Showing posts with label squad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label squad. Show all posts

Saturday, December 24, 2022

News update

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

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

Valencia extended the contract of Jaume Domenech until 2024.

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

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

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


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


Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Gaya renews until 2027

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

                                   


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

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

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


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

Monday, September 19, 2022

Mamardashvili renewed until 2027

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


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

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

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


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Ferro and Benfica angry with Valencia

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


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

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Official: Valencia sign Patrick Cutrone on loan

Valencia have officially announced the signing of Patrick Cutrone on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers FC until the end of 20/21 season. The deal is a pure loan, meaning there will be no purchase option. This Valencia's second signing of the transfer window with Piccini returning to the club last week.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Official: Cristiano Piccini returns from loan

 Valencia have made it official through their website and social media that they have reached an agreement with Atalanta to cut-short the loan of Piccini and have him return to Valencia. Piccini was set to stay for 1-year with the Italian club with a possible 3 million euro purchase option but they have barely used him in their games. With the player desperate to return and Valencia looking for low-cost reinforcements, the transfer was complete.

Monday, January 18, 2021

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

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

GOALKEEPERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 12, 2020

La Liga Matchday #13: Valencia CF 2 - 2 Athletic Bilbao Match Thread

 NEWS

At the Valencia Shareholder's Meeting, Anil Murthy answered some questions, mainly about financials but also about other matters related to the club.

There was discussion that the club was still in the process of playing Marcelino what he is owed. Murthy assured that the club is honoring their agreement with the coach.

Murthy added to last week's comments saying, that he doesn't feel like Valencia gave players away since their high salaries were high and the club was saving on them by selling.

About the Nou Mestalla, he said that the stadium cannot be completed without selling the old stadium. In a talk about sponsors, he said that the club was looking for a new sponsor since some European countries have either passed or are in the process of passing a ban on betting/bookmaker sponsors on kits. This would result in a loss of revenue for Valencia since bwin is a betting company. He added that if the new stadium is completed, Valencia would acquire several other sponsors. 

With regards to some players not receiving salary payments, Murthy explained the delay was due to the pandemic. The club was also required to make payments to Bankia and used Ferran's sale to help make that. You may read other details from this interview here if interested.

Superdeporte reported on the financial relationship between Valencia and Meriton. Apparently, two big loans were made to the club from Meriton in the 2014-15 and 2020-21 seasons. The money was loaned with a right of pledge. If the loan's could not be re-negotiated and should Meriton choose to make a claim on payments, Valencia would sell players at a price and time convenient to the club to make the payments. Meriton has not asked for any payments thus far but has reported the club to begin the payment of the 54 million euro loan. Read more here.

Finally, Javi Gracia took part in a pre-match press conference where he talks about how despite all the work the team is done, he still views it as insufficient as evidenced by the results. He added that only a few teams have managed a high level at all this season, with everyone struggling. He also expressed hope on a successful appeal for Hugo Guillamon's previous yellow card. Finally, he said that he was looking at Fran Navarro and other players from the academy to supplement the squad in the midweek Copa del Rey fixture.

PREVIEW

Valencia played out a 0-0 draw against Eibar. Valencia played a very dull and lackluster first half. The game opened up a bit more in the second half with both teams getting chances. Gameiro had the best chances of the game in stoppage time but the keeper managed to deny him the goal.

Athletic Bilbao come into this game on the back of 0-2 loss at home to Celta Vigo. They conceded two goals in the second half, one from a well-worked cross and the other due to a goalkeeping error. In the end, they didn't manage a single shot on target.

The two teams are tied at 13/14 position in the league with 13 points. Athletic have a game in hand though.

FORM

Valencia: DLDWD

Athletic Bilbao: LDWLW

SQUAD

Cheryshev has trained with the team and should be available for selection after testing negative from COVID.

Gracia estimates that Gaya should be available for next week's fixture against Barcelona and would prefer not to risk him by playing him early.

Cillissen's expected recovery data is well in the new year, meaning that the club could be on the market for another keeper.


FIRST HALF

24' - Racic with a shot from range that deflects off the post
25' - Penalty awarded to Valencia! Maxi Gomez was fouled by Dani Garcia in the penalty box. His initial shot was blocked by the defender and he was fouled on his second attempt
26' - Goal for Valencia! 1-0! Carlos Soler converts the penalty.
31' - Yellow card shown to Mikel Vesga for tripping Carlos Soler
36' - Yellow card shown to Maxi Gomez for pushing Inigo Martinez
45' - One minute of stoppage time is added by the referee

SECOND HALF

46' - First substitution by Bilbao. Mikel Vesga is replaced by Unai Lopez
55' - Goal for Athletic Bilbao. 1-1. Musah's clearance falls right to Yuri Berchiche, who plays a one-two with the nearby player, before putting in a low cross that Asier Villalibre converts at the near post.
60' - Valencia's first change of the game, Musah is replaced by Manu Vallejo
61' - Yellow card shown to Dani Garcia for tripping Manu Vallejo
67' - Second substitution for Athletic Club as Ander Capa is replaced by Oscar de Marcos
71' - Double change for Valencia. Wass and Guedes are off,  Correia and Jason are on.
73' - Yellow card shown to Unai Lopez for a strong challenge on Jason
77' - Third change for Bilbao. Asier Villalibre off, Raul Garcia on.
78' - Poor challenge by Racic, gives Bilbao a penalty. Munain was running along the goal line and there was plenty of cover in the box, the challenge wasn't good enough and missing the ball entirely.
79' - Goal for Athletic Bilbao. Raul Garcia converts the penalty. Jaume got a leg to the ball but couldn't keep it out and is deflected into the roof of the net. 1-2.
82' - Yellow card shown to Yeray Alvarez for tripping Maxi Gomez
83' - Goal for Valencia! 2-2! Carlos Soler's free kick delivery was dealt with poorly by the keeper who had attempted to punch it away but missed. The ball fell to Manu Vallejo who had headed it into the goal.
84' - Final change for Bilbao. Iker Muniain is replaced by Unai Nunez.
85' - Yellow card shown to Berenguer for tacking Correia
90' - Yellow card shown to Jason for pulling down Unai Lopez. Five minutes of stoppage time added by the referee.
90+4' - Yellow card shown to Raul Garcia for a push on Carlos Soler

FULL-TIME

Full-time stats. 11-13 shots, 2-5 shots on target. 39-61 %possession, 67-78% pass accuracy.

Next game for Valencia will be on the 16th of December away against Terrassa in the Copa del Rey.


Friday, December 4, 2020

Yunus Musah renews, Copa del Rey time confirmed

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


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

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


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

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Official: Kondogbia sold to Atletico Madrid

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

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

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


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

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

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


Monday, October 5, 2020

Transfer Market Closes: Disaster for Valencia

The transfer market has officially closed and it can only be summed up as an absolute failure for Valencia.

Upon Javi Gracia's signing for the club, he was made aware of the plans to cut down on expenses which meant finding other destinations for players with significant salaries, as well as those whose sales can fetch a good price. He was also promised that this was a necessary action but (cheaper) signings will be made to fill the gap and reinforce the squad. Javi Gracia evaluated the team and thought he needed around 5 signings, 3 certain - a central defender, a central defensive midfielder and a right-back, and 2 conditional - a goalkeeper (if Cillissen leaves) and a forward (if Gameiro leaves). 

Murthy had made public that there was a lack of liquidity at the club and that sales had to made to balance the budget, especially with COVID's impact on ticket sales and revenue. What was also made public was a "blacklist" of players that Valencia was willing to offload in the transfer market. With these two pieces of news, other clubs knew it was a bargain sale at Valencia.

Garay had already left as the club didn't renew his contract in the previous season. Ferran left to Manchester City for 25 million euros plus bonuses. Parejo went to Villareal free of charge while Coquelin followed to the same destination for 12 million euros. Rodrigo would return to the Premier League with Leeds for a 30 million euro fee. These were core players for the team in previous season. Additionally, Jaume Costa returned to Villareal, Piccini was loaned to Atalanta and Florenzi wasn't renewed. 

Arriving to Valencia were players returning from there loans like Racic, Jason Remeseiro, and Toni Lato. To cope with the shortage of players, Javi Gracia gave Guillamon, Yunus Musah, Alex Blanco and Esquerdo game time with the first team. 

After three weeks in charge and slightly before the first game of the season against Levante, Gracia made his thoughts clear in the press conference that he was losing confidence in the managements ability to deliver quality signings, if any. This drew some anger from Anil Murthy who reportedly stormed out of a meeting between the two of them. The communication between the two, at least with regards to transfers, stopped completely after that. Javi Gracia took the word of the management and refused to comment further in press conferences.

 A few rounds into the new season and the weaknesses as well as the lack of depth in the squad become evident. Even in games that the team would walk away with a positive result, the team looked vulnerable. 

Recently, even the Mestalla B team had transfers out of the club. Javi Jimenez was loaned at the beginning of the window to Albacete. This last week Alex Carbonell was let go on a free transfer to FC Luzern with percentage reserved on future sales. Alex Centelles, free transfer, to Almeria also with a percentage reserved on future sale. It looks likely that Esquerdo will also be on the way out, with Almeria the most likely destination.

A lot of fans figured that, similar to previous years, transfers would likely come at the very last few days of the window. They watched as the club failed to secure player after player with which they have been linked. 

Now that the transfer market has closed, Javi Gracia got nothing. He was lied to, left in the cold, abandoned, betrayed, deceived. It seemed like he as figured as much from his demeanor.

Now, Plazadeportiva reports that Gracia has requested a meeting with Murthy and is seriously considering resignation. Previous coach Prandelli had the patience to wait 3 months for the club to get its act together, Gracia is fed up already.

Friday, October 2, 2020

La Liga Matchday #5: Valencia CF 0 - 2 Real Betis SAD Match Thread

Let's go over some news as the team prepare for matchday 5.

In the pre-match press conference, Javi Gracia stated that there has been no communication from management about transfer activity but as long as the window is still open he will remain hopeful. It is strange why they feel like they have to be so secretive about these operations, if there are indeed any. It will be interesting to see what happens if the promise is not kept and Gracia doesn't get any player or gets sub-par players. This has happened before with Prandelli who was quick to leave after the promises made to him were broken.

Despite the secrecy from management, the papers continue to speculate over which players will arrive. Additionally, despite the suggestion from Gracia before the previous match that he doesn't think more players will leave, the rumors continue about which player is on their way out next. Gracia did leave it open-ended by stating that anything can happen.

Diakhaby was reported to have interest from clubs in the Premier League and Ligue 1. It seems like an asking price of around 20 million euros was given by Valencia. Meanwhile, the club is listening to offers for Mangala and Cheryshev. There are also several questions surrounding Cillissen and Gameiro's destinations. 

As for signings, it seems this week's most talked about targets for Valencia are Juventus's Rugani, Lyon's Joachim Anderson and Porto's Diogo Leite. Today, there wer ereports that Rugani seems to be on his way to Rennes on loan. Valencia missed out on another target in Borja Mayoral these past few days, as he is set to join Rome.

Alex Carbonell from the quarry has been transferred to second division side Lucerna with Valencia reserving a percentage of a future sale.

Jordi Escobar appears to be on his way to AC Milan.

Alex Centelles has been allowed to leave, with Almeria looking like the most likely destination. It looks like Valencia will also claim a stake in a future transfer free.

PREVIEW

Valencia come into this game having secured an unexpected 0-1 away win against Real Sociedad. After a poor display against Huesca in the previous match, many fans thought Real Sociedad would be too much to handle. However, Valencia would hold their own against the home team and kept them at bay. Changes in the second half from Gracia had an instant impact as Gaya set up Maxi's goal with a great cross. Sociedad would grab a goal in the 5th minute of stoppage time, only for VAR to overturn the goal due to handball; a rare benefit for Valencia.

Real Betis's last match didn't go their way as they succumbed to a 3-0 away loss to Getafe. The home team grabbed three goals, all in the first half. The first a scissor kick from Angel Rodriguez, the shot from the edge of the box by Cucurella and third a standard counter-attack finished by Angel Rodriguez for this brace. Betis had around 70% of the possession during that game and still couldn't grab a single goal. A red card in the 83rd minute took away any chance at consolation.

Valencia currently sit 2nd in the league with 7 points. Real Betis are 7th with 6 points.

FORM

Valencia: WDLW
Real Betis: LLWW

SQUAD

The big news for this game, is the return of Carlos Soler to the selection. He has been out for a while, recovering from COVID. He can offer something different to the Valencia midfield if he is played there. It still remains to be seen what position he will occupy under Gracia.

Injury list: Paulista, Mangala, Cheryshev


FIRST HALF

1' - Yellow card shown to Marc Bartra for a heavy challenge from behind on Maxi Gomez
8' - Guedes puts the ball in the back of the net after a Valencia counterattack but the goal is overturned due to offside. Gameiro had headed the ball over Real Betis's high defensive line to put Gomez through onto goal. He squared the ball for Guedes who had no trouble finishing from that position. 
10' - Real Betis give the ball away in their own half. Gameiro claims possession, sends a pass wide to Guedes who then finds Wass at the edge of the box. Wass gets a shot and hits the target which the keeper spills but no Valencia player is around to take advantage.
12' - Yellow card shown to Guedes for tugging on the shirt of Emerson
19' - Goal for Real Betis. Sergio Canales was set up at the edge of the box after some build-up play for Betis. He takes a touch to set up the shot and it deflects off of Jason and into the back of the net.
22' - Jaume denies Betis from a second goal with a save at point-blank range from Sanabria's header. He had managed to get just ahead of Guillamon to make contact with the cross.
38' - Jaume saves another shot, this time from Fekir, the ball is sent back into play but the defense clears.
40' - Guedes beats his defender on the flank and cuts into an inside position, beating another on the way. He threads the ball through the defense for Maxi Gomez who has a tight angle against him. The shot is hit directly at the keeper who saves easily.
45' - Yellow card shown to Guillamon for tugging on Sanabria's shirt. 

HALF-TIME

Another poor first half to add to the the collection this season. Real Betis were allowed to control the game while Valencia did not look like a team playing at home.

Valencia went down due to a fortunate deflection from Sergio Canales's shot. The build-up play to that goal was more telling though as the entire Valencia defense and midfield's attention was occupied by two Betis players. Despite being surrounded, they managed to get their passes off, eventually finding Canales with some space.

Valencia did not respond after that goal. Betis always looked more likely to score after that. with Jaume being called to make more saves to maintain the scoreline. Musah, Kang In and Alex Blanco were seen warming up soon after the goal which could an indication of half-time changes.

Guedes did set up a decent change when he beat two players and picked out Maxi Gomez, but the angle was too tight to produce a goal. 

Half-time stats. 2-7 shots, 2-3 shots on target, 45-55% possession, 81-84% possession.

SECOND HALF

51' - Tello gets a free run on the left flank chased by Diakhaby. Tello crosses and finds Fekir but he scuffs the shot completely. Valencia are fortunate to not concede there.
53' - Yellow card is shown to Canales for taking down Wass after he got away from him.
55' - Double substitution for Valencia. Jason and Guedes are replaced by Kang In and Alex Blanco.
61' - Fekir's free kick takes a deflection as it hits the wall and Jaume has to adjust and stretch to reach it to deny the shot. Great save. Replay shows that it was probably going wide regardless but better safe than sorry.
64' - Tello picks out Canales in the penalty area. Canales takes a powerful shot on goal which Jaume pushes over the crossbar. Increasing pressure on the Valencia goal and a response is still lacking.
74' - Goal for Betis. 0-2. Joaquin sprinted from midfield and through several Valencia players on the way. With all the attention drawn on him, he lays off the ball to Tello in total space. He takes the shot on goal and another deflection, this time from Diakhaby, takes the ball past Jaume.
80' - First change for Real Betis. William Carvalho replaces Joaquin.
81' - Valencia with another double change. Soler and Vallejo come on for Kondogbia and Gameiro.
86' - Second change for Betis. Borja Iglesias on, Pablo Sanabria off.
90' - Two minutes of time added by the referee for stoppages. 
90+2' - Final set of changes for Betis. Fekir is replaced by Guardado while Tello is replaced by Juanmi

FULL-TIME

The worst performance of the season so far. Valencia hardly looked like they were going to score while Betis had chance after change. If it wasn't for Jaume, the scoreline would certainly be much worse.

The second goal was embarrassing to conceded. Jooquin single-handedly carried the ball through from midfield to the penalty area and not a single Valencia player could stop him. A player at the final stages of his career showed more determination and hunger than what the Valencia players showed today. 

While both goals for Betis were scored as a result of deflections, the build-up to the goals exposed huge flaws in the Valencia system that allowed the goals to happen.

Jaume was perhaps the only positive to take away from the game as he attempted to keep Valencia in the game as long as possible. 

Full-time stats. 5-17 shots, 2-8 shots on target, 46-54% possession, 80-83% pass accuracy.

The transfer market closes in two days - October 5th. Gracia needs players and it is unknown what his response would be if he is left without any.

International break will begin after this. As such, next game for Valencia is on the 18th of October against rivals Villareal. This should give some time for Gracia to reorganize and prepare.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Valencia's transfer issues

We are now 2 weeks away from the end of La Liga's transfer window. Given Valencia's financial situation, little was expected but, with 5 key players departing, some movement was expected well before the season started.

How did we get here? The lack of European football is a factor. Even Europa league would have given us some 15 million to spend on transfers. A key issue people have missed is the Cillessen situation. The club were clearly banking on him leaving and for a reasonable transfer fee. (20 million?) His injury means it's very questionable if he should leave. He was rubbish pre-Covid and then found his groove after that. But besides, what a lot of people miss is that the financial problem goes back further than that. 

With money still owed for the transfers of Zaza, Guedes, Kondogbia etc, Valencia were short nearly 30 million in the 2018-19 accounts. The obvious way to solve that would have been to sell a player like Rodrigo. Instead, the club took a more creative approach, doing a financial fiddle with Barcelona. The latter had a surplus for that season due to still getting money from the Neymar move but needed cash to fund Greizmann's arrival.

The solution? 

At Barcelona, Cillessen was fed up being a useless bench warmer and wanted regular playing time.

At Valencia, Neto was fed up having regular playing time and wanted to be a useless bench warmer.

So Neto moved to Barcelona for 28 million with the transfer effective in the 2018-19 season. Cillessen moved to Valencia for 35 million with the transfer effective in the 2019-20 season. 

That's important because effectively it meant Valencia "kicked the can down the road" (=delayed the problem to a later date.) We all applauded that at the time, allowing us to keep key players, but it caused probably more good than bad, as it added 35 million of problems this summer.

Where do we stand position by position now?

At goalkeeper, Cillessen look decent if we can keep him. Jaume has always looked a solid number 2. If the club wants to dispose of the first and rely on the second, our problems will only worsen. Jaume is not a top four keeper.

Left back is one of the only positions that looks solid. Gaya is one of our few remaining world class players. Lato and Centelles offer great cover. Lato has been linked recently with an exit, with Espanyol rumoured to be interested, but if he stays that would be one of the last three positions to cover.

Central defence is a fiasco. Paulista looks the only solid option. Guillamon looked good in the limited games he played but we need more time to judge him. Diakhaby must be doing something right to earn the coach's trust. Mangala has no one's trust. At least one experienced body is needed here.

Right back looks shaky. By common consent, after looking way out of his depth pre-Covid, Thierry might have something to offer, but it's still a maybe as he's only played around 180 minutes post-Covid competitively. Wass looks very shaky at right back and looks better in midfield. A new body is needed here.

Left wing looks more or less covered. Guedes continues to be an expensive bust, but Cheryshev (if he doesn't leave), Kang-In, Soler, Vallejo etc can cover that.

Central midfield has been significantly weakened. I miss Coquelin as much as Parejo. The failure to land Herrera is an indictment of the club's "act first, think later" planning. Esquerdo is not a player I'd give up on, but I'd like him to be brought in gradually. Kondogbia, let's face it, will get injured for a month or two sooner or later. Soler seems to play wide. Racic looked good but again, it's early days (let's remember that players like Orellana and Sobrino etc had blinding debuts for us: Sobrino scored and assited in his first game) so we need an extra body at least.

Right wing has seen a great debut by Musah but a young player like that does not yet have the stamina. With Soler there and Wass possible an extra addition would be good but is not a priority. EDIT: As pointed out in the comments, Jason is also an option here.

Up front, Maxi has been good so far. Kang-In and Vallejo had very good starts. Gameiro is still to play, is injury prone, and may leave. Depending on his wage and offers, I'd probably keep him, not because I think he's great but because I doubt we get any improvement in the market and Gameiro is a decent sub option. Sobrino is as useless as tits on a boar and even with the shortness of bodies I'd move him on.

So, overall positions to reinforce in order are:

Central defence

Central midfield

Right back

Right wing

Forward.

Will we get anyone? A big worry for me is that clearly, like Prandelli before him, Gracia was promised a certain number of reinforcements only to find the club has lied to him. It's spectacularly stupid since we're running out of people stupid enough to take the job and it will only decline as our league positions decline. All these managers talk to each other and if they do end up pushing Gracia out, the people they interview will naturally turn to him for advice only to be given the truth: Meriton are not to be trusted.

For me, 2 or 3 good and experienced replacements could give us a shot at European places (6th is needed for Europa league if the cup winner is in the top 5 and 7th gets us the new UEFA Conference league.) No replacements means we're looking at 10th to 12th and losing our young talents. I'd like to be confident but these guys have let us down so many times that my confidence is shot. 







Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Official: Cristiano Piccini loaned to Atalanta

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Official: Javi Jimenez loaned to Albacete Balompié

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


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

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Official: Dani Parejo signs for Villareal

 Villareal and Valencia have both officially announced the transfer of Dani Parejo to Villareal. This is the second transfer in a row to Villareal with Coquelin's signing announced earlier.

Parejo's contract with Valencia has been rescinded and as such goes to Villareal on a free transfer. The deal will see him play for Villareal for the next three years.

Parejo has been a player that has often divided fans during his 9 years at Valencia. Many point to his contribution from midfield in build-up play as well as goals, scoring 65 goals in 381 games. Commentators and pundits often refer to him as the key player or main man at Valencia before any European games. He helped guide Valencia to their their first trophy in over a decade, with the Copa del Rey victory last season. He also earned himself a short spell with the Spanish National team as a result of his performances.

On the other side, many talk about his inconsistency when discussing his negatives. This has certainly become more prevalent towards the latter half of his time at Valencia. With recent drops in Valencia performance, he would get his fair share of the blame for being nonchalant, slowing down play too much or, even more recently, for squad conflict. His loyalty to the previous coach, Marcelino, has been a big part of that conflict since he made it clear that he disagreed with the decision to sack him. 

A free transfer is outrageous by any stretch of the imagination, especially for a player with 2 years left on his contract, the captain of the club, a central piece in the team and someone who is a capped Spanish International player. 

Regardless of which opinion people hold, his positive contributions to the team are undeniable. At his best, he provided much needed control and level-headedness in midfield. He also deserves a lot of credit for persevering with the club all this time even under constant criticism and blame. He could've left much earlier with offers from Sevilla and Atletico Madrid being reported but ultimately stayed to help the team.

Good luck to Parejo on this new chapter of his career and beyond!

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Ferran Torres joins Man City

Well, the news was made official 1 hour ago. The first departure of what could be a long and depressing transfer window. 



Ferran Torres has joined Manchester City. Few eyebrows will be raised at that, as it's only been a matter of time, however the transfer fee for one of the club's biggest talents in years is gutting: 23 million euros, with a paltry 5 million more possible in bonuses. With a year left on his contract and him refusing to negotiate, the club had very little wiggle room. Hopes of a bidding war didn't materialise, with only Manchester City in for him in the end. 

For that pittance, I'd almost have been tempted to keep him and just let him go for free next summer, there's very little we'd be able to buy with 23 million.



Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Guillamon renews until 2023

Finally, after the doom and gloom of late, we have some very good news, first mentioned in the comments by our contributor Kuku.

Hugo Guillamon has signed a 3-year contract extension, until 30 June 2023.


His release clause is set at 80 million euros. Guillamon, of course, broke into the first team after the restart in a position where Valencia were badly in need of players with Garay leaving and Mangala and Diakhaby proving error-prone. It's a much needed boost to the back line, as he was out of contract and Villarreal were reported to be interested.

Meanwhile, the search for the new coach rumbles on. After the resignation of the previous sporting director, chief scout Miguel Angel Corona is now taking a more prominent role. A rumour on Twitter (here) is that he has proposed the options of Bordalas and Javi Gracia to Lim, with Ruben Baraja as a plan C. Mendes, in contrast, has proposed the options of Laurent Blanc and Leonardo Jardim. Of those, I'd probably go for Jardim, as he has good international experience, has worked well with young players and generally favours a more attacking style.

However, the way of doing it just shows the problems with the club. Why is Lim taking such a prominent role at all? Has he consistently demonstrated his footballing acumen? Obviously not. On the contrary, it seems that what he knows about football management could be written on the back of a postage stamp. In other clubs there would be a competent sporting director who makes this choice and then the owner simply rubber stamps it. Of course, Valencia being Valencia, we don't even have a sporting director. The involvement of Mendes is also worrisome. While Jardim interests me, there would be the suspicion that he would just be Mendes' inside man, so that Mendes could use the club as a shop window for his prospects, most of whom seem to come from his c-list rather than his top table. It is expected that the new manager will be appointed by next week, possibly Monday, as the club will return to training on 10 August.



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.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Official: Valencia CF loan Alessandro Florenzi from AS Roma

Valencia have officially announced the loan of Alessandro Florenzi from AS Roma. This is Valencia's first arrival in the winter transfer market which closes tomorrow (January 31st).


The loan deal does not include a purchase option as was the case with loan deals in recent times for Valencia. The player will return to AS Roma at the end of the season (June 30th, 2020).

This signing leaves Valencia with 4 right-backs in the team - Florenzi, Correia, Piccini and Wass. Piccini is currently in the last phase of recovering from his long term injury and should be back one or two weeks into February. Wass provided versatility and adapted from his midfield role into the right-back role as a response to that injury and the lack of an alternative. Correia was signed to ease and grow into this role and eventually take over in the future but has so far not impressed.

Moving forward, it is expected that Florenzi will be the main starter for this role, at least until Piccini returns and Celades can evaluate them both to meet the needs of the team. Celades has not had the opportunity to work with Piccini prior to this due to the injury. Some will points out that Piccini did not perform before his injury but it remains to be seen if the new coach can get something out of him. This also means that Wass will hardly feature as right-back once Piccini returns. Instead, he will probably return to the midfield role as a replacement for Parejo. As for Correia, it was reported that the club has been actively seeking to find an outlet for him and has assigned Mendes to the case but they are having difficulty finding any demand, which is quite concerning quite frankly.

Florenzi has already started training with the team but will likely not be ready to play this Saturday's La Liga fixture against Celta Vigo.