeah, even though he has barely played actually), Parejo, Bakkali, Rodrigo and Negredo.

So that gives you an idea of the team "spirit" or lack thereof. 5 players out of 24 that have been with the club for more than 3 years. If we increase that to 5 years and we are only left with Parejo and when Gaya comes back he will be one of the few as well, counting his time in the B team as well.

So you might be asking why am I so negative again in the preseason, similar to last season, and its because like last season I do not see the strategy, I do not see the careful planing and smart transfer moves, its a scramble to get rid of several players and bring in several players to replace them. There is nothing strategic about it, we are rebuilding once again, just like last season, just like the season before, ust like 3 seasons before, etc...

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Peter Lim get lost from this club NOW!

You've destroyed this club, you absolutely ravaged, murdered this club with over 100 years of history and tradition. You parasite, you removed everyone at the helm, including the internal people bellow the highest levels who've been at Valencia CF for 10+ years, some of them 20+ years and you put in garbage new cohorts that would be the yes men to everything you do.

It took you only 3 years to destroy this club, first you fed your friend tens of millions of dollars buying his absurdly overpriced players, then you purchase shares in them, so Valencia CF owns some, you own some and now not even in the third year and you've already sold all of them.

You are not welcomed in Valencia, I urge fans not to use violence, but make your voices heard, post negative reviews about his businesses, use strong words if he makes the mistake to travel to VCF, make sure you are vocal about the issue, but again no need for violence. That won't solve anything, but we need to make sure he leaves our club alone. This parasite has destroyed the club that many of us have supported for almost 20 years, in some cases even more. Spanish fans who've supported the club for 50+ years and now we've been turned into a club fighting to survive relegation.

The parasite that is Peter Lim needs to go right now!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Valencia CF should not sell on the cheap

Valencia CF should not sell their players on the cheap, especially in a market like today, where all the prices are extremely inflated.

I saw several people in the comments section in the last several days on this blog, saying how certain prices for certain players are too high, but look at the market. Claudio Bravo is supposedly to cost City 20 million pounds, that is 25 million euros even with the pound really low historically.

Why isn't Diego Alves worth as much? Diego Alves have played a lot more than Bravo, he's objectively better than him, he's the number one penalty stopper in Spain, possibly even in Europe, so why is he worth 10 million, maximum 15 million, yet someone like Claudio Bravo is worth 20+ million euros?

How can Raul Albiol on his last year of his contract in Napoli worth over 15 million euros, John Stones cost City 55 over million euros, Samuel Umtiti cost FC Barcelona 25 million, yet someone like Shkodran Mustafi is only worth 30 million?

Aymen Abdennour might have had a poor season at Valencia CF, but that doesn't erase his previous good seasons and if we purchased him 25 million euros, he sure as hell is still worth 20 million euros now.

The transfer market is extremely inflated, just 5 years ago I wouldn't have dreamed of a defender costing 30 million euros, maybe the top 3 in the world defenders could warrant such prices, but these days every good defender seems to be over 20 million euros, with the very good ones reaching 40-60 million euros. In such a market selling realistically is not an option, you have to go with it, you have to ride the wave of inflated prices and you have to play hardball.

If Arsenal come knocking on your door because they are desperate for a quality defender, because their CD's are all injured just 2 weens before the end of the transfer window, you play hardball, you ask for 60 million euros, negotiate down to 50 million euros and then sell.
You also don't go around yelling on top of your lungs how we are desperate to sell because of fair play rules, signaling to other clubs that you are willing to let players on the cheap just to lower the squad salary earnings.

Paco Alcacer to me is realistically worth 25-30 million, in this inflated market he is worth at least 50 million euros. If Anthony Martial can reach up to 80 million euros with bonuses added, when strikers like Kevim Gameiro can reach 30 million euros, then Paco Alcacer one of our best players for two seasons is certainly wroth 50 million euros.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The transfer saga continues

The transfer saga at Valencia CF continues, as we are inching closer to the start of the new season, we still don't know what our final team will look like, I think this is the biggest frustration many fans have, just not knowing and unsure if we can replace players we sell so late in the transfer window with players that are equally as good, or preferably better.

There is no point to sell great players to get weaker ones, its just a defeatist policy that can only lead to ruin, such policies are suicide and especially at Valencia CF should not happen.

If we were going to sell Shkodran Mustafi it had to be a month ago, at a huge price of 40 million euros, where we had enough time to find a suitable replacement, purchase them, incorporate them into the team and establish them, not right now where we barely even have time to find an alternative, let alone acquire them and then establish them in the team.

But then again Mustafi could stay and Aymen Abdennour could leave, after all that was the latest and seemed like more precise rumor, something that made much more sense, but the fact that nothing has happened yet, leads me to believe there is more to the Mustafi story that just pure speculation.

As far as Paco Alcacer is concerned, I'm not worried anymore, we have had several public statements that Paco isn't for sale and he's personally said he is not looking to move, unless of course the club want to sell him, which they've publicly stated they don't. So I don't expect Paco to leave at this point, if we sell him it would be devastating, especially this close to the transfer window closing, it would be absurd to sell one of our best players in the last two seasons and basically our only pure striker in the team, Moreno still has a long way to convert back to that striker role after playing on the wing for the past two seasons.

Diego Alves to me is a done deal, he's as good as gone, the question is how much will we get for him, personally I believe he is worth 20 million euros, the least we should get though is 15 million euros, anything bellow and that is just giving him away for free, giving away a top keeper to supposedly our competition(Barcelona) for pennies on the dollar, its just ridiculous.

Hopefully what happens is we sell Aymen Abdennour for 20 million euros, he's also got a big salary so we get a big boost to our coffers, use those 20 million euros to get Raul Albiol, if we can't get him for a reasonable price or say 12-13 million euros when he only has a year left on his contract, then we should turn to another experienced defender who is established and has played good, but is not on a top team to have his price inflated.

Then of course with the money from Aymen's sale, the money saved on his salary, we should keep Shkodran Mustafi, keep Paco, keep Diego Alves and sell Ryan. I know Diego has a big salary, but he is a top keeper, he's worth every penny we pay him, sure he was injured last season for a big part of it, but he is fit now, he is better than the other two, he is a veteran of Valencia CF, he pays off what he's worth.

I'd sell Ryan and keep Jaume as back-up, Ryan likely has a high salary as well, we know Peter Lim is garbage at negotiating salaries, we know he overpaid ALL of the players he signed, Gomes was overpaid, Enzo was overpaid and still is, Cancelo was overpaid, Negredo was severely overpaid, Moreno is overpaid, etc... He overpaid every one of these players as if we are a premier league club, when we aren't, we didn't even have a sponsor, yet he overpaid all of these players and now that we didn't qualify for the Champions league and still don't have sponsors he is selling them left and right to keep the check book balanced.

Its clear that he made mistake after mistake after mistake and he is still doing them. You can't sell like crazy this close to the start of the season and end of the transfer window to try and desperately balance the check book, you had to do it earlier, the team had to be defined at least a month before and you can't sell top players and bring in weaker alternatives, why sell them in the first place?

The only way to earn money in the long run, to be successful, is to keep building a top team with good players that you don't overpay in the first place, you give them realistic Spanish La Liga salaries and you won't have troubles paying their salaries later on. Once your top players keep on qualifying for the Champions league consistently you'll find good sponsors, they want international attention, they don't want Spanish attention, when Spain has been in a deep recession for the past 5 years. They want international exposure, to the whole European market, not just the local Spanish market, especially knowing its mostly the Valencia region that they would penetrate with Valencia CF sponsorship.

Lets hope things turn out good, though with Lim and his management everything bad is possible, there are even rumors that we'll sell Shkodran Mustafi to Liverpool and get Alberto Moreno Luis Alberto the other way, though this seems unlikely as Liverpool don't really need a new central defender and I don't think they'll want to sell or loan Alberto either, plus with all the transfers they've already done this summer I don't think they have the money to acquire any expensive players, they could probably move in for someone at a cheaper 15 million euros or so, but don't think they can afford another 30 million euros or more for a player like Shkodran Mustafi.

Aymen Abdennour has been a liability last season, so selling him for around 20 million would actually be good for us, get a cash injection, get rid of his high salary and end up keeping Mustafi, but once again the management has to be smart about this, but they've showed a tendency to be really stupid and do the wrong things over and over. Use the money from the sale wisely and bring in a good, experienced and reliable defender on the cheap, there are options out there.

Now if we sell Mustafi and Diego Alves will the team be looking at a relegation battle? Personally I know that this team is capable of beating the expectations in a negative manner and fight for relegation last season was the demonstration that we are capable of just that, even with all of the players we had last season, so its possible but less likely to happen, even if we sell Mustafi and Diego Alves.

I think between Vezo, Santos, Aymen and a new and experienced defender we could have decent, not great, but decent defense that isn't going to ruin us. Certainly not relegation level terrible, but I'd forget about Chmapions league or Europa league football without those two. I'm not even counting Paco to leave, I just don't think it will happen, the club and management are not suicidal, Peter Lim doesn't want an "accident" to happen when he arrives in Valencia, so zero chance to sell Paco this summer.

Now if we get to keep Diego Alves, Mustafi and sell Aymen and get a new defender, Albiol would be the best option, but a good experienced alternative would also be okay, I do think the team has a small chance to challenge for Europa league positions. Its going to be very hard and the team would have to click perfectly, Nani would need to instantly contribute, Moreno would need to keep his great form from preseason and play great each week, Paco would have to repeat the previous seasons in terms of contribution and our updated midfield trio would have to do at least mildly better than last season, which is doable. Also our "new" left back Leto would have to be the new Gaya from two seasons ago and contribute the same amount as Gaya did back then. Then we would have a  chance to get top 6 and enter into the Europa league.