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

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Parejo's contract with Valencia has been rescinded and as such goes to Villareal on a free transfer.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.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Valencia's mid-term report

There's one game left until the first round of fixtures has been played so now is a good time to look at where the team is at, through player ratings.

The season had a turbulent start, overshadowed by limited activity in the transfer market as a result of the ongoing internal feud. The team then started in the worst possible way. Missing a 92nd minute penalty at home to Sociedad which would have given a two-goal cushion, then conceding a 98th minute penalty to throw away 2 points. After a defeat in game two, a dour 2-0 win over Mallorca was achieved which proved to be Marcelino's swansong. Celades had his doubters and they seemed to be proved right when the team went down 2-5 to Barcelona in his first game. Results since that, however, have improved and the team is in a good, but not excellent position, with a tough fight against teams like Sevilla, Sociedad, Bilbao and Getafe to repeat 4th place. The big achievement so far has been reaching the last 16 of the champions league for the first time in 7 years.

So, here are the manager and player ratings and comments, 6 was the default score.

CILLESSEN 6 - arrived in a swap for Neto with most of us seeing him as a minor improvement. So far he's been no better. There have been a number of quality saves, but also real gaffes, against Barcelona and Levante for example. Mixed evidence. Jury is still out.

JAUME 6 - has proved as always to be a capable back-up but 6 goals conceded in his first two games and suspicions about his weaknesses in the air and at set pieces prevent him from getting a higher rating.

WASS 6.5 - has mostly played at right back, where he started his career. Hasn't excelled there but his experience and versatility have proved useful for the team. A well taken chance against Granada and a somewhat lucky equaliser against Chelsea have been his highs.

PICCINI  (N/R = no rating) was never that amazing, but is missed as a squad player. 

THIERRY 1.5 - when some of us complained about the coaching change, it wasn't out of love for the previous manager's style of football. It was because we saw the bigger picture: more meddling by Lim and Mendes was sure to happen and that rarely goes well. This season's exhibit A for the prosecution is this guy. 12 million splashed out for a player with only a handful of club games. Predictably, it hasn't gone well and all his three appearances have seen the team concede three goals (Ajax, Getafe and Osasuna.) A loan looks inevitable. Him playing a key role at Valencia in the future doesn't.

MANGALA (N/R = no rating) bringing him back was another clear Mendesism. In fairness, he did well against Betis, but that was cancelled out with an iffy display against Villarreal.

GARAY 5 - this very well could be his last season and he looks a fading force to me, so replacing him wouldn't be the worst thing.

PAULISTA 7.5 - has really done well this season, looking a solid defender, but needs to curb his temper, with the sending off against Ajax a clear example.

DIAKHABY 6 - gets criticism from the fans, but is a solid third choice at the back and proved vs Chelsea that he can double as defensive midfielder too. Still needs more experience, as his nadir vs Lille proved.

GAYA 6.5 - has generally had a decent season so far, while not hitting the heights of previous seasons, especially in attack.

COSTA 5 - with Lato pushing for more game time (which he hasn't got) Costa returned as the replacement to scepticism. He's done okay so far, without being amazing. It's noticeable when he's playing on the right that teams target that side.

FERRAN 8.5 - is enjoying his breakout season with high level performances. Ended the year with 3 goals and 3 assists from the final 8 games. The big question: can the club renew his contract, which expires summer 2021?

SOLER 6 - unlike Ferran, his breakout hasn't quite happened and a 2-month injury layoff didn't help. A valuable player, but can he realise his early potential in 2020?

ESQUERDO N/R - somewhat fortunate to make the first team due to the incessant injuries. Haven't seen anything so far to suggest he'll be more than a bit player at Valencia.

PAREJO 7.5 - remains the engine room of Valencia, how he manages to hold on to the ball is a thing of wonder and still scares opposition keepers from free kicks. Just ask Oblak. Now, if only he could score penalties in the Champions league.

COQUELIN 7 - brought in as a back-up, has established himself as probably main choice after Dani with solid performances. Just lacks the box to box abilities of the next guy...

KONDOGBIA 4.5 - after an excellent debut season when he rivalled Guedes for player of the season, he has been a let down, with constant injuries and the feeling that he's only playing at 50%. Like Guedes, fans will hope to see a return to his best next year. Speaking of which....

GUEDES 3 - Oh Goncalo, where art thou? If you were to summarise a Guedes season at Valencia, it would be: 2.5 months where he's on fire and looks like Ronaldo reborn. 3 months injured. 3.5 months mediocre, where he runs into dead ends, loses the ball or falls over and gets dispossessed easily. So far this season, we've just seen the injury and mediocrity. For 40 million, more was expected than half a great season out of 2.5 seasons. His return to playing is said to be the end of this month. When he does come back, he really needs to step up, otherwise he'll go down as yet another expensive flop of the Lim era in the mould of Abdennour, Enzo, Negredo etc.

CHERYSHEV 6 - a good player when he's not injured. That's the problem, isn't it? He seems to spend half the season on the sidelines with injuries, which is a shame, because as he showed with the goals and performances at Bilbao and Lille, he's a useful player when fit.

KANG-IN 5.5 - like Ferran, it was hoped that this would be his season. Just hasn't happened and not only due to injury. He got a good goal against Getafe, but needs more regular playing time, which would probably come through a loan.

VALLEJO 6 - though mostly limited to sub appearances so far, has proved a handy player, with an ability to dribble at defenders. Question is similar to Kang-In, how can he get the game time necessary to improve?

SOBRINO 4 - the coaching change provided him with a second opportunity which he hasn't taken, good goal against Sevilla notwithstanding. Just doesn't look to have the level for Valencia.

RODRIGO 6.5 - forever a player who divides and polarises the Valencia fanbase. Supporters point to his link-up play and assists, which he's currently joint top of La Liga for. Critics lambast him for his lack of goals: just four in 21 games. Needs to seriously improve the latter, though we say that every season.

MAXI 6.5 - has been a good addition so far, offering something different to the attack with strength and aerial power. Needs to sharpen up his finishing, though.

GAMEIRO 6 - a combination of the comments about Cheryshev and Rodrigo. Not a bad player when he's not injured, which happens too often and also needs to work on finishing.

CELADES 7 - has done a very good job since coming in at a difficult time. Won over the dressing room and improved some aspects of Marcelino. We no longer see players ostracised, the team are better to watch and there's some tactical flexibility. On the negative, the defence really needs to improve, the injury situation needs to be investigated and the number of penalties conceded and missed needs to be reduced. Lastly, the team could to with some coaching on avoiding conceding late goals. If he can sort out those flaws, there's no reason why he shouldn't stay coach after this season.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Close of the transfer window near

The close of the transfer window is imminent. Barring any late surprises, it's a transfer window that went past without any major departures to annoy the fans. Neto left after an apparent fall-out with Marcelino, but was replaced by Cillessen, who most of us regard as an upgrade. Santi Mina left and was replaced by Maxi Gomez, who the jury is still out on, as it's too early to say. Valencia also picked up several young players: Jorge Saenz, Salva Ruiz, Manu Vallejo and Jason, as well as making Cheryshev's loan permanent and bringing in Costa and Mangala on loan. Other departures were limited to unwanted players: Abdennour, Vezo and Murillo.

There are 3 last day movements.

Thierry Correia joins from Sporting Lisbon, covering Piccini's 5-month injury lay-off. As recently as yesterday, there had been talk that no one would join to cover, which seemed a high risk, with no natural right back there. The question mark will be about the price, with Valencia paying 12 million (with another 3m in variables possible) and giving him a 100 million release clause.


The club had tried to sign Hysaj, a more established player, but Napoli played hardball and ultimately, Valencia was unwilling to go to 20 million or beyond. Correia has done well with Portugal youth teams, but has very few club starts. Labelled as the "new Cancelo" time will tell whether he lives up to his promise or proves to be an ill-advised panic buy. Valencia has, of course, been weak at right back for some time and none of the recent holders (Barragan, Montoya, Vezo, Nacho Vidal, Cancelo or Piccini) did that well there. 12 million represents a significant gamble and it remains to be seen whether he can step up to the challenge of La Liga and UEFA CL.

Next are two departures, both slightly surprising. Jason joins Getafe on a season's loan. With Valencia weakened on the right by the injuries to Piccini and Soler, I would have expected him to stay.

Even more surprisingly and a bit ruthlessly, Salva Ruiz' return to Valencia proved short-lived. Just 9 weeks and a day after he returned, the club cancelled his contract and he joins Deportivo Corunya, with Valencia having a percentage of any future sale.

Those departures mean that three of the four young players who joined us in the summer have left, with only Manu Vallejo remaining. It all seems badly planned and a bit of a scattergun approach.

***Update*** Having failed to find a club for him during the transfer window, Valencia cancelled Alvaro Medran's contract. It would have expired next summer anyway so either way the club wasn't going to get any transfer fee for him.

Overall, no major departures, and a net spend of 56 million euros, though 35 of that comes from Cillesen's buy, with the Neto money going into last season's account. Despite that, I think most of our fans will be fairly frustrated by this window. We were strongly linked with Rafinha and Denis Suarez, both of whom have joined Celta. Other names like Mariano Diaz, Hysaj, Angel Correa and Otamendi caused interest, but ultimately came to nothing, though many will be relieved that Mendes players like Andre Silva or Radamel Falcao didn't join.

Rodrigo, as always, will remain a divisive figure. Many of our support were happy that he was leaving, and 60 million seemed a good price. Yet, even though the deal seemed to be done it didn't happen. There was always the question of who would replace him and worry about the effect on the team if he left so late in the transfer window, after the season start.

The biggest issue is that all of our rivals, both the big three and the fourth placed contenders, have strengthened, and therefore, by staying still, Valencia slips behind in relative terms. The mini-civil war that the club had in the summer seems to have had its effects and they're not good for Valencia. We can only hope that players like Correia, Maxi Gomez and Manu Vallejo do fulfil their promise.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Piccini Injured

Cristiano Piccini has suffered an injury during training, fracturing his knee cap. This is a very serious injury and will take him out of the squad for at least 4 months but some estimates saying 5 months. This is the second major injury this season with Soler also out for 3-4 months. The season has barely even started.

This injury has forced Valencia to enter the transfer market seeking a right-back to supplement the position while Piccini is injured. We have three competitions to play and one right-back is not enough for rotations. Some would argue that the right-back position should have been reinforced anyways this transfer window. Now, it will be due to an emergency circumstance.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Official: Valencia CF loan Jaume Costa from Villareal CF

Valencia CF have officially announced a loan deal for Villareal CF left-back Jaume Costa. The 31-year old will be the back-up left-back for Gaya this season. This loan deal is 1-year deal spanning until June 30, 2020.


There were some reports that Didac-Vila would be the chosen left-back, however, this seems to have fallen through with Marcelino presumed to have pushed for Jaume Costa instead. Jaume Costa started his career with the Valencia B team. He has played in Spain throughout his careers with a loan for Cadiz before joining Villareal B in 2010 and then made the jump to the first team in 2012 where he has played since.

Expecting some announcement with respect to Rodrigo soon with the player reportedly having said goodbye to the teammates and staff already.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Official: Valencia CF loan Eliaquim Mangala from Manchester City

Valencia CF just released an official statement announcing the return of Manchester City defender Eliaquim to Valencia. This will be the defender's second loan spell at Valencia having featured beside Garay in the 2016-17 season where he scored 2 goals.


The deal is a loan deal spanning 2-years, taking us to June 2021. Mangala will complete Marcelino's 4-man defense alongside Garay, Paulista and Diakhaby. This puts Javi Jiminez in a situation where he has to either agree to stay sidelined or be loaned elsewhere to get some minutes.

Mangala's contract with Manchester City was until June 2020 so this effectively means we have the option of signing the 28-year old defender for free. In addition, he has taken a pay-cut in wages to facilitate the move.

There was concern of an injury for Mangala since he struggled with it at Everton where he was loaned last season. As such, the signing was contingent on the medical check-up which Mangala has now successfully completed.

Expecting left-back Jaume Costa signing from Villareal coming up soon with deal reportedly finalized also.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Europa league draw / Jeison Murillo joins Barcelona

Valencia got Celtic in Monday's Europa league draw, with the first leg in Glasgow on 14 February and the second at Mestalla 7 days later. There are no easy teams at these stages, but that's a winnable tie.

The loan of Jeison Murillo to Barcelona was confirmed today. He joins for €2 million with a buy option of €25 million. Murillo has only played three times this season: at home to Juventus and Celta and away to Ebro. While I disagree with the many fans who seem to view him as "our best defender" I don't really understand that transfer. With Garay's constant injuries and recent injuries to Gabriel and Diakhaby, why leave ourselves short in the defensive department?

Monday, July 23, 2018

Valencia sign Piccini

Valencia have announced their fifth signing of the summer transfer window.


Right back Cristiano Piccini joins from Sporting Lisbon for a fee somewhere between 7 million and 10 million euros (sources are unclear.) After starting his career in his native Italy, Piccini moved to Betis, where he spent 3 seasons, before joining Sporting last season, where he reportedly had a decent season.

It's no secret that the right back spot has been the one that Marcelino has been the most dissatisfied with this season, with Vidal dropped early on and Montoya only getting half the games with Vezo filling in most of the time. Valencia were interested in people like Meunier, Hateboer of Atalanta and Darmian of Manchester Utd, but all of them proved to be too expensive.

The reasons for going for Piccini seem clear enough. He's of the right age (will be 26 in September) has La Liga and Champions league experience and brings height to the team. Marcelino has been concerned that the club has been conceding goals from aerial balls from set pieces, while our defenders have offered little threat in the air from set pieces (Vezo scored the only such goal last season in the Copa.) Piccini, like Diakhaby, will add that height needed.

With his signing, it looks like Montoya will follow Vidal out the door. Negotiations are rumoured to be underway with Betis, with them offering 5 or 6 million and Valencia wanting 10m. If Montoya goes, then Piccini will be the main right back. It remains to be seen if another one will be signed. If not, Vezo, Paulista and Wass would be cover there.

We will see how this works out. My only thing with it is that if it is 10 million, we could've got a better price, especially by part-exchanging Nani, who went the other way. Still, it's good to see more movement this transfer window. Last year, by 10 August, the club had only signed Neto and Maksimovic. I guess at least 40 million to come from the Champions league helps speed things up.

Other transfer news is that Kangin Lee has signed a new contract, with his release clause being bumped up to 80 million in line with Alemany's strategy of protecting our promising youth players from vultures like FC Tourist of Catalonia or the premier league. Unfortunately, it didn't work with another youngster, Ferhat Cogalan. He refused the club's offer and has chosen to sign for Lille, with Valencia getting 150,000 for developing him.

No other news, just rumours.... the most likely is that Gameiro is still said to be coming. The club is still working to get Guedes, which may be on loan again. Possible interest in Andre Gomes returning, while Barcelona still maybe interested in Parejo. Lastly, with lots of defenders here now, Javi Jimenez may go out on loan to gain experience.

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:

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

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:

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

***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.

Mentions:

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.

Mentions:

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.

Mentions:

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.

Mentions:

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 

Mentions: 

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?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The value of Valencia's players

Superdeporte today had an article on the increase in value of Valencia's players. Unhelpfully, the source material it's based on is only available in the print edition. Interested, I had a look through the two main sources. The CIES football observatory and Transfermarkt to get a rough idea of how much our players are worth now and produced the table below. The CIES data is slightly more recent, dating from 1 February, while Transfermarkt's is from 1 January. Values are in millions of euros.

CIES Transfermarkt
Guedes 36.3 40.0
Zaza 34.0 25.0
Soler 32.9 25.0
Rodrigo 23.0 25.0
Kondogbia 22.4 25.0
Mina 17.2 10.0
Gabriel 14.5 15.0
Parejo 14.3 18.0
Murillo 13.7 15.0
Gaya 13.4 25.0
Vietto 13.4 10.0
Pereira 11.9 7.5
Coquelin 11.7 12.0
Neto 10.8 10.0
Garay 9.4 15.0
Lato 8.0 8.0
Montoya 6.8 15.0
Maksimovic 5.9 2.0
Ferran Torres 5.2 1.0
Vezo 5.1 4.0
Vidal 3.3 2.0
Jaume Domen 2.0 2.5
LOANED
Cancelo 17.2 20.0
Nani 4.8 7.5
Medran 3.3 2.0
Bakkali 2.9 1.8
Nacho Gil 2.8 0.3
Abdennour 2.5 4.0
Orellana 1.9 2.0
Santos 1.2 3.0

In most cases, both sites more or less agree on the player values, but there are some discrepancies. I'd tend to agree more with CIES on the value of Montoya and Ferran Torres and more with Transfermarkt on the value of Zaza and Gaya. The values of Soler, Mina and Maksimovich are somewhat in between the two.

The other take away from all this is that Valencia really can't expect to get much from players already loaned out. Cancelo is the main one that the club hopes to sell, but his 32 million buy option for Inter looks too high and the 20 million value looks more reasonable. For the rest, we are basically looking at loose change in relative terms. Nani could possibly fetch more if he agreed to go somewhere like China. He's rejected that idea before, but if a club came in with a crazy salary offer, it's doable.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Vietto joins

The first official acquisition of 2018 is here. Vietto, who Valencia have been interested in for at least 4 years, finally joins, reuniting with Marcelino, with whom he enjoyed one of his most productive seasons at Villarreal. The deal is said to be for 2m on loan until the summer, with a non-compulsory buy option of between 13 and 14 million.


Since leaving Villarreal for Atletico, Vietto hasn't yet fulfilled his early promise, finding opportunities limited in Madrid, being sent on loan to Sevilla and then returning this season, where the arrival of Costa would limit him further.

His strengths include dribbling, passing and off the ball movement, all of which will be useful in a transition based counter attacking Valencia side. He could do well in link up play. He is also fine with both feet. Weaknesses would be that he isn't that great in the air and then there's the elephant in the room, he isn't that prolific a goalscorer. 

Wasting no time, he has already taken part in a training session

and there's a good possibility that we may see him feature this weekend, especially as Zaza is suspended. Sub would be my bet.

I can see that some of our fans are already complaining about this one on social media. I don't see why. The club has been following him for some time, Marcelino knows him well and, another plus, he wants to come here, turning down a more or less done deal to go to Sporting Lisbon. Sandro could have been better but Everton's hardball tactics meant that Valencia had to look elsewhere. My response, aside from asking if people will ever stop moaning, even when the team is doing well, is to wait and see. Marcelino and Simeone, two of the best managers in La Liga, rate him highly and if Marcelino can get goals out of underperforming strikers like Rodrigo and Mina, he can do the same with Vietto. Ultimately I trust Marcelino's judgement, which has served us well this season.

In brief snippets of other news, plazadeportiva report that Lazio are interested in buying Nani but want to pay less than the 10m buy option negotiated as part of his loan. Given his limited playing time there, it might simply be a case of Valencia accepting 7 or 8 million just to get him off the books.

Transfermarkt recently updated the value of Valencia's team and it makes positive reading. The overall value of the squad jumps from 181 million to nearly 300 million, overtaking Sevilla and Villarreal. In terms of individual players not on loan, Soler (predictably) and Rodrigo make the biggest jumps, going from around 7.5m to 25m with most other players rising, for example Lato from 3m to 8m. Less positively, Guedes' value this season has gone from 17m to 40m, complicating our hope of buying him.

The last piece of news is a bit like the dog in the night in the Sherlock Holmes story: the series of editorials which Meriton promised in November gloating about success explaining their position did not materialise, which for club harmony is a really good thing. The club is still in a good position to reach Champions league and that will matter more to fans than 300 editorials.





Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Valencia CF reach deal for Enzo Perez!

Valencia CF have made a statement on their website confirming that a deal has been reached with Benfica for the transfer of Enzo Perez. The deal will be made official on the 2nd of January and is dependent on the player passing a medical. All signs so far seem to point to the deal being worth 25 million euros plus some variables depending on performance. The players has already arrived in the city of Valencia!

This deal was planned in the summer and was supposed to be completed with the Andre Gomes and Rodrigo deals but Benfica kept changing their demands in order to retain their players as they felt they were losing too many star players at once. In the end, some pressuring for Enzo Perez himself and the persistance of Peter Lim made the club realize that they couldn't hold on to Perez any longer.

This also means that Valencia CF have beaten Manchester United in the competition for the player. Enzo will add some much needed experience to the Valencia CF midfield, being 28 years old he will be one of the older players in the squad, not to mention he is a 2014 World Cup finalist with Argentina.

The transfer window has yet to open (it will in 2 days on January 1st) and this could be only one of a few transactions Valencia CF makes. The arrival of Enzo, a midfield, naturally means that a midfielder has to leave, in this case most likely Zuculini. However there is also word that Felipe Augusto will be sent on loan somewhere as he has failed to impress. If both leave, then Valencia CF would need yet another midfielder. Valencia CF have reportedly already submitted a 2 million euro bid for 20 year old Ghanian Bernard Mensah who plays his football in Portugal. Other names I heard mentioned for the midfield position were Franco VĂ¡zques (Palermo), and Dennis Praet (Anderlecht) but Mensah seems to have the most credibility to it.

How will Perez fit into the team? So far I've read that Javi Fuego will be dropped to a bench role and Parejo will drop back as CDM with Enzo Perez and Gomes playing further up from him in midfield. However, many different combinations are possible and Nuno may try out different combinations since the most recent formation with two forwards - Alcacer and Negredo - has proved promising.

Thanks for reading! Let us know what you think about Enzo and what he brings to the team. What about Fuego's role in the team now? Augusto and Zuculini role? Should we get another midfielder like is currently being planned? What formation should we play and who should start? Let us know!

Amunt Valencia! Bienvenido Enzo Perez!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Filipe Augusto will play for Valencia CF on loan next season


Valencia CF are looking for a reinforcement for midfield after a move for Bruno Zuculini failed to materialize. Manchester City coach Pelligrini prefers to keep the player in England. As such, Nuno will call upon one of his players at former club Rio Ave FC, 20 year old Brazilian CM/CDM Filipe Augusto.

After the Portuguese Super Cup today, Rio Ave's President confirmed that Filipe Augusto will play for Valencia CF on loan next season. Despite being only 20 years old, Nuno has at lot of confidence in the player and believes he can give a lot to the team. When Nuno first took over, Augusto was rumored to follow and it took a while, but he will be part of Valencia CF's first team.

The details of the deal such as a purchase option or wages haven't yet been specified. But there you have it, another young player, a defensive midfielder will be Valencia's next signing. Meanwhile, the output of Banega, Jonas, Barragan, Postiga, Araujo and Viera are in progress.

Any thoughts?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Ever Banega close to leaving for pennies

According to reports in Spain, Sevilla has been negotiating with Valencia CF for Ever Banega. The plan is to takeover Ivan Rakitic's spot after his transfer to Barcelona this summer. This transfer is a request from Unai Emery who still sees some potential in the player, and hopes he can recreate the amazing form Banega had when the two previously worked together in Valencia CF. This prospect interests the player himself.

In a previous post, I wrote that the offer would be around 4.5 million dollars, now the reports are saying 2.5 million dollars and some saying he will go for free. Of course, Valencia CF don't want that since they paid about 13 million euros to buy the player. However, since Banega has one year on his contract, and Valencia CF have made him train separately from the rest of the group they have little choice remaining. Valencia CF also wants to avoid paying the 1.5 million euros for his wages this season. Sevilla is hoping to land the player for really cheap to avoid the risk associated with signing Banega. The only option to prevent it, would be to reincorporate him into the team and renew his contract but that's looking highly unlikely.

If he does go for that price, it will be really disappointing. Even worse, he is going to a rival team. What if he does manage to regain that form? Then Valencia CF would have given a sensational player to a rival team for pennies.

Any thoughts?

Lim buys Benfica youth players

Peter Lim has bought three of Benfica's best youth players for a fee of 45 million euros. With this Lim now owns 5 Benfica players, and Enzo Perez could be the sixth.

The three players bought by Lim were: Ivan Cavaleiro, Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo.

Ivan Cavaleiro is 20 years old and plays on the right side of midfield, he was immediately loaned to Deportivo La Coruna. Bernardo Silva is also 20 years old and  plays as an attacking midfielder, he was loaned to AS Monaco. Joao Cancelo, as was mentioned in a previous post, is 20 years old and plays as right-back. He remains at Benfica until Valencia CF can offload Barragan (contract expires next year and will not be renewed), and will be Joao Pereira's understudy.

All three of these players have huge potential and could be the future of the Portuguese national team, we'll have to see about that. Should Valencia CF need reinforcements in the future years, they can always be drawn upon. With this, Lim has made an investment for the future as Valencia CF have these three players as well as the Mestalla B team feeding into the first team.