Team News ahead of Rayo clash
It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t convincing, but Valencia did come away with a 3-1 victory over Monaco in this season’s first official match. Ruben Vezo stepped into the defense and except on one occasion, he really proved he will be no pushover. As Valencia prepare for their league debut, it is without three important players, all suspended as a result of the hard fought victory at Almeria which secured fourth place last season.
Gayá, Feghouli and Parejo will all sit this one out, giving room for forced rotations from Nuno, who should have enough firepower to overcome Paco Jemez’ boys. While Orban is likely to replace Gayá, that might also trigger a change on the opposite back. Nuno have previously preferred to have Gayá or Cancelo on, but rarely together. The two youngsters are a lot more active going forward than their more seasoned colleagues. On the midfield it will be interesting to see what Nuno does. With Parejo and Andre out, De Paul could be handed a major role in creation, while Nuno could choose either Danilo or Fuego to fill the last gap. Enzo Pérez could be handed either role, ad I am sure many are with me in wanting to see him more in the Andre role. The big question is how affected he is from the injury that forced him off against Monaco.
Lastly, there will be a spot up for grabs on the wing. Rodrigo had, his goal apart, a rather disappointing display against Monaco, so there could even be two changes. Piatti will be the favorite for one of them, while Santi Mina, Rodrigo and Bakkali are all potential starters. Paco Alcácer had another disappointing match, and might also be replaced by a more involved Negredo. Youngsters Fran Villalba or Tropi will likely fill in a vacant spot in the 18-man squad.
Scouring the market for a defender
Valencia’s business in the market is by no means done with 10 days of it left to complete at least a signing of a defender. With Ezequiel Garay a long time target and favorite to replace his bearded compatriot, many expected the club to move swiftly to secure his services. Instead we have seen Garay relegated to a second tier, as Peter Lim has not been happy with the signings of Negredo and Enzo in the same cost/age range. Lim has give the club’s responsibles a clear order that future reinforcements should not be of the same category, but rather either young with a huge potential like Danilo, Mina or experienced, but not surpassing 26 years of age.
That means Valencia is now looking for a defender with experience, adapted to the European game, preferably experienced in European competitions and between 22 and 26 years old. Two formerly linked names serve to illustrate; Mangala and Rüdiger, both of whom are now discarded. Rumors have appeared around Dutch Lazio defender Stefan de Vrij. Despite consistent injury worries, he completed an impressive first season at Lazio and established himself as one of their key players. The Italians really suffered a drop of form as he was out. It is therefore unlikely that Lazio will let the Dutchman leave, let alone for an accessible price.
Many other names have been mentioned, but sound more like Rufete’s old shopping list than something Nuno and his people would go for. The exceptions are the two Portugal based defenders Rolando and Aderlan Santos, at Porto and Braga respectively. At first glance, none of them seem apt to be an Otamendi replacement. Rolando spent last season on loan at Anderlecht, while a 26-year old Brazilian still at a club like Braga will make us question him.
Sofiane Feghouli renewal
The Algerian national team player is the only one yet to renew his contract. With offers confirmed both by Fenerbahce and Valencia, there is a real chance the winger could leave, one year before his contract expires. There is a significant difference in what he is asking for and what the club is willing to pay. Feghouli got a sizable raise the last time he signed up, and the club believes he is on the right level. This distance can, despite both parties wanting him to stay, can lead to a sale. Fenerbahce is said to be only one of several interested clubs.
New signing at Mestalla
Moments after Elche confirmed the agreement to release him from his contract, Charlie I’Anson joined Valencia Mestalla yesterday. The 22-year old central defender started his career with a goal as at 17 for English club Grimsby, before moving to Elche and their B-side. Last season was largely spent on loan, getting 8 matches for Alcorcón before playing a bigger part at Oviedo for the remainder of the season.