Saturday, September 27, 2014

Valencia's transformation

It has not been easy to be a fan of Valencia over the last 10 years. In 2004 the club won the UEFA Cup and the League, but since then the team has been in huge financial troubles and besides a Copa del Rey title in 2008, has not been part of any European elite. Whenever there have been great players, these have been sold to some of the big teams of Europe to cover the mounting losses: David Silva, Juan Mata, David Villa, Raul Albiol, Roberto Soldado... they have all gone.
But times may be changing.
In May the Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim bought the majority stakes in the club, and he has brought in a long list of new players for the new season. Firstly, they have contracted some exciting new players: Rodrigo de Paul, an interesting 20-year old Argentine from Racing; Lucas Orban, another Argentine defender from Bordeaux, and Nicolas Otamendi from Oporto, an Argentine player who was highly sought in the market. Additionally, they got the young German world champion Shkodran Mustafi from Sampdoria and the young Portuguese defender Ruben Vezo from Vitoria Setubal.
But Valencia has also been out borrowing players: from Rio Ave the Brazilian defender Filipe August, and from Benfica the two exciting young attackers Andre Gomes and Rodrigo. After only five games both players have already scored goals, and both are on the verge of entering their respective national teams (Portugal and Spain).
Valencia has also borrowed two players from Manchester City: Alvaro Negredo and Bruno Zuculini. Negredo is still to make his debut, and the young strikers will surely not make it easy for him.
The most exciting young striker of Valencia is 21-year old Paco Alcacer, educated in Valencia's own ranks. He made his national team debut in August, and has a great career ahead of him.
Valencia's integration of its young players has been great this season: Antonio Barragan, Carles Gil and Jose Gaya are all from its own ranks.
Many big clubs have already had their eyes opened on the young defender Jose Gaya, but the great thing for many Valencia fans is that the club may now be able to hold on to its players. All the new blood is already making an impact, but Valencia was able to keep some of the most important players from last season, most notably Pablo Piatti, Dani Parejo, and Sofiane Feghouli, who after a great world cup with Algeria, was a highly coveted man!
After defeating Cordoba 3-0 Valencia is leading the Spanish league ahead of Barcelona, on goal difference. Of course, there is a long way to go, and Valencia are not really candidates for the title. That said, Valencia has announced its intention to return among the top of Europe, and with the young team at their disposal, will certainly be a force to be dealt with.

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