Happy Birthday Cani!! (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
As reported earlier this morning, Jonathan De Guzman appears to be the player we're moving to sign in midfield. The price has been variously reported as €6 to 8 million, though most reports agree on the lower figure. De Guzman fits the profile of a player we were looking for--he's young (23), has lots of upside, qualifies as an EU player, and has La Liga experience.
The surprising thing is that Villarreal have been able to negotiate this deal given the enmity Real Mallorca has had for us since last summer, but evidently the teams have agreed on a deal and all that remains is for De Guzman to sign on the dotted line. Presumably that will happen soon. And if for some reason it doesn't, Gio Dos Santos is our "plan B". He might be the more talented of the two but I think De Guzman's style might be better suited to us, plus Gio has had some off-the-field issues. Not that there are too many nightclubs in Vila-real for him to visit.
Presumably, de Guzman might take number #16, because the club named a first team of 21 players and gave them numbers 1-23, with only Santi's former #8 and #16 not assigned to someone. A minor surprise is that Gerard Bordas has made the first team squad, though then again at age 29 he doesn't have many options left. It's nice for him but I wouldn't expect him to see much playing time.
Hernán Pérez, on the other hand, should get minutes, and he's the other B-teamer promoted. Villarreal heads off to England soon for matches against Everton and Wigan, and 24 players are making the trip. In addition to those on the first team list, Mano and Dorian Dervite are among the defensive players chosen, while Marcos Gullón and Jordi Pablo are among the midfielders.
Angel Lopez is not included on the trip--he's still recovering from his knee injury in the spring and has some tenderness in the patella region, and doesn't want to take a chance on things, though he hopes to return for the Elche match.
Rossi news:he has told everyone he's happy at Villarreal, has no wish to leave, the club has also said he is not going anywhere. Which may not stop Atleti from asking about him, or even Harry Redknapp from trying another last-minute bid, but nothing is going to happen at this point!
By the way, the official site has a new Villarreal TV segment centred around the making of the Xtep commercial in China. It's sad to see Santi in yellow for the last time, laughing and joking with everyone, admittedly, but has some fine moments all the same. If you watch it, pay attention near the end--there are some flashy shirts, yellow but with some blue and red!(!) on them, that have been getting a lot of positive buzz from Villarreal fans. As far as we can tell, they were samples made up for the spot, but we're hoping Xtep will respond to the feedback and produce them for sale.
Finally, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Ruben Gracia Calmache, better known as CANI, who turns 30 today. He's expected to be a major player in the team this year, as this AS article states. He has played very well in the past six months and so far in preseason, so we have every confidence it will indeed be a big year for him. Happy Birthday Cani!!