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Keeper arrives to challenge Cillessen
Following the departure of Jaume Doménech, Valencia have finally secured the services of a new goalkeeper to provide competition to Jasper Cillessen for the number 1 spot, as Wuilker Faríñez arrives from Millonarios. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, the 23 year old shot stopper began his career with local club Caracas, becoming the first team keeper at just 17 years old back in 2015. His first season proved to be memorable, as he was to set a record of playing minutes without conceding, going 689 minutes without being beaten.
He remained first choice the following season, earning a place in the Primera Division team of the season for his performances in the 2016 competition. The following September, he earned a moved to Colombian giants Millonarios, officially joining his new team in January 2018. His debut came at the end of the month, keeping a clean sheet in the 2018 Superliga Colombiana, with his side winning the second leg to give him his first taste of silverware. He was to make nearly 50 competitive appearances in his first year in Colombia, with another 35 in his second year, ultimately earning himself another move, this time on loan to join French Ligue 1 side Lens, who had recently won promotion from the second tier.
During his year in France, he continued to impress, keeping 10 clean sheets in 38 games with the struggling side, who ended up being relegated at the end of the season after finishing 19th. With the keeper, who also has 29 international caps to his name, keen to stay in Europe, this brought him to the attention of Valencia, who were looking for a value signing to replace the departure of long term goalkeeper Doménech, and a deal of around £1.8 million was agreed between the Spanish side and Millonarios. Already speaking the language naturally, it is hoped the new keeper will quickly settle and apply pressure on Cillessen, who has recently also seen himself dislodged as the number one for the Netherlands.
Argentinian arrives from Estudiantes
Valencia continued to boost their squad ahead of the new season as they completed another free transfer, this time the arrival of promising Argentinian Darío Sarmiento. The 18 year old attacking midfield player arrives from Estudiantes, who he initially joined way back in 2009 as a child. His senior debut came at the tender age of just 16 years old, as he was handed a start by former Barcelona defender Gabriel Milito, coming off the bench back in October 2019 in a 0-0 draw. His appearance in that game, against Huracán, made him the second youngest debutant in the clubs history, a clear indication of how highly he was rated in La Plata.
He went on to make a total of 8 appearances in his breakout season with the club, immediately attracting the attention of several big clubs across Europe. He also earned success with his country at Under 16 level, and has made progress through the youth ranks with Argentina, although a move to one of the big five leagues in Europe is bound to increase his chances of now earning full international recognition in the coming seasons. As a non-EU player, it will be interesting to see what plans the club have for him in the coming season.
Williams among those shown the door
As expected, Valencia allowed several of their fringe youngsters to leave over the summer, with a keen eye on trimming the wages and only keeping hold of those players who they feel could develop into potential first team stars in the coming years. Of the successful Under-19’s side, Lorenzo Sánchez was one of the first to depart, heading to join Segunda division side Málaga after a season which saw him score 32 times for the youngsters. Another from the record breaking Under-19 side to depart is left back Izan Llinares, who started 17 games for the club, who will now move on to join Fuenlabrada for the coming season, with the club having some real quality coming through the youth ranks at left-back, meaning the 18 year old was unlikely to ever make the breakthrough at the Mestalla.
19 year old Nacho Muñoz leaves Valencia B to sign for Zaragoza, after a campaign which saw him feature 14 times in the league, scoring once, mainly down the right hand side. Team mate Loïc Williams heads to the capital as he makes the switch to join Rayo Vallecano in the Segunda, while Julio Insa also departs, joining La Liga side Elche, who finished 14th this season, although the 19 year old attacking midfielder is likely to continue his development in their academy before making the step up to senior football.
Carlos González, another first choice for the B team last season, with 23 games and 2 goals to his name, joins former La Liga side Deportivo de La Coruña, as they look to return to top flight football following their promotion from the Segunda B as champions this year. Pablo Jiménez, who spent the second half of the season on loan with Alzira, now leaves the club permanently, making a free transfer switch to La Liga rivals Osasuna. Perhaps the most surprising departure was that of young goalkeeper Charlie Pérez, who has departed for Albacete on a free transfer. With many new faces coming in, there could potentially be a few more departures before the club finalises the three squads for the coming season.
One eye on future as club welcomes 3 youngsters
With the transfer window hotting up, La Liga runners-up Valencia clearly have a keen eye on the future as they welcomed three new young faces to the club in the past few days. Perhaps most recognizable of these is the arrival of central defender Víctor Chust, who completes a free transfer move from Real Madrid following the expiration of his contract. 21 year old centre-half Chust hails from Valencia originally, where he began his development before switching to the Spanish giants. He would go on to become a mainstay with the Castilla side, making 9 appearances his first season before then making 26 starts last season as the club finished top of their league. Despite his fine form, Real Madrid were unable to agree a new deal with the Spanish Under-19 regular, and Valencia took the opportunity to step in and bring Chust back to the club on a 4 year deal.
Several eyebrows were raised when the club also announced they had agreed deals for two 16 year olds, with the highly promising André Verlhac making the switch from France, where he was developing at Toulouse, including 6 starts at centre back for their second string in the French national league, despite his tender age. There is no doubting that Verlhac has the potential to become a fantastic ball playing defender in the future, but the deal also represents a risk given the financial outlay, though to be around £500,000 for such a young prospect.
He is joined by Portuguese wonderkid Bruno Narciso, who is also just 16 years old, and came onto the radar of the club with his development at Tondela, as well as being capped by the Portuguese Under-19 team. Most comfortable in central midfield, 16 year old Bruno already possesses great decision making, composure and technique, and again Valencia will be hoping he will develop into a first team regular in the future, at best becoming a successful first team fixture and at worst bringing some much needed future revenue to the club. It is thought the midfielder, who already speaks fluent Spanish and some English, already has a release clause of over £15 million as part of his contract with the La Liga side.
Valencia agree new kit deal
Valencia received another welcome financial boost as they agreed a new 2-year kit sponsorship deal with Agoda. The online travel agency replace bwin as the main club sponsor, having agreed a deal of around £3.7 million to take over the deal. Founded in Thailand back in 2003, Agoda are now based in Singapore, home of club chairman Peter Lim, and although the chairman would still welcome a deal to sell the club, it his thought his close links to the global travel company enabled a deal to be agreed. The new sponsor means the club will also be wearing new style kits for the coming season, albeit the colour schemes will remain similar to those worn this past campaign, where the club enjoyed one of their most successful campaigns of recent years, finishing runners’ up in La Liga as well as collecting both the Copa Del Rey and Super Copa during a fine campaign under the leadership of rookie manager Sie Barlow. The club will be hoping that the additional funding will help the development, both on and off the pitch, with rumours of a takeover once again subsiding after some speculation at the back end of the season.
Apologies for not posting for a few days, I, like many, have become a little disillusioned with football at the moment. Hope to get my “mojo” back, and will hopefully post a bit more content later today to get back up to speed. Thanks for reading, hope everyone is still enjoying it (despite us faltering at the last and having to do some real shoestring wheeler-dealing in the summer)
The kits in the latest article are courtesy of the phenomenal Request A Kit. Be sure to check him out on Twitter, fantastic person and supremely talented, with some epic kit designs for your saves.
Apologies for not posting for a few days, I, like many, have become a little disillusioned with football at the moment. Hope to get my “mojo” back, and will hopefully post a bit more content later today to get back up to speed. Thanks for reading, hope everyone is still enjoying it (despite us faltering at the last and having to do some real shoestring wheeler-dealing in the summer) The kits in the latest article are courtesy of the phenomenal Request A Kit. Be sure to check him out on Twitter, fantastic person and supremely talented, with some epic kit designs for your saves.
Takeover talks hot up again
Just days after the re-opening of the transfer window, Valencia once again found themselves under a self-imposed transfer embargo as takeover interest once again increases in the Spanish side. The La Liga club, who finished 2nd only to Real Madrid last season, fortunately already had several deals in place to strengthen the squad that lost out in the final few rounds of the competition last season, with Loren, Otávio and Wuilker Faríñez among those already welcomed to the club. This latest embargo, however, has meant that the club are currently restricted in being able to move players on, as well as being able to make any further editions at present.
One rumoured deal, which has already been vetoed, was a potential move by Athletic Bilbao for promising young keeper Andrés Céspedes, although whether Valencia would have entertained a deal having already allowed 2 goalkeepers to depart during this transfer window remains to be seen. A potential loan move to continue the development of striker Andrés García has also been shelved for the time being, with Osasuna and Eibar left frustrated as they looked to bring in the 18 year old attacker for the coming season.
The latest takeover talks are set to centre around 2 rival consortiums, looking to relieve ownership from controversial businessman Peter Lim. One, headed by Michel Mallet, have already stated they would look to install a new manager at the helm were they to prove successful, which would be a massive blow to many Valencia fans after enjoying their most successful season in recent times, although there would be some relief that the club could once again find some financial stability under new owners. The second consortium is backed by Swedish businessman Peter Svensson, and his Portuguese colleague Sérgio Vieira de Nóbrega, who is a reported friend of Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, hailing from the same city in Madeira. Talks with both parties are set to continue, with Valencia in the meantime restricted to being unable to negotiate any further deals until the conclusion of the talks.
Euro 2020 (Quarter-Finals – Part One)
Friday evening saw Saint Petersburg play host, as over 60,000 people saw reigning European Champions Portugal bow out of the competition at the quarter final stage, as they fell 2-0 against the Germans, who crashed out at the semi-final stage 5 years ago. The second game, at the Allianz Arena, was a far tighter affair with a near full house seeing Russia take on France, beaten finalists on their home turf last time out.
The French were dealt a blow when they lost tireless midfielder N’Golo Kanté 34 minutes into the game, with neither side able to find a breakthrough in the first half. With the second half also heading for stalemate, Russia were then handed an injury concern of their own as they lost 31 year old Lokomotiv Moscow defensive midfielder Yury Gazinskiy. In a fiery affair, the Russians picking up 3 bookings in normal time, it was they who made the breakthrough, Monaco attacking midfielder Alexandr Golovin eventually breaking the deadlock on 101 minutes. Any hope of an easy victory were wiped out, however, when former Monaco and current Atlético Madrid winger Thomas Lemar pulled the French level just 7 minutes later.
With neither side able to add to their tally, the Munich crowd were handed a penalty shout-out to decide who would progress to the semi-final stages, with Russia stepping up first. Both sides made no mistake from the spot in the opening 3 penalties, with Lemar and Golovin among those successful from the spot, but after Kuzyaev converted for Russia, Real Betis midfielder Nabil Fekir saw his effort saved easily by Alexandr Maximenko as he opted to go straight down the middle. Zenit fullback Vyacheslav Karavaev was left to step up for the final penalty, and although French skipper Hugo Lloris went the right way, he was unable to stop the effort nestling in the corner to send the Russians through to the semi-finals, their best performance since they finished 3rd after reaching the same stage back in 2008.
Euro 2020 (Quarter-Finals – Part Two)
The Olympic Stadium in Baku played host as Scandinavian giants Sweden and Denmark faced off for a place in the European Championship semi-finals on Saturday evening. Both sides had already tasted defeat in the group stages before progressing to the quarter final stages, losing to fellow quarter finalists Portugal and Russia respectively. The game itself was a tight affair, Sweden picking up 3 bookings in the opening half hour before Denmark took the lead, Valencia wing back Daniel Wass seeing his cross inadvertently diverted into his own goal by Sweden keeper Robin Olsen. Sweden were then reduced to 10 men as Newcastle defender Filip Helander was shown a straight red for a wild challenge on Kasper Dolberg.
The lead was doubled 3 minutes after the break when Dolberg exacted his revenge, thundering home following a Christian Eriksen free kick to extend his sides lead. Sweden did manage a consolation goal just 4 minutes from time through the in-form Real Sociedad attacker Alexander Isak, but it proved to be too little too late as the Danes grabbed their 40th win over their near neighbours. The Danes, who now head to the semi-finals, failed to even qualify last time out, although they did famously lift the trophy back in 1992 in neighbouring Sweden, with current goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel’s father Peter one of the stars of the tournament.
Undoubtedly the tie of the round took place later that evening as pre-tournament favourites Spain and England faced off in the Stadio Olimpico. The Spaniards, who coming into the game boasted an inferior head to head record, took just 12 minutes to grab the lead, skipper Sergio Ramos making no mistake from the spot to give his side the advantage. 12 minutes later, England found themselves level with another defender on the scoresheet, this time Manchester United defender Harry Maguire heading home from a Jack Grealish free kick. Both sides continued to create chances after the break, but it was left to Leeds United forward Rodrigo to decide the tie, as he got up above the England back line to superbly head home from a Koke delivery just after the hour mark.
Germany will now face Russia in the semi-final at Wembley on Tuesday evening, while the same venue will also play host the following day as Spain face Denmark, with a potential repeat of the 1992 and 2008 finals still on the cards.
Vallejo moves to Ajax as takeover talks collapse
At the third time of trying, takeover talks have once again collapsed between Valencia owner Peter Lim and prospective new owners. The club had faced a transfer embargo while talks were ongoing, but with both parties now pulling out of any potential deal, this has now been lifted. Fans were hopefully that at the third time of asking, Peter Lim would eventually agree to sell the club to help alleviate some of the debt and allow the club to compete on a more even playing field financial after years of hardship, but once again it appears the Singaporean businessman is unable to agree a deal with the best interests of both the club and himself at his heart. Potential investor Michel Mallet, who had hinted at replacing popular manager Sie Barlow were he successful, echoed that he was still open to and looking into opportunities to invest in Spanish football.
The collapse of the talks was closely followed by news that the club had therefore now agreed to allow attacker Manu Vallejo to join Ajax on loan. The 24 year old Spaniard, who enjoyed a fine loan spell with fellow La Liga rivals Villarreal last season, was once again touted out in a bid to reduce the wage bill, and after showing initial interest a month ago, Ajax came back and firmed up their offer, with a 12 month loan deal for the wide man. The deal is thought to include an optional purchase fee, which can be activated at any time during the 12 month loan period in the Netherlands, while the Dutch giants will also be picking up a large part of the players wages during his time in the Eredivisie. The former Cadiz man made 22 starts during his time with Villarreal, helping himself to 11 goals in the process, although it was in the Copa Del Rey where his performances attracted more notice, firing in 8 goals in just 5 games. Villarreal had hoped to agree a permanent deal in the summer, but were unwilling to match the Valencia valuation for the player, meaning the club were left to explore other potential destinations for the 24 year old, who will be hoping to do enough during his time at the Cruyff ArenA to earn a permanent switch.
Such a shame takeover didn't happen but good you have recruited before it happened.
Definitely. Third time now. Was hoping I could bring in some of the transfer targets higher up my list, but I'm left shopping at Lidl and in debt for now. Still, love a challenge :-) Thanks for reading!
Euro 2020 (Semi-finals)
Germany made light work of Russia as they ran out 3-0 winners at Wembley on Tuesday evening. The former winners, back in 1996 at the old Wembley stadium, looked comfortable throughout although didn’t establish a lead until the 67th minute. Just 5 minutes later it was doubled, however, and the result was put beyond doubt in the 94th minute with a 3rd goal in a game in which the Germans dominated throughout. Valencia winger Denis Cheryshev was unable to prevent his side falling to defeat, coming on as a sub just after the first goal went in.
The following evening the stadium was once again full as Spain faced Denmark in the second semi-final clash, both sides having previously won the competition since 1992. Again, as with the previous evening, a cagey first half saw neither side make the breakthrough, before finally 10 minutes into the second period Spain took the lead. A deep cross from Isco was missed by Nelsson, and Atlético striker Álvaro Morata was on hand to head home from range.
In a bizarre twist of fate, the Danes found themselves 2-0 down just 8 minutes later. Having benefited from an own goal themselves in the quarter finals against Sweden, this time they were on the receiving end, and bizarrely it was a Valencia full-back again causing the problems as Spanish left-back José Gayà broke into space before delivery a superb ball towards the front post. Lyon defender Joachim Andersen tried to clear with Morata lurking, but only succeeded in slicing the ball into his own net from close range. Club colleagues Daniel Wass and Carlos Soler were both unused substitutes in the semi-final encounter.
Spain and Germany will now return to Wembley on Sunday to square off in a repeat of the 2008 final, which the Spaniards won 1-0 in Vienna thanks to a goal from Fernando Torres.
Just a quick footnote to say I've got a crazy week coming up at work. I'll still try and post daily if time allows, but just letting people know if I don't, it's not because the story is dead or any issues, just purely a case of work taking over. Normal service should definitely be resumed by the following week….
Serra heads to Eibar on loan
Valencia last night confirmed striker Janni Serra would be heading to join Segunda division Eibar on loan for the coming season. The German striker joined the Spanish side back in October 2020, making the move from Holstein Kiel for a reported fee of around £800k, but was limited to just 2 substitute appearances for the senior team, instead being used in the Mestalla squad in the Segunda B. He impressed at that level, scoring 10 times from 16 starts, leading to interest from several clubs higher up looking to secure the former Dortmund man’s services for the coming season.
Among the clubs interested, alongside La Liga sides, newly relegated Eibar, who finished 19th in La Liga last season, were keen to bring in the 23 year old striker to partner up with Kike and Enrich, the former enjoying a fine season despite relegation as he found the net 20 times in 36 games. With 31 year old Sergi Enrich transfer listed at his own request, although the club hope to keep hold of him Serra will give them more options and a ready made replacement should he depart, as they look to secure a return to La Liga at the first time of asking under former Alavés manager Asier Garitano.
Germans claim 4th title after penalty shoot-out (Euro 2020)
Germany became the most successful side in the European Championships as they claimed their fourth title (some coming under the guise of West Germany) following an epic penalty shoot-out against Spain on Sunday evening. Both sides came into the encounter at Wembley having lifted the title 3 times, with Spain having overcome final hosts England at the semi-final stage to secure their spot in the final. The pair last met in the final in 2008, in a tight encounter which was ultimately decided by a solitary goal, and it was an equally tough encounter this time out, with chances limited and neither side able to break the deadlock in normal time.
Spain were handed a great chance just 2 minutes into extra time, as they were handed a penalty, but Leeds striker Rodrigo, who broke English hearts days ago at the same stadium, this time felt his own disappointment as the penalty was well saved. Both sides continued to neutralise each other, meaning the title would ultimately be decided by penalties, the first time since 1976 when West Germany lost out to Czechoslovakia in that shoot out. Both sides scored their opening two penalties before Valencia midfielder Carlos Soler saw his effort saved. De Gea then saved the fourth German penalty to take the shoot-out all the way into sudden death.
The first four takers for both countries again duly dispatched from the spot, before Bilbao defender Iñigo Martínez dragged his effort wide. His disappointment was short lived as Germany then fired their very next penalty over the bar, offering a respite for the Spaniards once more. De Gea, hero already in the shoot-out, then stepped up and scored, before Mayoral followed suit. The tie was eventually decided when former Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio, who had recently completed a switch to Germany to join German giants Bayern Munich, saw his effort saved before Germany scored to secure the victory, having last won the title in 1996 also in England at the former Wembley Stadium.
Céspedes heading to San Sebastián
Valencia continue their summer overhaul of the squad as they agree to allow young goalkeeper Andrés Céspedes to head to Real Sociedad. The 16 year old promising goalkeeper still had 24 months to run on his existing deal with the club, but with Valencia looking to bring in some much needed revenue and free up salaries, it was felt that the move would be in the best interests of both the club and the player.
Yet to feature for the first team, Céspedes has been a part of the Spanish youth setup for the last few years, including being capper at Under-20 level, and recently featured in the Toulon tournament for his country. He was also involved with Valencia youngsters, making 11 appearances and keeping 5 clean sheets before being sent out on loan to Hospitalet for the second half of the season. During his time with the Segunda B3 side, he made a total of 15 appearances, keeping 3 clean sheets, and conceding 20 overall as the Catalonian side finished 6th in the table.
With Jaume Doménech recently leaving the club, there had been speculation that one of the younger goalkeepers would be promoted directly into the first team squad as understudy to Jasper Cillessen, with Céspedes being one of the potential benefactors. However, these rumours were quashed with the recent arrival of Wuilker Faríñez at the club, although there may still be some movements on the transfer front due to non-EU regulations in the squad, so the keeper could yet find himself loaned out initially before becoming part of the first team.
The departure of Céspedes, thought to be worth around £350,000 with add-ons, will at least help the club in their continual battle to balance the books, while the keeper himself had plenty of offers on the table before opting for the basque club.
Cheryshev latest out the door
Russian winger Denis Cheryshev is the latest player heading for the exit at Valencia, after he agreed a season long loan deal to join Italian side Benevento. The 30 year old featured heavily in the early stages of last season, before losing his starting place to new arrival Nicolás De La Cruz at the turn of the year. Despite this, Cheryshev still had a key part to play as the club pushed to win La Liga, eventually making 15 starts and a further 14 appearances from the bench, with 2 goals during the campaign.
In the successful Copa Del Rey campaign, Cheryshev was relied upon even more, making 4 starts, with another goal, as the club successfully lifted the trophy in Madrid. A regular Russian international, Cheryshev originally joined Valencia back in the 2015/16 season, for the second half of the season on loan from Real Madrid, although he rarely featured with the first team squad. He scored 3 goals in 8 appearances during his time at the Mestalla, enough to prompt fellow La Liga side Villarreal to stump up nearly £8 million to sign the wide man, with whom he had also previously been on loan.
His first season was limited to just 18 appearances for his new club, although he became more integral in the second season with 32 games and 4 goals, before once again returning to Valencia on loan for the 2018-19 season, and helping the side to 4th place in La Liga. This led to a permanent deal, of around £6 million, and 24 starts in La Liga the following campaign, before Barlow came to the club in the summer.
His move to Serie A side Benevento, who finished 13th in the table last season, is another indication of just how far Valencia are trying to reduce the wage bill as they look to reduce the debt around the club, with takeover talks once again collapsing with prospective owners recently, and under the guidance of Filippo Inzaghi, Cheryshev himself will be hoping to do enough to earn a permanent move, although no future transfer fee has been agreed as part of the deal at present.
One out, one in as transfer frenzy continues
There is no sign of the transfer activity slowing up at La Mestalla as Valencia last night confirmed two more transfers had been agreed. The first involves young defender Ismael Escobar, who is leaving the club to join fellow La Liga side Real Betis on a permanent deal. The 18 year old centre-half, who has been at the club since childhood, was part of the successful Under-19 squad last season, making a total of 18 starts and 34 appearances in total for the junior side. He also found the net 4 times during the season, attracting the interest of several top clubs in the process. Escobar was also a regular with the Spanish Under-19 side during the season, which brought him to the attention of Villarreal, Getafe, Alavés and Betis, and despite his potential the club felt the offers were too good to dismiss, with several other promising young defenders also coming through. The deal is thought to be worth around £500,000 initially to the club, although more importantly a 30% cut of the next sale has also been included, which could prove even more profitable should the 18 year old continue his current upward trajectory.
Any disappointment of another promising youngster leaving was immediately quashed, however, when the club announced the capture of extremely highly rated striker Troy Parrott on a season long loan from English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur. The 19 year old full Irish international has been attracting the attention of all the top European clubs, and despite his young age he is already a full international with 4 goals in 5 games to his name. Parrott spent last season on loan with Millwall in the English second tier, scoring 14 goals in 42 appearances, and with first team opportunities at parent club Spurs once again likely to be limited due to the presence of Kane, Son, Alli, Moura and Lamela among others, the London side were keen to send the Dublin born striker further afield this season, to play his football at a higher level.
With Valencia having successfully developed cross city rivals midfielder Emile Smith Rowe last season, the Tottenham hierarchy felt confident that Valencia and La Liga would offer a great opportunity for Parrott to continue his development towards the Spurs first team. As a result, this is purely a developmental loan with no future fee on the table, although it is believed Valencia are only picking up the wages, with no additional fee as part of the deal. With Ireland remaining part of the EU, and Parrott being under 21, the deal offered a great option for the Spanish side to bolster their squad further, despite the arrival of several other attacking players during the transfer window, with the ageing Kevin Gameiro the one most likely to see playing time reduced in the coming season, having missed a large chunk of the run in last season following a hip injury.
N’Guessan joins Mestalla squad
Valencia continued their summer rebuild with the arrival of young midfielder Jean N’Guessan. The 17 year old Ivorian central midfielder will initially join up with the Mestalla squad, after agreeing a move from RC Abidjan this week, with a fee of around £250,000 changing hands. The youngster, who has been capped for his country all the way up to the under 23 level, made a total of 32 appearances last season, scoring twice and grabbing another 6 assists, in his first campaign in professional football.
It was during these appearances that the exciting midfielder came to the attention of the Valencia scouts, who kept a close eye on him during the back end of last season before eventually making the move in the summer. It was a successful first campaign for N’Guessan, both in terms of appearances but also in seeing his side lift the Ligue 1 title for the second successive season. The club also confirmed young attacking midfielder Victor Esquerdo would be joining Alcoyano on loan.
Correia heads to Vigo in permanent deal
The latest transfer dealings at Spanish side Valencia saw young fullback Thierry Correia make a permanent switch to fellow La Liga side Celta Vigo. The young Portuguese full back, who can play on either side, made the switch in search of first team football, while Valencia, who finished second in La Liga last season after leading for most of the campaign, will be boosted by another cash injection following their poor financial situation.
The 22 year old, who originally joined for over £10 million from Sporting a few seasons ago, made a total of 5 starts during the league campaign, with another 10 coming from the bench, mainly featuring on the left hand side when required, but struggling to force his way into Barlow’s first team plans. He also made several starts for the B team during the campaign, as he struggled to oust José Gaya from the starting line up. Although Valencia are taking a significant loss on their investment, it is to be expected in the current financial climate following the pandemic, and they have also agreed to a 20% profit on any future deal for the Under 21 international. His new side, Celta Vigo, finished last campaign in 15th place and will be looked for an improved campaign this time out.
Winning start to pre-season
Valencia were handed a late scare as they saw off Emmen 3-2 to get their pre-season campaign off to a winning start. The Spanish side headed to the Netherlands to face the Dutch Eredivisie side FC Emmen, who finished 12th in their league last season. With plenty of transfer activity over the summer, and several players still on international duty, it was a slightly changed starting XI for the Saturday evening friendly.
New shot stopper Wuilker Faríñez was handed a start ahead of Cillessen, while Cristiano Piccini, back at the club following a loan spell in Serie A last season, started at right back, with Wass moving into midfield in the absence of Yunus Musah. Elsewhere, Guedes dropped back to the right wing with Jason injured, while an injury to Ali Akman meant Troy Parrott was the preferred choice to pair with Maxi Gómez up front, with Loren and Kevin Gameiro on the bench.
Unsurprisingly the visitors were quick out of the blocks, going close inside the opening minute as a Wass throw in was picked up by Guedes, who created space for himself before flashing his effort just wide of the post. Racic was next to go close, seeing his effort inside the area blocked after he was picked out by Guedes. However, Valencia picked up the ball and went again, this time Gabriel finding De La Cruz in space on the left, and his pinpoint cross was met by the head of the lively Gonçalo Guedes, who directed his header home from close range.
Still shell-shocked, just a minute later hosts Emmen found themselves further behind. The danger again came down the left hand side, this time skipper José Gaya making the run, his ball inside picked up by Daniel Wass who was allowed to carry the ball to the edge of the area before drilling one home, his effort cannoning off the underside of the bar after the keeper got a hand to his long range strike.
Uros Racic again went close 5 minutes before the break, this time the midfielder both starting and finishing the move. He won the ball in the middle, finding Maxi Gómez who had pulled out to space in the left. Continuing his run into the area, Gómez produced a superb return pass which Racic volleyed just over the bar, with Wiedwald beaten.
A few minutes later it was three, Emmen the masters of their own downfall for this one with a poor cross field pass which was superbly intercepted by Portuguese winger Guedes. Driving forward down the right hand side, the wide man then found debutant Troy Parrott in space in the middle, and the on loan Spurs striker made no mistake, taking a touch before slipping in under Wiedwald.
30 seconds after the restart, Valencia went close again, this time Piccini the danger man. Playing a one-two with Parrott, the full back tried to drill one in from distance, his effort clipping Maxi Gómez on the way through, taking some of the sting out of the effort and making it an easy save for Wiedwald in the end. Piccini then turned provider for Gómez, his pinpoint cross being headed just over the bar by the Uruguayan striker. With the result looking beyond doubt, Valencia rung in the substitutions but were quickly undone, Sergio Peña springing the offside trap to get on the end of a superb through ball from Uhre to slot beyond substitute keeper Cillessen.
2 minutes from time the hosts grabbed an unlikely second, Sergio Peña again the benefactor, this time from some poor marking by Toni Lato, before beating Cillessen at his near post to put a more respectable slant on the scoreline.
Sibille latest to head out on loan
Defender Kevin Sibille became the latest player to head out of the door at Valencia, after the club agreed a season long loan deal with Segunda Division side Real Oviedo for the centre half. The 22 year old Argentinian began his career in his native country with River Plate, eventually making the breakthrough in the 2017-18 season. He would go on to make only 4 appearances for the side before making the switch to Spain, joining Valencia on a free transfer just before the arrival of Barlow as head coach. Since joining the club, he featured with the B side, making 9 starts and scoring once for the Mestalla squad, before then heading to Extremadura on loan for the second half of the season, where he would add another 2 goals and make 14 more starts in the Segunda B. Since his return to the club, he is still considered a long way off first team ready at the moment, and so the club were keen to see him secure more game time out on loan, the step up in level to the Segunda with Oviedo the perfect solution for all parties. There has been no agreement or talk of a future fee at the end of his contract.
Elsewhere, fellow loan departure Manu Vallejo hit the ground running with his new club, after featuring for Ajax in the traditional curtain raiser, the Dutch Super Cup. Ajax faced Utrecht, who lifted the Dutch cup last season, at the Cruyff Arena and made light work of their fellow Eredivisie side with a 3-0 win after a tight first half. Vallejo, who scored a consolation goal on his debut in the 5-1 defeat by Barcelona in Sergio Busquets testimonial, started on the bench, but came on in the 68th minute to help turn the game, with David Neres, a fellow substitute, grabbing a hat-trick with Spaniard Vallejo providing 2 assists for his new team mate. It has been a great opening few weeks for the 24 year old, with Ajax having the potential to make the deal permanent should he continue to impress.
Piccini heads to Brighton
Valencia last night confirmed defender Cristiano Piccini would be joining English Premier League side Brighton after the club managed to secure a work permit for the Italian full back. Although he featured in the opening pre-season fixture, Piccini had not worked previously with Barlow having spent last season on loan back in his native Italy with Atalanta, and with the club still suffering financially the Valencia manager made it clear he would be willing to let the international move on in a permanent deal. With several clubs interested, it was Premier League Brighton who eventually agreed the deal, for a fee of around £7.25 million for the 28 year old, who made 14 starts during his season on loan in Serie A. Prior to that, he had been at Valencia for 2 seasons following a £7 million switch from Portuguese giants Sporting CP, during with he featured heavily in his first season with 37 appearances for his new side, including picking up a Copa Del Rey winners medal. However, he suffered a fractured knee cap just 2 games into the following campaign, which would see him sit out until the end of the season, and needing several operations.
The club then agreed a deal and potential future transfer with Atalanta for the 2020-21 campaign, but Piccini found it hard to become a regular during his year back in his homeland, meaning the club ultimately opted not to take Valencia up on the option to buy, and Piccini returned to Spain in the summer. Despite starting the opening friendly, with regular fullback Wass filling in as a midfielder, the club were still keen to move him on, and will be delighted that the deal has eventually got over the line. As part of the deal, Sporting will receive 10% due to a deal agreed during his switch to the club, although Valencia will at least still recover a large portion of what they originally laid out for the right back. First club Fiorentina will also receive a token payment.
Interesting transfers dealing you have done, hopefully you can bring in few players to replace those who have left the club.
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