Villarreal CF loans Altidore and Montero for remainder of season

The January transfer window has now closed, and perhaps the only surprise for Villarreal fans, and for that matter watchers of La Liga generally, is that so little took place on the deadline day. Villarreal had three goals in this transfer period: retain their best players, loan out a couple of prospects, and find some help in midfield. The first two occurred, the third didn't.

Of course the big news happened last week, with Giuseppe Rossi signing a contract extension until 2016. That didn't stop English papers reporting that Tottenham Hotspur had bid €25-30 million for his services yesterday, though there was never any confirmation from Rossi, his agent, or Villarreal that such an approach had been made (seems to me if Spurs were interested they would have bid before Rossi's new contract had been signed, but what do I know).

As for loaning out players, rumors in late January were that Villarreal were willing to let Altidore, Montero, Cristobal and Matilla go on loan, though Matilla has recently seen more playing time and was named to the bench against Espanyol. Sporting and Deportivo (and possibly Levante) had been linked with Jozy Altidore, and Turkish clubs had shown an interest in him earlier this season as well. On Monday morning it was reported Turkish champions Bursaspor were negotiating with Villarreal on an eighteen-month loan for Jozy, but then all went quiet. In the late afternoon a couple of US soccer sites reported Altidore was going on loan to Levante, but just after the transfer deadline Jozy himself tweeted the news that he would "be playing the rest of the season with Turkish champions Bursaspor on a six month loan" which the club later tersely confirmed. Kenny Miller (Rangers) is now there too, so we'll see how much playing time Jozy gets. The Turkish league is certainly not of La Liga's stature, and Bursaspor (currently second in the Turkish Super Lig) didn't impress in the Champions League--Valencia hammered them 6-1 at the Mestalla and 4-0 in Turkey, and they finished bottom of their group. I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm a little worried about this move--I would have preferred Jozy to agree to a loan deal in Spain where Villarreal could assess his progress a bit better-- but I wish him the best and hope he does well with the Green Crocodiles.

Sidarth will be writing a more detailed post later this week about Jefferson Montero; suffice it to say that it was pretty clear in recent days the club would prefer to loan him out within La Liga, and Levante was happy to oblige. Jeff is going there until the end of the year (he will not be eligible to play against us this weekend, however), and certainly Coach Garrido and the Villarreal brass will be able to watch him in action and get reports from the Levante staff on how he's doing. No question he has talent and natural gifts, but he's found the transition from the Segunda to the Primera hasn't been that easy, and now that we're mostly done with midweek matches and players have returned from injury he just didn't look likely to get major minutes.

As for Cristobal and Matilla, no news was no news. I'm sure Matilla, at least, will feature on the bench in upcoming matches until/when Senna is available.

Deadline day is always difficult; do you make a move for a player (and perhaps overpay for him) in your desperation to improve your team, or do you stand pat, hoping that in the summer you'll have a wider selection to choose from? No question Villarreal was looking for midfield help, but whatever contacts were made didn't work out. I have to think the Submarine was interested in Mallorca's Chori Castro, and there were clearly discussions going on involving this player yesterday; in the end Mallorca announced Castro would stay for now but would likely move in the summer. (Mallorca also announced a €12 million loss last year, so they can use the cash). And of course the Submarine had tried to obtain Zaragoza's Ander Herrera but in the end he signed with Athletic Bilbao.

The only deadline-day signing Villarreal announced was Wakaso Mubarak, a Ghanian midfielder who will join Villarreal's B team; he had until recently been plying his trade with Elche in the Segunda until his contract was canceled for disciplinary reasons. I don't know what exactly that involved, but evidently Villarreal was not too concerned about it because he's joined for two years. Still, anyone expecting a big signing had to be somewhat underwhelmed.

With Cicinho as our only January signing at the first-team level and Villarreal B currently in the Segunda promotion places (they're ineligible for promotion, of course), we may see current B-teamers such as Marcos Gullón, Hernán Pérez, Iago Falqué, Nicki Bille, etc. called up to provide cover before the end of the season. So a quiet transfer window on the whole, which is not necessarily a bad thing when your existing squad is continuing its best-ever season and is coming off a big road win. Endavant Villarreal!!

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