FFT's Spanish expert Tim Stannard mulls over the big talking points from Spain this week...
Sergio Ramos, Barcelona presidential elections, Cristiano Ronaldo’s ’80s throwback beach attire and the annual picking away of Sevilla’s squad are all bursting topics in La Liga as the world hurtles into July. But the news that the loyal LLL readership has really been waiting for is the future of Getafe. Obvious jokes aside, that future was in some doubt just a few days ago, so stop with the sniggering.
The last time the blog dropped in on this hipster heaven was when there was talk that the team might end up going down the same path as Elche by being relegated to La Segunda thanks to debts with both the Spanish tax authorities and players. “They are in danger,” admitted Spanish league president Javier Tebas. The confident line from Getafe president, Angel Torres, was that his club were going to be just fine. In the end, Torres was true to his word.
Last week, the immediate outstanding debt to the Hacienda – Spain's Inland Revenue – was paid, and agreements struck up with the footballers who were still waiting for some pay cheques to clear. This allowed Getafe to work on the next thorny issue: finding a new manager.
In a possibly ironic move, the club reached out to Elche – the side that it nearly mimicked – by hiring the recently-departed coach Fran Escribá. For once, the new Getafe boss knows exactly what he is getting himself into, having been the assistant to Quique Sánchez Flores for the team’s debut year in La Primera a decade ago. On a coincidental note, the number of managers that Getafe have had over the past year now equals the number of season ticket holders: four.
Hell’s bells, there's another coincidence on the way, with another team starting with ‘G’. Granada, who managed to suddenly pick up 10 points from 12 in the run-in to avoid a previously inevitable relegation, have properly hired the manager who delivered those results, José Ramón Sandoval. He's good company and passionate about his football, but with a hint of Chris Christie prickliness. In a nice way.
Valencia have found themselves in a bit of a tizz over the signing of Sao Paulo’s Rodrigo Caio. The defensive midfielder was thought to be on his way to Arsenal or Atlético Madrid before the Mestalla side swooped in. The problem is that not everyone who matters at the club knew that the swooping was underway. Marca reports that the deal was agreed by club president Amadeo Salvo and sporting director Rufete, but not cleared by coach Nuno or overlord Jorge Mendes.
That appears to have been since worked through, though, as Mendes’s company have been trying to smooth over some hiccups over the player’s image rights and how the payments to Sao Paulo are going to be structured. The £11 million purchase sees Valencia spending £63m this summer, with the side having finalised the purchases of Benfica's Rodrigo, Joao Cancelo and André Gomes.
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However, the books should be balanced a little with the sale of Nicolas Otamendi after just one year, and perhaps even Shkodran Mustafi who is thought to be a target of Real Madrid should a post-Sergio Ramos era arise.
On a final note, a whopping round of applause to Bilbao Athletic, the Basque side’s ‘B’ team that won promotion to La Segunda after a play-off victory on Sunday against the ever-unlucky Cadiz. The team is now the only ‘B’ team in the division after the relegation of Barcelona’s own youth team side, quite the achievement for a club with the narrowest possible catchment of players.