Season Review 2020/21: The New Arrivals
Despite the disappointment of missing out on the title, there is no doubt this has been a sensational season for Valencia, and below we look at the arrivals this season.
There is no doubting the signing of the season was the arrival of Uruguayan winger Nicolás De La Cruz in the winter transfer market. The 23 year old wide man, signed from River Plate for £2.3 million in January, hit the ground running with his new club, and became a key fixture on the left hand side of midfield for the remainder of the season, making 25 starts for his new club and weighing in with 4 goals and 9 assistances during his first 6 months in Spain.
Veteran defender Antonio Valencia, who arrived on a free transfer last summer, was also an integral part of the first team set up, making 11 starts and another 19 appearances from the bench in a twilight season of his career, the 35 year old looking set to depart in the summer. As expected, the loan signings were used mainly as squad rotation players, emphasised by Emile Smith Rowe, on loan from English side Arsenal, making 29 appearances from the bench but just 3 starts. Joshua Zirkzee, on loan from Bayern, also found game time limited although he did find the net 4 times for Valencia in a total of 25 appearances. Boško Šutalo, meanwhile, found it almost impossible to break into the preferred back line at the club, with just 2 starts and 9 appearances from the bench, much to the anger of parent club Atalanta.
Another who failed to break into the defensive set up was Kevin Sibille, signed before Barlow took over. The 22 year old centre half was used predominantly with Valencia B, while also enjoying a loan spell with Extremadura. Rodri, the promising 21 year old midfielder signed from Real Betis, was also sent back out on loan, staring heavily for Melilla in the Segunda division, making 26 starts and scoring 7 times from an advanced midfield role.
Free transfer arrival Daniel Sturridge made just one appearance before injury curtailed his season, and the former Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City striker will be let go in the summer after failing to prove his fitness. Veteran utility man Vieirinha is another who could be set to leave, the 35 year old being drafted in to provide cover in the winter transfer window for just £400k, and making 3 starts and 9 appearances from the bench during the second half of the season, in which he also picked up a Copa Del Rey winners’ medal. At the other end of the career spectrum, 22 year old German striker Janni Serra was bought to develop, and he only made one appearance from the bench in the latter stages of the season, with the club likely to loan him out next year to continue his development.Share this: