Could Villarreal be in the market for The Pirate? (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Obviously the big news of the day is the Champions League draw, and one of my colleagues has already posted a look at our opponents--quick off the mark, indeed !! It is a favorable draw compared to what we could have had, but the job is not done--now to go out and win through.
Other news--Spain plays a friendly against Italy on August 10 (same day as we play Elche, I believe) and there are no Villarreal players included in the Spanish side, I assume by design with the CL qualifier only a week away. (Capdevila isn't included either since Benfica are in the same boat). However, Rossi is in the Italian side, and we may lose Pérez, Nilmar and Zapata to other friendlies that day. Ex-amarillo (sob!) Santi Cazorla is included.
Nicki Bille has indeed been sent to Elche on loan for the upcoming season (sorry, Jens, but hopefully it will all work out and he'll come back next year a stronger player!)
And of course as I write this the team is heading off to England for two friendlies; Everton today at 2:45EDT, Wigan on Sunday (I think 10 or 11 AM EDT, will have to confirm). Here is a long preview from the Liverpool Daily Post, in part repeating Arteta's comments about what an attractive footballing side Villarreal is (blush).
What of the transfer market, I hear you say!!!
As posted earlier in one of the comment threads, Villarreal is interested in adding a pirate to the Submarine's Crew--that would be Esteban Granero. However, it's speculation at this point, and as we know Madrid aren't the easiest team to deal with. Still, we can get a little bit excited, right?
And the Jonathan De Guzman saga continues. I believe our resident expert Kenez may have it right--he noted that with Mallorca in administration they may find it hard to turn down a fair deal, and the latest is Mallorca have asked Villarreal to put an offer in writing they can take to the administrator.
An EPM report recapping the situation is here; my sense is if Mallorca can save face with its fans by telling them the administrator has ordered them to sell De Guzman to the hated Villarreal, the deal will happen. Otherwise, Villarreal moves on to plan B, which might include Granero and/or Gio Dos Santos. Surely this will be resolved soon!!
Finally, El Pais reports that we may indeed come up with a shirt sponsor!! Sounds like it depends on whether we defeat Odense or not, though. The article does have some interesting information about shirt sponsorships in La Liga, including the fact that Villarreal received €4m/year from the airport deal, and Valencia is still owed money by Unibet for their shirt deal. Interesting.