The January transfer window has a reputation for reactive purchases, gambles and the opportunity to turn things around. If you’re a selling club, the January window can be extremely profitable and you can often take advantage of a clubs situation by driving the price of a player up, however this is a delicate balance and sometimes greed can get the better of you. More often than not, closing a deal means you are ready to bring another player in and if you’ve had your head screwed on and have been monitoring the transfer status of your players you should already have that replacement lined up and ready to go… it’s better to delay the transfer until deadline day rather than scramble to get them in on transfer deadline day!
There’s also the matter of the pre-contact opportunities, if you’ve been savvy you’ll have looked through these opportunities and get your business done as early as possible, be careful though, the temptation to stock pile could cause you bother when July 1st rolls around.
As we approached January there was a realisation that two key players would more than likely be leaving the club. Gerard Moreno was wanted by Liverpool and as he was valued at £44.5m his £30m release clause must have looked like a bargain. I could have offered him a new deal, but in keeping with our rules I didn’t want to be offering him £100k+ per week to stay so the plan was to cash in the £30m and look to invest for the future. We have Danny Welbeck and Lincoln in the squad already so cover wasn’t going to be an major issue.
The other player set to leave was Samu Castillejo. Atlético Madrid had been sniffing around Samu for some time, I’d been having press conferences where I was being questioned about my relationship with El Cholo and whether that had any impact on the way we done business, the answer was always the same; ‘it’ll take a great bid for me to let the lad go’.
We also had our own recruitment plans, the search for our ’Riquelme’ was accelerated when my Chinese scout Wan Choo Nerd suggested a certain Paulo Henrique Ganso. He fits the profile really well, naturally gifted and doesn’t work hard for the team, the only stumbling block may have been league rivals Sevilla letting him go for the right money.
I wanted a long term successor for that position as well and in keeping with my own philosophies, and those of The Villarreal Project, I wanted to make sure the conveyor belt was healthy. We sent our Argentinian scout, Jorge García, to Buenos Aires to scout Boca Juniors prospect Gonzalo Maroni. Note: Having played an excellent network save with FM_Razz in Argentina last year he spent 6 seasons developing Maroni into a world class talent, I fancied a shot doing the same thing.
With the release clauses being met for both Moreno (£30m) & Castillejo (£30.5m) I had the funds to expand the playing squad. My first transfer in was Giorgian De Arrascaeta on a free transfer after his contract with Cruzerio expired. De Arrascaeta’s agent actually recommended him to me and after analysing his strengths and weaknesses I decided that he’d be a good replacement for Castillejo and could work in both the Mezzalla and Inverted Wingers positions we use. Next into the club was a well thought out loan deal for Danny Ings. With Moreno heading to Anfield and Ings dropping down the pecking order I noticed that Liverpool had added him to the loan list. I carried out a comparison of the two players and realised that there wasn’t actually much between them attribute-wise. A deal for £140k per month was arranged and Danny Ings became a temporary Villarreal player.
Last through the doors at El Madrigal were the two players we mentioned earlier, PH Ganso & Gonzalo Maroni. Sevilla accepted a £9m offer for Ganso who was more than happy to join the project, but Maroni’s deal took a while longer. Boca knew the value of their asset and played hardball for a few weeks, but on January 30th 2019 he became a Villarreal player for the princely sum of £12.75m. As we didn’t have space for another foreign player my plan, as is normal, was to loan him out to a Spanish side for 2 seasons to gain a Spanish passport. This didn’t take long as a player of his ability will always be in high demand, a move to Lugo was arranged and the first part of his Spanish development begins.
With the main January business done I wanted to finalise some of our future deals, as you’ll remember, it’s all about having the conveyor belt running efficiently and I’m fully expecting certain players to start asking to leave for the bigger teams when the season ends. We also have Bruno’s contract running down and at the moment and I’ve no intention to renew it so I’ll need a replacement for him.
Bruno’s replacement will be Santiago Caseres from Velez Sarsfield, interestingly I’d done this deal before Villarreal actually signed him in real life. He’ll fit nicely into the 4-2-2-2 system and will hopefully be a good replacement for a club legend.
Other signings coming in are young goalkeeper José Luis Santisteban, left back Júnior Tavares, right winger Arthur Gomes & an end of contract signing, Adalberto Peñaranda, who will be nationalised by the time the season starts thanks to his time at Granada, Malaga & Valladolid and he’ll come in just as Danny Ings’ loan deal ends.
The squad is looking incredibly healthy at the moment and the future transfers give us something to look forward to. Now it’s time to put this business into action.
The next post will be a season update, we’re pushing for Champions League football and we’re still in the Cup. Thanks for reading and Vamos Villarreal!