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Valencia: New Batman Javi Gracia faces a tough road ahead


2019-20 proved to be an extremely turbulent season for Valencia, with manager Albert Celades sacked and former Watford coach Javi Gracia handed the reins. The onus lies with the new manager, team president Anil Murthy and new scouting director Miguel Ángel Corona ahead of the new season, having been provided clear instructions with regard to a major squad overhaul.

A difficult task for a club without any revenue from the Champions or Europa League and an uncertain economic landscape, with no ticket sales revenue at least initially. That amount will have to be generated through transfers.

Gracia has created a list of 11 players who are ‘unsellable’ which includes Toni Lato, Gabriel Paulista, Danial Wass, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Goncalo Guedes, Maxi Gomez amongst the major names. The rest of the squad is up for sale.

Ferran Torres’ sale to Manchester City a significant blow

Proceedings have already begun with emerging superstar Ferran Torres sold to Manchester City, bearing the possible arrival of young Venezuela player Yangel Herrera in mind. Torres was offered a new contract but declined leaving Valencia with little choice, but to sell him.

The next name on the list is Jasper Cillessen, with the keeper’s high wages proving to be a roadblock. Gracia further prefers Doménech in goal, opening up a slot for a backup keeper.

In defence, the left-back position is set with Jose Gaya and Toni Lato. The same cannot be said for the fullback role on the right, with Alessandro Florenzi set to leave following a loan stint. Cristiano Piccini who missed the whole year with a knee injury will be handed an opportunity alongside Danial Wass. The management would like to move Piccini on, but it will be difficult following the year-long injury.

The central defence department will be led by Gabriel Paulista and emerging youngster Hugo Guillamon. An opportunity will be handed out to Mouctar Diakhaby, despite a disappointing season where the player was responsible for numerous errors. The player’s poor performances will however urge the management to sign an experienced defender for squad depth.

Geoffrey Kondogbia holds onus in midfield

In midfield, Valencia is set to sell captain Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin. Geoffrey Kondogbia will continue to feature, with Yangel Herrera and Uros Racic expected to fill in the vacated slots.

The attack will be hit as well, with Torres and Denis Cheryshev moving on to greener pastures. Goncalo Guedes will be expected to fill the Spaniard’s role, with an opening on the other side as Carlos Soler isn’t a natural winger.

Valencia will attempt to transfer Rodrigo Moreno in order to grant regular game-time to Lee Kang-in, alongside Maxi Gomez. Kevin Gameiro will further be sacrificed for a cheaper backup option.

It’s going to be an interesting couple of months for sure.

Written By: Victor Abud


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