Why Valencia's saviour has stepped aside to save their future
In recent dispatches, La Liga Loca noted with no little confusion that Valencia were on the brink of signing a player who the manager and agent-in-chief, Jorge Mendes, did not approve of.
Indeed, until Rodrigo Caio touched down in Valencia for the first of two medicals, it appeared that only the club president, Amadeo Salvo, and general manager/former player Rufete knew anything about it.
As it turned out, Valencia turned down the chance to sign the Brazilian, possibly due to a recent cruciate ligament injury, and the footballer has since gone on loan to Atlético Madrid instead.
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Changes at the top
The confusion stems from the fact that there was too many chiefs in charge at Valencia, all wanting different things for the club. But for once, good things. This is entirely natural considering that new owner Peter Lim and his own team were looking after most of Valencia's affairs, in parallel with a pre-existing structure headed by Salvo. Salvo announced that he was stepping down from his post on Wednesday night, citing family reasons for the decision with his father suffering from cancer. “Valencia are in good hands, they are going to have an injection of capital,” said the emotional Spaniard upon his farewell. “I am proud to have worked alongside these colleagues every day with this new board and ownership.”
Rufete is also set to depart, along with technical secretary Roberto Ayala, perhaps realising that the relationship between Lim’s team and Mendes is going to carry more clout at the club. Indeed, Lim has been quick to act by appointing Layhoon Chan to the role of executive president, and one of her first moves was to finalise the permament signing of Alvaro Negredo from Manchester City. While the traditional narrative with Valencia was that this was another example of institutional disruption that has so often plagued the side for the past 10 years, the changes in leadership form part of a normal progression from past to future.
Salvo took over the club when it was on the brink of extinction in summer 2013, with debts in the region of €400 million. However, through the appointment of finance and marketing experts to the board, the club president managed to steer Valencia through a difficult period of being owned by Bankia and the local council, and scrabbling to live hand to mouth. Salvo and his team even managed to make Valencia a viable football property and worked through the immensely complicated sale of the club to Lim last summer.
A season of transition is underway, and for once Valencia's future looks bright. Champions League football awaits, plans for rebuilding the new stadium have been dusted off and there has been investment in the squad after years of their best players being sold off. Salvo did a fine, and apparently exhausting, job of keeping Valencia afloat and it feels like the right time for the old president to hand over to someone new.