Season Review 2020/21: The Departures
With the precarious financial situation at the club presently, Valencia once again found themselves having to sell several key players during the summer just as an attempt to balance the books. Many key departures happened prior to the arrival of new manager Sie Barlow, and with extremely limited funds, he was left with the inevitable challenge of really struggling to replace some of the core squad from recent years.
Without doubt the biggest loss was the departure of promising youngster Ferran Torres, who headed to England to sign with Manchester City in a deal thought to be worth around £20 million for the Spanish side. Since breaking into the first team set up from the Mestalla side, Torres has featured more frequently each passing season, with 44 appearances and 6 goals during his final season. The 21 year old exciting winger was just 3 shy of 100 appearances for the first team, extremely impressive for such a young player, when he opted to make the switch to the Premier League to join Pep Guardiola’s men. Perhaps more surprising was the decision then taken by City themselves, allowing him to join rival club Chelsea on loan for the season, despite having initially made the City first team and indeed opened his scoring account in a 2-0 win over Leeds. He has struggled to cement a place during his loan switch, with just 6 starts and 16 from the bench, although he did score twice also in the FA Cup for his new side.
Another double figure transfer fee was that commanded was that for midfield general Geoffrey Kondogbia, who made the switch to the Spanish capital to sign for Atlético Madrid as a direct replacement for Thomas Partey, who headed to London to sign for Arsenal. The transfer of Partey, in a roundabout way, may have led to Arsenal allowing Smith Rowe to join Valencia on loan for the season, but there is no doubt the departure of Kondogbia, who had been a stand-out player for Valencia since arriving from Internazionale, initially on loan, led to youngster Yunus Musah been thrown into midfield. Since his move, the 28 year old former Sevilla and Monaco man was used mainly as a squad player, making just 8 starts in the league for his new club.
Another transfer with links to Arsenal was the departure of Francis Coquelin, another midfielder, who headed to fellow La Liga side Villarreal for £6 million, again a relatively low fee driven in large by the economic situation at the Mestalla. The former Arsenal stalwart, who spent 10 years with the North London side, has been a regular fixture for his new club, with 33 starts and 2 goals as the club finished 8th. One move Barlow did sanction was the sale of Rubén Sobrino, the former Manchester City forward returning to England to sign for Newcastle United in a £4.1 million transfer. With the form shown by both Gameiro and Gómez, and Barlow needing funds to spend elsewhere, it seemed logical to allow Sobrino to move on as he was highly unlikely to feature, with no guarantee he would even have been registered in the squad. Since moving to the North East, he has faced a similar challenge with just four appearances in total, 2 coming from the bench, and a solitary goal in a 3-1 defeat at home to Leicester, with his new side, although he has scored 22 times for the reserves, where he has played the majority of his football.
The other big loss from the dressing room was that of the experienced Dani Parejo, the former Real Madrid man also making the switch to Villarreal alongside Coquelin, on a free transfer after the expiration of his contract at the Mestalla. Like his compatriot, he has become a regular with his new side, making 28 starts in the league and 6 in the Europa League. After nearly 400 competitive appearances for Valencia during a 9 season span, his influence off the field as much as on it have been missed, with the club now looking to several other of the more experienced squad players to step up and fill the void.
Other departures included several of the younger players who Barlow felt would be better served forging a career elsewhere, while the transfer fees, minimal as they were, and reduction of the wage bill would at least help slightly as the club bid to stabilise their finances further.Share this: