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Friday, July 25, 2014

CaixaBank becomes Valencia CF sponsor

CaixaBank is now officially Valencia CF main sponsor, the club and the bank signed a three year contract. 

Additionally, as a result of this agreement, Valencia CF fans who set up a direct debit in CaixaBank will receive a 2014/15 season ticket, with which they can attend La Liga and Copa del Rey games at Mestalla.

This agreement will also allow CaixaBank to install a third bench at Mestalla, to give their clients the opportunity to enjoy games pitchside. They will also develop and activate innovative and numerous actions, directed at the Valencia CF fanbase.

Transfer Market Update: Defense

It should be no surprise that this area of the squad needs reinforcements. First off, we conceded 53 goals last season, and a lot of blame has fallen on poor defending. It really was silly at times, where a Valencia CF lead would disappear in the span of a few minutes of bad defending. In addition, we lost our best defender in Mathieu, Bernat was sold to Bayern, Costa's contract was terminated and Rami was sold to Milan. This leaves, Vezo, Otamendi and Ruiz. I don't know about any of you, but I don't want to see a midfielder filling in for defense as Fuego did last season at times. It was really bad to watch but had to be done.


First up we have none other than 24 year old Argentinean international and Sporting defender Marcos Rojo. Like Mathieu he is a left-back that has been played as center back in recent times. His price range used to be somewhere from 7-10 million but after a great World Cup could reach 15 million euros. Should he reinforce the side, I would like to see him more as a left-back since he is very attack minded. He could cover as CB in case of injury or whenever needed. He is fast and also has a physical presence which is great for a left-back. He doesn't have a EU passport so it would count towards our foreign player limit which is now at 4 (limit is 3) with Jonas, Araujo, de Paul and Otamendi. With Jonas on his way out, Araujo likely to be loaned, and de Paul to get an EU passport before the start of the league, we'll have 2 slots left. One is for Enzo Perez and the other one can be used for this transfer or any other. Rojo appears to be the main target so far since he is left-footed and versatile.


Next on the list is 22 year old Swiss international and Basel defender Fabian Schar. He was part of the Swiss team for the World Cup but his team-mate Djourou would get some starts over him. He was also part of the Basel team that Valencia CF beat 5-0 in the great comeback on aggregate. He did have some great performances though including the first leg where Basel beat Valencia CF 3-0 and is generally seen as a great future prospect. His passport is not an issue. His price is between 5-7 million euros with competition from many Bundesliga clubs. His contract expires next year so this would be the best time to go for him.


Then there is 21 year old Colombian international and River plate defender Eder Balanta. He was part of the World Cup squad at such a young age but spent most of the time on the bench and didn't get much of a chance to impress. Another great future prospect that is yet unproven but his potential have seen so many giants of football go after his signature. He is priced between 8-10 million euros and if Valencia CF want any chance for his signature they have to act fast before losing out. His contract still has three years left before expiry in 2017 and he doesn't have an EU passport.




There is also Konstantinos Manolas, 23 year old Greece international and Olympiacos defender. He has been offered to Valencia CF after the departure of Mathieu. He doesn't have much of a reputation other than in Greece where he is a known for his aerial prowess and phyiscal presence. His contract expires in 2 years (2016) and he would cost from 4-6 million euros.








Finally, there is Martin Demichelis, 33 year old Argentine and Manchester City defender. With Mangala rumored to joining Manchester City, his place in the team is likely gone despite only having arrived this year. The most experienced player on this list and I'm personally not a fan of his. He has had solid performances for Malaga, Argentina and Manchester City in the past. While he would be the cheapest, going for 3 million euros, any ability he has left will continue on its decline, not a good investment. As I mentioned before, especially while playing 4-4-2 with two box-to-box midfielders, we need a fast defender and he doesn't fit that. He has an Italian passport so he wouldn't affect the foreign player limit. There are a lot of other players interested, most recently Napoli.

You may notice that the first four names are really young players, and Rojo is the only one that is actually proven between them. The rest are just future prospects. My guess is that it will be Rojo and one of the others, probably Schar due to the passport issues with Balanta and Manolas being the least proven. The rest will depend on if Nuno wants experiences in the back line (having lost Mathieu and Costa) or a promising talent. The first four are also all both large in stature and quick which is really what is required now. Personally, I would also like to consider Raul Albiol if he's willing to return.

Any thoughts? Rojo, Schar, Balanta, Manolas or Demichelis? Do you think we're looking at the right people? Who else to look at?

Transfer market update: Midfield

After the capture of Rodrigo's signature, Enzo Perez's signature appears to be next and reports say it is close. The Argentinean midfielder fits the profile that Nuno wants in a midfielder capable of playing as part of a box-to-box duo. With the departures of Keita, Michel, and Romeu in addition to  Fuego's transfer looking more likely, the midfield now needs at least two reinforcements. Nuno wants at least 5 midfielders and if Fuego leaves we would have only three in Banega, Parejo and Gomes.

In addition to Perez, Valencia CF seem to be keeping an eye on 21 year old Argentinean Bruno Zuculini, who recently transferred from Racing to Manchester City. He is a close friend of Rodrigo de Paul (they both played for Racing) and Nuno wants him to reinforce the midfield as well. He needs to get playing minutes since their midfield is already packed with players. However, since Manchester City just signed him it, they will be reluctant to give up for anything other than a loan deal. Sevilla and Deportivo la Coruna are also interested. Valencia CF is hoping to use Roberto Fabian Ayala influence to convince him to join since he rates him very highly. He also has an Italian passport meaning he won't affect our foreign player limit.

The other name on the agenda is 28 year old Swiss international and Napoli midfielder Blerim Dzemaili. If you watched the World Cup, you probably remember him for that last minute miss against Argentina. That wasn't a reason to exclude him from potential targets as he is known to be able to drive forward well with the ball, an essential component to Nuno's counterattacking strategy.

As for Gargano and Cambiasso, it appears only Cambiasso is still considered a target.

Any thoughts? Who would you like to see at Valencia CF, Zuculini? Dzemaili? Or maybe someone else?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sale could take till September?

Some of you have asked why it is taking so long for the sale to go through. After all, the process of finding an owner started in December 2013. It took six months to finally announce Lim as the bid winner. And here we are, almost 2 months later with the sale incomplete. First they promised mid July, then at the end of July, then mid-August, and Salvo's last statement said things could go to September before being finalized (let's hope not). Here are the details.

There are two main issues, one with Bankia and another with three other banks (Porchinos/Porxinos case).

Bankia

Lim, Valencia CF and Bankia have been in talks ever since Lim was declared winner of the bid. The talks covered refinancing of the debt, methods of payment and the guarantees. The first two are agreed upon, but the last one is the issue. The last time I wrote about this I explained about Newcoval wanting money (86 million) from Valencia CF (click here to read it). Since Bankia owns 50% of Newcoval, Valencia CF wanted Bankia to insert a guarantee that they will not support any court or legal action by Newcoval. Normally, that would be straight forward, however, Bankia keep sending statement that dance around the issue, they simply summarize what is going on but are providing no guarantees for one reason or another. This was really frustrating for Lim and Valencia CF who don't know why Bankia is delaying the sale. All of that is paired with long delays by Bankia in exchanging information as well as sending documents in Castillan (Spanish spoken in northern and central Spain) to Lim. The obvious problem is that Castillan is not familiar to Lim or Singapore in general. It is a common practice to make all international agreements in English. That is the standard, yet Bankia despite being aware of this, don't seem to care. The final thing would be the time difference between Spain and Singapore which frustrated Lim and cause him to send some of his legal team to Spain. There is a deadline of August 15 for negotiations on this, and Valencia CF need to work on those guarantees before then. Previously, Salvo accused Bankia of trying to "torpedo the process". In his most recent statement Salvo called the situation "intolerable" and "unethical" and demanded respect from Bankia.

Porchinos/Porxinos Case

This is another case of the actions of former management coming back to haunt Valencia CF. Sometime during the time of Juan Soler (2004-2008), an agricultural land was bought - Porchinos/Porxinos - in the hope that it could be urbanized into a new sporting facility (i.e relocated Paterna complex there) as well as some 2400 houses - the project was called PAI. It appears that Valencia CF had an agreement with three banks - Caixabank, BBVA, and Ceiss - to finance the operation. The deal was around 60 million euros. However, construction was cancelled after it was over-ruled by the Supreme Court which sited environmental concerns. They are now holding the land and demanding 100 million euros in compensation. Salvo has been trying to reason with them in saying that when Lim takes over there is a chance to continue the project. I guess the banks aren't buying it till now despite Salvo saying that their meeting accomplished a lot. Any agreement to continue the project still has to be subjected to Court approval which takes time.

Optimism

Despite all this, there is some optimism in Valencia CF. The signings of Rodrigo and Andre Gomes has convinced people without doubt that the end is near. After all, September is a possibility not for certain. You might ask where did all these problems come from? Previous management, and people getting greedy. Why now? I think that some of these people saw that big money is coming into the club, so they're trying to make the most of every mistake ever made to make money.

Any thoughts?

P.S. I couldn't find any clear articles in English, all of the sources were Spanish and even with online translation it was difficult to understand all the jargon and terms. I hope this clarified the situation enough.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Official: Rodrigo signed for Valencia CF!!


Here it is! The signing we've been waiting for is completed and Rodrigo has been presented. The 23 year old Spanish striker from Benfica becomes the fourth signing this summer transfer window following: Rodrigo de Paul, Dani Ramirez, and Andre Gomes.

This deal is similar to the type of deal which brought Andre Gomes to Valencia CF. It is a one-year loan that will be made into a full deal when Lim's takeover is complete (which could be extended as far as September, according President Salvo). Rodrigo is a great versatile forward that brings a lot of energy into any side and will do the same to Valencia CF. I'm so anxious to see how his partnership with Alcacer at the tip of the 4-4-2 will work.

Next up should be Enzo Perez according to reports, the third player from Benfica (I wonder how they'll deal with all these losses).

Any thoughts on Rodrigo? His partnership with Alcacer? Do you think this is enough for attack or would you prefer someone like Jackson Martinez or Chicarito join?

Jeremy Mathieu transfers to Barcelona FC

Barcelona FC have sealed the deal with Valencia CF over the transfer of Jeremy Mathieu, who will be joining Barcelona FC for a reported fee of 20 million euros, which is an extremely great price if I may say so myself. I've had him rated at about 10 million euros, last season I thought he was too error prone and quite inconsistent, so the fact that Barcelona payed out his 20 million euros buyout clause is really surprising.

I mean I knew they were going to do it, they really pushed for the transfer and when the player demanded it personally it was going to happen, but I think its a great deal for Valencia CF. We get rid of an aging, error prone defender and get 20 million euros in the bank with which we can strengthen our squad.

Peter Lim had promised at least 50 million euros on transfers, we got 10 million for Juan Bernat and now 20 million for Jeremy Mathieu, so that is 30 million in the bank account. Imagine if Valencia CF spends 30 million on top of 50 million euros, with 80 million euros we really bring big names to the club.

Again, Jeremy Mathieu transferring to Barcelona for 20 million euros is very positive for the club, Valencia CF can now bring a high level quality defender now and not even have to go cheap, we can spend 15 million if needed and get a high level player.

Getafe want Javi Fuego


After Getafe have taken Michel on loan for two-years, they now look to bring in Javi Fuego on loan with a purchase option. With Nuno switching the formation to a 4-4-2 with two box-to-box midfielders, Javi Fuego is reduced to a spot on the bench. In fact Nuno only keeps him just so that the option of a defensive midfielder is available to him. After Rodrigo's signing is completed, Enzo Perez is rumoured to be next, which will give Javi Fuego a tougher time to get some minutes. Should Javi Fuego decide to go to Getafe, Valencia CF could look to bring in yet another midfielder yet one that has similar characteristics to Seydou Keita.

A loan might not be that bad. In the rare occasion that Nuno wants to play a CDM, I guess he could try Ruiz there, it was his most promising position in recent times. To be honest, Javi Fuego hasn't really impressed me during his time at Valencia CF. Sure he had a couple of solid performances but he screwed up a lot. In terms of the replacement of similar profile to Keita, one of Walter Gargano and Cambiasso were rumored to be the ones scouted by the club a month or so ago. I don't know if that has changed yet.

What do you think of Javi Fuego? His loan? Good or bad idea? Any replacements in mind?