If there is one club that isn't too happy with Villarreal as of late, it has to be Liverpool. The Merseysiders appear to have been beaten out by Villarreal for one of their defensive targets, and Liverpool's hopes of signing Villarreal captain Santi Cazorla look to be falling flat.
Yesterday, the big news was that Villarreal had signed (or at least agreed to a deal with) Cristián Zapata from Udinese, beating out Liverpool for his signature. The deal has not been officially confirmed, and will not be until Zapata returns from his Copa America turn with Columbia. Notably, Zapata did not play last night in Columbia's 0-0 draw with Argentina.
Villarreal central defender Gonzalo Rodriguez, who is recovering well from his fractured fibula and has been training at Villarreal's Sports City, said with regard to Zapata's signing, "Defense is one of the areas the club and the coach have sought to strengthen, and I hope [Zapata] comes [to Villarreal] with the will to fight for a place at this club because here, nobody gives you anything. " (rough translation).
There were also rumors moving about that Santi Cazorla was a major target for Liverpool, and that a bid would be forthcoming shortly. Villarreal owner and president Fernando Roig said yesterday that no bids for Santi had been received, either from Liverpool or from Málaga. But perhaps more importantly, it is being reported that Cazorla has "pledged his future to Villarreal." According to insidefutbol.com, Santi said
I am very happy at Villarreal, we will play in the Champions League, a very important competition. The club has helped me to grow up and I will always be grateful to it.
That sounds similar to what happened when Real Madrid submitted a bid for Santi Cazorla back in summer 2009 after Manuel Pellegrini moved to the capital. Santi not only turned down the deal to the overhyped giants, but he signed a huge six year renewal if memory serves.
Fernando Roig also came out and said that he fully expects Giuseppe Rossi to stay with Villarreal for 2011-2012, despite the persistent rumors that he will be headed out to Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur, Napoli, or some other club over the summer. In fact, Roig expects Rossi to score more than 40 goals next term! As of now, there have been no bids filed for Rossi, so the rumors of a bid from Juventus are apparently unfounded. Asking for 40 goals is a little steep, but perhaps it shows a little bit of Roig's mindset as far as the transfer goes - where do you think Roig would look to try and find an affordable striker who could knock in 40 goals and take the club far into the Champions League? I don't think he would be able to find that anywhere else than on the back of number 22.
Jozy Altidore, almost surely on his way away from Villarreal after a few tumultuous years in and out of Vila-real, is still a target for Dutch side AZ Alkmaar. Their technical director, former USA Men's Team star Ernie Stewart, said "We have some candidates for the top position in mind and that definitely includes Altidore." That seems like a pretty likely destination at this point, assuming that the rumors are correct that Udinese was unwilling to take him in a deal that would have reduced the price for Zapata.
One more discussion to update - there have been no bids received for Joan Capdevila. Various rumors have seen him transferring to Barcelona or Galatasaray, but nothing looks likely as of now.