Bernd Schuster returns to La Liga as Levante purge playing staff

FourFourTwo's man in Madrid, Tim Stannard, continues his summer round-up of the latest fun and games from La Liga...

New Málaga boss Schuster - always laughing and joking...

LevanteIt’s been a purge-tastic time at Levante, with many of the figures embroiled in last season's match-fixing allegations - all of which have been denied by those under investigation - quietly being ushered towards the exit door. Sergio Ballesteros and Juanlu have had their contracts cancelled and Gustavo Munúa has moved on to Fiorentina. Juanfran is expected to be next to go. Although that's a bit of a sad, sordid business, there is at least some positive news, with Joaquín Caparrós back in La Liga after taking the helm at Levante for the coming season. “It is important that we get to know each other,” explained the former Sevilla, Deportivo, Athletic Bilbao and Mallorca boss when asked why he only signed on for a single campaign.

MálagaAfter a huge dose of footbALL-BRAN, there has finally been some movement at Málaga, with the club set to unveil the happy-go-lucky, cheery figure of Bernd Schuster as Manuel Pellegrini’s replacement. The jury's out on how successful the German will be on the south coast with this most peculiar of clubs. His first task will be to quickly usher Isco out the door for piles of cash, rebuild the squad and try to pick a few faces off the floor after Málaga lost its appeal against a UEFA ban from European competitions next season. Oh. There’s also the small matter of dealing with Málaga’s owner, who has taken to Twitter to deny suggestions his is a 'selling club'. “What are these myths that they give some people. We are going to sell our players. Actually the words of the imagination,” was Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani's declaration.

MallorcaThe world-weary Balearic side are the second of the three relegated teams LLL will help stumble across the road and into La Segunda over the next week or two. Their biggest move so far has been to dispense with the services of manager Gregorio Manzano. He has been replaced by a familiar figure around yo-yo clubs in the form of José Luis Oltra, last seen taking Deportivo up before being fired last season. “Mallorca is one of the most tempting teams to manage,” claimed Oltra with a completely straight face.

OsasunaWith the confirmation of José Luis Mendilibar as Osasuna coach, not too much more can be expected in terms of thrilling news up in Pamplona. The main task will be to squeeze as much money as possible out of Athletic Bilbao for striker Kike Sola, a footballer who has a buy-out clause of €10m but just the single year left on the forward’s current deal. “Sola will be sold if he has to be sold, but with the dignity of the club,” was the promise from Osasuna president, Miguel Archanco.

Rayo Vallecano  This is where things get a little complicated. Rayo finished last season one spot outside of the European places in eighth. However, Málaga losing their appeal against a UEFA ban should have seen the Madrid club taking the southern side’s parking space. However, Rayo had their license to take part in the Europa League declined by UEFA due to outstanding debts to third parties. This ban is set to appealed with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, so let’s see what happens there. In terms of the squad, Rayo have been severely weakened by the loss of midfielder Javi Fuego to Valencia and Leo Baptistao to Atlético Madrid. More bad news has been suffered with Piti writing an official letter that he won’t be renewing his current contract after a season scoring 18 league goals. And Marca report that Rayo currently have no goalkeepers or strikers on the books. Oh dear.

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