The Great Season Preview 2/5: Espanyol to Levante

Last Season - 8th
Prediction - 12th

An odd campaign for Espanyol last season saw the Pericos duking it out with the big boys for the first half the year - over-performing enormously in the process -  before flopping and flapping away like Angel di María in the second, largely due to the sale of the defence in the winter transfer window.

The cash-strapped club has been forced into flogging yet more wares with the flat-topped José Callejón joining Real Madrid and the potential sale of striker Osvaldo being a daily theme in the very, very back pages of the Spanish press.

This may leave the Perico squad a little thin, but there is certainly a big enough chunk of young talent around to leave Espanyol with a season which may be fairly uneventful in the grand scheme of things, but it should nonetheless be comfortable.
FFT Travel guide: Espanyol

Last season - 16th
Prediction - 9th

The cash-splashing Team Dubai Getafe concept has yet to kick in gear - if it ever will - despite club president Angel Torres promising last season that the club would not have to sell €20 million of talent each summer to balance the books. Torres was partly correct, with Getafe merely selling €18.3 million of talent to balance the books and spending €3 million on one player, Real Madrid Castilla’s strop-meister Pablo Sarabia, and a gaggle of free-transfer signings.

However, some of those newcomers are actually shrewd moves, especially Diego Castro from Sporting and the Deportivo pair of Juan Rodríguez and Alberto Lopo, although this may lead to an awful lot of goalless draws in the new campaign. Getafe still desperately need a striker, and there are funds to cover this it seems with Bojan nearly being snapped up during the summer.

Arguably Getafe’s best move is the signing up of former Levante boss Luis García, who has the nasty whip-cracking streak lacking in predecessor Michel to get the best out of the Getafe squad and avoid a season like the last one which came alarmingly close to ending in relegation.
FFT Travel guide: Getafe

Last season - Play off winners from second division
Prediction - 19th (relegated)

La Liga Loca is not too proud to admit it hasn’t the tiniest of clues how Granada are going to do in their first season back in the top flight since 1976, when Spain was still making its tiniest baby gurgles and nappy-poops as a democracy. Therefore, LLL is going for the default prediction of relegation on the grounds that what the blog doesn’t understand, it fears and wants to destroy.

Granada, despite still being in administration from an earlier regime, have piggybacked off a connection with Udinese, using loan deals with the Italian side to achieve back-to-back promotions to la Primera, Norwich City-style. As it stands today though, just two players have moved over from the Serie A club with seven returning to Italy from last season’s squad.

They look like they are planning to make their moves in the transfer market late on and there is cash to spend, but jumping from the dead zone of third tier football in Spain to the top flight in just a couple of seasons  - despite Racing Santander knocking about la Primera - may be a little bit to much for the Andalusian outfit.

Last Season - 14th
Prediction - 15th

The main point to make about Levante is that the team’s two pillars of footballing rock which saw them avoid the drop after an incredible second half of the season, striker Felipe Caicedo and coach Luis García, are both gone like Greased Lightening. The former Manchester City forward has joined Lokomotiv Moscow for €7.5 million, while García has taken his “Motivational Exercises for Dummies” book to Getafe.

In his place comes Juan Ignacio Martínez from Cartagena and a Cylon-fleeing rag-tag bunch of freebies and loan signings, such as Francisco Farinós and Carlos Aranda. What still seems to be in place though, despite a fair amount of change, is Levante’s fighting spirit. Quite literally in one case, with a pre-season friendly against NAC Breda having to be abandoned after 57 minutes due to a mass brawl. This desire to keep up the good fight in la Primera will see Levante through once again, but it’s going to be a might close call come May.
FFT Travel guide: Levante

The Great Season Preview 1/5: Athletic Bilbao to Betis