Villarreal’s Early June Transfer Round-up: Who is on the way in?

Ah, summer. The time of the year where in a lot of countries, temperatures shoot up, people take vacation, and the beach takes protagonism. In this sport, summer means teams are buying and selling everyone, rumors never end, and there are always surprises. Ask Carlo in Madrid. Or ask James Rodriguez in Everton, who saw Carlos himself convince him to join the English team from Real Madrid, to then watch the manager himself go back to the capital of Spain.

Life happens, James.

Let’s go through what we are hearing from local outlets in terms of players coming in, potentially, likely or confirmed, to Vila-real.

  • Aissa Mandi will join the club once his contract is up, and the transfer is all but confirmed. The Argelian center back joins on a free and will fight for a spot in the defense in a year that will feature 55+ matches. Aissa will have plenty of opportunities to prove himself, especially with Albiol turning 36 in September. He played basically everything for Betis this season, starting in 30 matches for Pellegrini all the way up to when the transfer leaked.
  • With the center of the defense covered unless there are exits, the club is looking first for a left winger, and a striker. Beyond that, transfers out will determine transfers in. On the left side, there are a few names being printed out: Guedes at Valencia, who has made clear his desire to leave the capital of the Valencian Community, and could see a move to Champions League’s Villarreal as a good one. Others, like Udinese’s Deulofeu, or Amine Harit, from now-relegated Schalke 04, are in the cards.
  • Fulham’s Andre-Zambo Anguissa is also being rumored as a possibility for the midfield. Even though we are overloaded in this position, the Cameroonian wants to leave a team that is now officially in the Championship in England, but the cost of over 20 Million Euros is a roadblock. Unless there is a negotiation, the cost will be too high, again, with plenty of options on midfield.
  • In the striker position, the Bakambu option is still top of mind. The 30-year-old has made clear he wants to come back to Vila-real, even talking to the Managing Director Fernando Roig Negueroles and telling him he wanted to “Come back to Vila-real and become the club’s top overall scorer.” Cedric ends his contract with Beijing Guoan in six months, and the Chinese club is trying to get some money out of the transfer before that happens–but is attempting a 40 Million Euro operation, which is unrealistic for a player, again, ending his contract in 180 days. Regardless, the striker is a real option for Villarreal.
  • Something that came to light yesterday is interest from several teams, Villarreal included, for Spanish right back Hector Bellerin. The 26-year-old is interested in leaving London, and a return to Spain could be an option. The Spaniard makes around 6 Million Euros per season, something completely out of market for Villarreal, but especially if Peña leaves and Hector is willing to take a cut in his paycheck, the transfer could be an option. Personally, his injury record is a problem for me (he’s missed 45 matches in the past three seasons), especially with Alberto Moreno showing us what can happen to a player who tends to get injured (very few appearances in two years), but Hector would be, without a doubt, a great player to have.
  • Back from loan are coming several players, but only a few are staying with the team this summer. The list of players returning includes Cuenca, Martin, Ontiveros, Morlanes, Franquesa, and others. As of right now, Cuenca is the only one who is expected to remain in the first team, and the others are in the air–including Morlanes, a very talented midfielder with a lot of interest in other teams, Almeria in pole position as the team that enjoyed him on loan. The Andalusian club could buy the player through a clause in the loan contract. Almeria considers Morlanes a key player for the team, and will try to keep him for next season. Morlanes also doesn’t have the blessing from Emery to come to the first team 100%, so we could see the 22-year-old from Zaragoza actually leave Vila-real. I personally feel that Manuel can do the job, and should stay here in a season with four competitions. We shall see.

Latest news

  • This week marks the seventh anniversary of the club’s promotion back to the First Division. A season of ups and downs, from the sudden passing of Preciado when he had been already appointed the manager of Villarreal in the project to come back to the top, to the trust Fernando Roig Negueroles, in his first year in charge of the project, put in Marcelino to take the spot and get the team promoted, and to 10,000 fans in Barcelona, taking the Mini Estadi of Barcelona B and all but ensuring promotion through that win.
  • Javier Calleja’s Alaves is reportedly interested in both Dani Raba and Ontiveros for the next season in La Liga. The ex-Manager of Villarreal needs to strengthen his team in order not to suffer as much as they did this season to avoid relegation, and these two players could be in the cards for the team from the North of Spain, although the specifics of a loan or transfer would have to be worked out.
  • Multiple outlets are now reporting that Ruben Peña and Funes Mori are in the market to be transferred out. Especially the center back, now with Mandi and Cuenca as part of the first team, has a lot of options to leave this summer.
  • Yeremy Pino and Raul Albiol are now part of the parallel bubble of the National team of Spain in case more COVID-19 cases become a reality within the first team. One can argue whether waiting in a B-list is good or bad for our players, as they likely will not play but also be unable to take a longer vacation, but I’m sure for folks like Pino, this is a step in the right direction after featuring in the Under-21 team, and for others like Albiol, the reward to an outstanding season.
  • Villarreal’s youth team won the Liga Promises last week, the young talent tournament the club hosted, and which united the top youth teams in the country in Vila-real this summer. Villarreal beat Sevilla 0-2 to lift the trophy.

Villarreal’s Early June Transfer Round-up: Who is on the way out?

The pre-season is underway! Even though the club has preached throughout the week the need to enjoy the Europa League trophy and Villarreal’s only title to date, management and Emery are already working on the ins and outs of strengthening the team for an amazing, exciting, demanding season with up to four competitions to be played. 

As Managing Director Fernando Roig Negueroles told local radio earlier this week, “Our transfer objectives, and the budget that goes along with it, changes every day or so.” Transfer targets come into frame, stay or go, are impacted by other transfers around it, and the need to adapt, pivot constantly, and have several options at all times is as present as ever. This is true especially at a time where clubs are financially unable to make big splurges in cash for other players. At the same time, those clubs understand that this season is probably one of the worst summers to sell, with everyone strapped for cash, and fans unable to fully access the stadiums and bring revenue. 

At Villarreal News, we bring you the compilation of what we have been capturing through local news in the past weeks, so that you don’t skip a beat. Today, we will discuss the players on the way out. If you are interested in what Villarreal is thinking about doing this summer, read on!

The list of people who are leaving Villarreal is probably the most straight-forward of all segments of the transfer window of the Yellow Submarine: there are two players leaving the club, and anything beyond that is not about to be confirmed. 

First, we say goodbye to Jaume Costa. Jaume has spent over ten years in Vila-real, and with his contract running out, the decision has been made to see him go. Jaume, who actually just got married this week, is approaching the end of his career, and at a time where the left side of the defense is overbooked with Pedraza, Alberto Moreno and Estupiñan, it only makes sense that he go and try to get minutes elsewhere. 

Personally, I feel as Jaume was an exemplary player and member of the team, even playing in unnatural positions when needed, and understanding his impact in the team would come more as a leader than a player. He has played over 300 matches between Villarreal B and the first team, and is one of few players left who was here with the team in the Second Division, and got to lift the Europa League trophy last week. 

An amazing journey and we wish him the best. Chances are he will stay in Spain, and some teams, like Levante, are rumored to be interested.

Carlos Bacca is the other player leaving this season, as the Colombian striker had one more year left in his contract, but club and player have come to an agreement for Villarreal to pay out roughly 250,000 Euros to cancel out that last year, let Bacca leave with his contract under his arm, and find a new replacement. 

Bacca has spent four seasons at Vila-real, and I would say his performance was good, not great. His numbers were not as consistent on average as they were at AC Milan, Sevilla or Brugge. However, through ages 30 to 34, I would say 43 goals in 144 matches is a good tally. Bacca had sporadic, great performances like the most recent hat-trick against his beloved Sevilla, and he leaves first-tier soccer lifting his third Europa League. 

There are rumors of Carlos joining teams like Boca Juniors in South America, or even some interest from Levante as well, but in the end the Colombian will make a decision that makes him most happy, as nearing his 35th birthday this summer, his better playing days are behind him. 

Some outlets are reporting on the possibility of Carlos Peña leaving this summer as well to make way for a new right back on defense, but I believe Emery has in Ruben a player who is versatile, as he can feature on the right and left of the midfield, as well as the right side out back, obviously. Ruben is also someone who, as far as I can tell, does not necessarily complain when he doesn’t play.

Peña is about to turn 30 and has a contract for three more years though, so it could be feasible that the player from Avila tries to get more minutes elsewhere. I personally hope he stays to give us options in a season with roughly 50-60 matches to be played. 

Other players to mention: 

  • 25-year-old right back Miguelon, on loan to Espanyol, is confirmed to be sold to the Catalan team. Espanyol got promoted and executed the 1.6 million Euro option for a player who’s featured for about half the matches this year in Segunda. 
  • Striker Mario Gonzalez, who netted 15 goals in the Portuguese First Division with Tondela this season, is about to join Braga for about 3 million Euro if negotiations end well. I have mentioned I think it’s a mistake to sell him now, as I see a lot of potential in him, but if we are not playing him, we might as well let him go.  
  • Winger Javi Ontiveros is also likely to be on the way out, as the Spaniard does not count for Emery and, after not even playing that much for Huesca, he looks to be on the list to be sold this summer. Javi roughly cost 8 million Euro, and given his performance, I think it will be hard to make up most of that amount. 

Stay tuned, later this week we will update on the players coming in, and the ones rumored to join!