Monday, September 6, 2021

Gaya and Soler brilliant for Spain

So the second round of world cup qualifications is in the final stages, with tomorrow as the last day and Valencia CF players had a predominantly good showing. 

Uros Racic did not feature unfortunately in the second match for Serbia as he was an unused sub, but even his first outing was not productive for him as Serbia had already won by 4 goals by then and in the second match against Luxemburg they also won by scoring 4 goals.

Daniel Wass was not even in the squad for Denmark in their minimal 1-0 win over Faroe Islands, I do not know if he got injured or what the issue is, but unlike the previous match in which he started and scored a goal, this time he wasn't even in the squad.

Jasper Cillessen was not called to the Holland national team, since he was dropped in the summer from the Euro 2020/21 due to Covid19 he has not been recalled to the squad.

Our Spanish guys on the other hand continue to shine on the international scene and this time both Jose Luis Gaya and Carlos Soler did fantastic for Spain with Jose Luis Gaya scoring the first goal for Spain after a blunder by Vladimer Mamuchashvili. Gaya would score another goal for Spain in the 33rd minute, but the goal was revoked by VAR after finding it to be offside. 

Carlos Soler would score the second goal for Spain in the 25th minute after a good assist by Marcos Llorente to find Soler in the penalty area. 

The big blow came in the 74th minute as Gaya was replaced due to an injury. Lets hope its nothing serious and that he will be ready for Valencia's next match.

As predicted Maxi Gomez did not feature in the second round of matches as he was an unused substitute for his team. 

Omar Alderete did feature for Uruguay though and he started and played the full match which was a 1-1 draw against Colombia. He did not feature in the previous match due to accumulated yellow cards. 

Tomorrow we only have Goncalo Guedes left and after his solid performance in the previous match it would be strange to not see him start this time for Portugal. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Soler debuts with a goal, Maxi still struggling

The initial round of world cup qualification matches is over and we have some good news thanks to Carlos Soler who managed to score on his debut match for Spain, but that goal was short lives as just a minute later Sweden would go on to equalize the score and ultimately win the match 2-1. Carlos Soler started in a midfield of three with him playing on the right side of it. He will be pleased with his debut, but with Spain losing the match its a bitter sweet debut. 

Jose Luis Gaya on the other hand did not start the match, nor did he get any minutes as later on Spain was chasing the score and were trying to equalize the match with the substitutes all being attack minded. 

Maxi Gomez started the match for Uruguay and he was on the field for 66 minutes, but was completely isolated from play and was ineffective throughout the match. This is I believe his second start back to back and he's failed to impress, which bodes bad for his future in the Uruguayan national team. 

So overall a successful round of qualifying matches for Valencia CF players in an individual manner as they played well for their national teams. Guedes, Wass, Soler all had great matches scoring goals and providing assists. Racic also featured in the 4-0 stomp for Serbia and Cheryshev was a starter for Russia. 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Guedes and Wass shine in world cup qualifiers

Goncalo Guedes and Daniel Wass shined in their world cup qualifying matches with Guedes coming on for Joao Cancelo in the 82nd minute and providing an assist for Cristiano Ronaldo in the 89th minute to equalize the score and send Portugal into extra time in which they won the match.

Daniel Wass on the other hand started the match and was substituted late in the 85th minute, he scored the first goal for his side in the 14th minute. Pierre-Emile Hoejbjerg from Denmark put in a great cross that found Daniel Wass and he headed the ball into the net to give Denmark an early lead. 

Denis Cheryshev also featured for Russia, he came on in the 70th minute as a substitute for Arsen Zakharyan on the left wing, though he couldn't help his team beat Croatia. 

Uros Racic also came on as a substitute for Maksimovic in the 63rd minute in what was a stomp over Qatar.

Today Carlos Soler and Jose Luis Gaya have a chance to play for Spain, hopefully they both start and lets hope they have a great showing for Spain

Giorgi Mamardashvili is also with the Georgian national team and there is a slight possibility he will feature today too. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The transfer window closes: Helder Costa signed on loan

 So the transfer window closed a few minutes ago. Multiple sources saying we've added Helder Costa, and that's only waiting official confirmation.

From senior players, we lost Gameiro, KangIn, Sobrino and Mangala. Of those KangIn leaving for free is the only one that stings. Mangala was far too injury prone for anyone to care. Gameiro played a key role in the run to win the Copa but was otherwise a disappointing signing. Sobrino, apart from a fantastic debut against Celtic was just taking up a squad place. The club also made efforts to move out Jason, but could not find a taker. 

From more junior players, defenders Javi Jimenez and Guillem Molina left to join third level Albacete and Sabadell respectively. Both had a similar history at Valencia: a disastrous debut in the Copa (Jimenez got owned by Iago Aspas and gave away a penalty, Molina was sent off) and little game time after. It's unlikely they'd have played much of a role with us. 

Everyone who left did so on a free transfer, it must be decades since we got absolutely no money in the transfer window?

Of course, like the dog in the night in the Sherlock Holmes story what is probably important is not what happened, but what didn't happen. The club went into the transfer window looking to move out Diakhaby, Cheryshev and Guedes, being open to offers for Maxi and with Wass also pushing for an exit. There will be disappointment that we couldn't move out Diakhaby for Djene but the others are very good news. Cheryshev has started the season well and Wass is an experienced utility player who never gets injured. 

The best news is Guedes. This year we've seen him in excellent form. In the last 16 games he's been involved in at least 12 goals: scoring 5 with 7 assists, and those don't even count the goal scored by Wass last game where Guedes was key in the build-up.

In total Valencia has added 6 players, four on loan with buy options. Mamardashvili was only supposed to play for the reserves but impressed enough that he was given a chance due to injuries and he's taken it with both gloves. Alderete already looks like a vast improvement on Mangala. 

The others are unknown as yet but include Foulquier who is a right back capable of covering right wing or left back, Marcos Andre a forward. Hugo Duro, another forward who can play on the wings, and finally Helder Costa. I saw Costa at Wolves. He did really well at the second level but struggled to make an impact in the top flight. He's mainly a right winger but can also cover left wing. In the end the squad looks something like this:

While there are some disappointments, like not getting Arambarri, I think it's been a very good transfer window, keeping key players like Wass and especially Guedes and adding more depth. Let's hope that this squad can push for Europe.

Valencia CF sign Helder Costa

In the final minutes of the transfer window Valencia CF have managed to secure the services of Leeds United winger Helder Costa on a one year loan deal. This is a Jorge Mendes player, but actually a pretty decent one I must say and he plays as a winger on both flanks. 

I don't think Valencia CF have an option to purchase the player at the end of his loan deal, but the details surrounding the deal are scarce and we'll find out more in the coming hours and days. I think this is a solid deal and a player we needed. Cheryshev has been doing quite well on the left flank for us this season, but he is very injury prone and not the most explosive player, so having another option is a great thing. He can also play on the right flank and free up Soler from there to play more centrally if there is a need.

I think Jose Bordalas is going to stay with the team he's build up from the preseason, but as things change and as there is a need incorporate some of these new arrivals into the first team. Helder Costa joins Valencia CF on a one year loan deal with no option to purchase at the end of it if initial reports are correct, but a useful deal. 

Valencia adding Hugo Duro

 Following Sobrino's exit yesterday, Valencia look to have added Hugo Duro. This is a player that our fans long joked about signing. Duro has been a meme for us since the famous Copa win over Getafe when he blocked a 92nd minute goalbound shot by his own teammate Jorge Molina, leading to a counter attack where we scored and sealed the late 3-1 win to advance us in the Copa. The excited commentary by Miguel Ángel Román "tocó en Hugo Duro...tocó en Hugo Duro!" spawned viral videos and t-shirts.

Who would have guessed that 2 and a half years later Duro would be a Valencia player under Bordalas?

The deal seems to have come after a day of counter dealings. Mendes had already agreed the loan of Leeds' Helder Costa to us, but Bordalas vetoed it. Bordalas then pushed for and seems to have got Duro instead, despite opposition from the Valencia heirarchy, using our good relations at management level with Getafe. On the one hand, it's good that he can persuade them to approve the players he wants, rather than foisting players (Cutrone...Ferro...) that the coach doesn't want and will never play. On the other hand.... disputes with management over transfers, refusing Mendes options because he wants his own guys. That's a story we've heard before and it did not end well. 

Back to Duro. His stats at first glance look unimpressive: 25 La Liga games, just one goal. Stats which make Sobrino look good. However, drilling into them, there's more to the story. Most of his appearances were as late sub, meaning he's clocked up 858 minutes, equivalent to 9 and a half games. He also played a third of that time as winger. In total, he's scored once and providing 3 assists. He spent last season on a "development loan" at Real Madrid Castilla, where he did play centre forward, scoring a rather more impressive 12 goals in 19 appearances, though that was at third level. He also made 3 late sub appearances for the first team, playing the last 15 minutes against Atalanta in the Champions League round of 16.

Overall, not excited about this, but not annoyed either. He's 21, so has time to develop. It's a loan with an option to buy of 4 million. If he turns out to be useful, we exercise the buy option, if not, nothing lost. I expect him to be a squad player providing back up to people like Guedes, Maxi, Andre and not forgetting Vallejo, who I hope we will see more of. Most importantly, for now, Bordalas has the support and confidence of the board. 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Valencia sign Foulquier

Valencia have confirmed the signing of Dimitri Foulquier, who joins from Granada on a 4-year contract for a fee of 2.5 million, which could rise by another million depending on achievements.

Granada signed Foulquier from Rennes, before selling him to Watford, where he played under Javi Gracia, but he was unable to break into the first team. His first appearance (of only two) was in an 8-0 defeat to Man City where he was subbed off after 33 minutes and he was loaned out, first to Strasbourg and then Getafe where he impressed Bordalas in a brief spell enough for the coach to request his signing for us. 

Foulquier is mainly a right back but has occasionally played at right wing and left back. Truth be told I don't 100% understand the signing, as Thierry has done enough now to convince as a solid prospect. I can only guess this is to add squad depth, as Foulquier is versatile enough and it also frees up Wass to cover central midfield, where Bordalas seems to prefer him, and where we now look unlikely to sign anyone. It's also surprising that we don't seem to have made an effort to move Piccini out.

The window closes tomorrow, the only operation which looks possible is the exit of Diakhaby and his replacement by Djene, but the latter operation would depend on the former and it doesn't look likely at this late stage.

Ruben Sobrino to join Cadiz CF

Cadiz CF want to buy Valencia CF striker Ruben Sobrino and Valencia CF want to oblige as the player isn't in Jose Bordalas plans, especially now that Valencia CF bought Marcos Andre. Ruben Sobrino is worth some 1-2 million euros, but Cadiz CF are set to want to purchase the player for half a million euros, while Valencia CF are holding out on at least a million or 30% of the players rights.

Valencia CF does want to facilitate the move at any cost though as they are trying to bring in another player in, some reports suggest that it might be Granada's defender Foulquier, while other reports suggest that Valencia CF is still looking for another striker and that Jonathan Calleri is their last target.

Valencia CF management should have planned the transfers much better, doing last minute transfers and much of the arrivals depending on how many departures we can have in the last day of the transfer season is way too chaotic. Not to mention the botched transfer of Kang-In Lee who was let for free just to make room for another foreign spot for Marcos Andre.