Valencia window analysis – what have Valencia done & what do they need to do?| SolSportHQ
In: Cenk Ozkacar (Olympique Lyon), Pepelu (Levante)
Loan returns: Koba Koinkredi (Real Oviedo), Uros Racic (Braga), Jorge Saenz (Leganes)
Out: Ilaix Moriba (RB Leipzig), Nico Gonzalez (Barcelona), Samuel Lino (Atletico Madrid), Justin Kluivert (Roma), Iago Herrerin (libre), Toni Lato (Real Mallorca)
Summary so far: Cenk’s loan deal was made permanent, in a decent if not great signing. There will be plenty of criticism for Meriton, but credit where it is due, the signing of Pepelu looks like a good one. At 24, Pepelu was one of the standout players for Levante in Segunda last season, and a reason they came so close to promotion. Lauded for his all-round game, he obviously has to convert those performances from Segunda to Primera, but looks an excellent addition.
Ilaix and Nico have been useful at times, but Pepelu’s arrival will probably help fans to forget about them. Lato’s exit sees one of their favourite Paterna sons head off, but it was a move that everyone will give their blessing in light of Jose Luis Gaya’s continued domination of the left flank.
Loanees Lino and Kluivert will be missed though. Lino was one of the few Valencia players capable of making defenders think twice with the ball at his feet, while Kluivert’s tireless running in behind and persistence became a key part of their attack. Both ended with six goals, making them Valencia’s top scorers, and hinting where the next section is going.
The talents expected to raise money this summer which have been mentioned so far are Yunus Musah and Giorgi Mamardashvili. The latter in particular would be a major loss. Clawing Valencia through several key moments, they won’t be able to replace him with a player of the same quality in all likelihood.
Key Need: Valencia have a decision to make with Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan missed a number of games last season, but also a stream of good chances. Converting just 5 times, Cavani has another year on his deal, and Los Che must decide if they want to put his wastefulness down to fitness issues and failure to bed in, or they look at alternatives. On paper he was the experience and the quality to guide this young squad forward, the reality last season was he was unable to demonstrate either.
It is the issue that Valencia must solve immediately, because surviving with your top scorer getting just six goals is clearly doable once, but you wouldn’t like to try it again. Marcos Andre, Hugo Duro and youngster Diego Lopez are the alternatives currently, and neither of the pros showed much pedigree in the previous two seasons. Knowing Meriton, they are likely to take the more cost-effective solution, so they will be hoping the experienced Uruguayan can find his form again.
Beneath the Surface: In Cavani’s defence, the support acts were somewhat uninspiring for the most part too. Samu Castillejo can provide good service, but the 28-year-old is their only senior winger in the squad as things stand, and so this is a fairly essential need too if Baraja wants to supply Cavani or someone else. Ambitious, young, pacey wingers tend to be available on loan from big clubs, but they also tend to be erratic, and something of a gamble – hence why they are available. Fixing the supply chain to the frontline is a necessity. Valencia survived last season, but not by much, and they cannot afford to allow these issues to go unaddressed.