With the World Cup swirling, club football gets lost in the background. Now that the US has been knocked out, my feet are returning to the ground, and while keeping one eye on South Africa, it is almost time to start looking towards next season.
So far, Villarreal's players in South Africa have been hit-or-miss. Diego Godin has been a force in the back whenever he has been in. Capdevila has been solid, but not especially involved to this point. Nilmar, unfortunately, is facing the likes of Bastos, Robinho, and Kaka among others, and it has been tough for him to find playing time.
Although there has been a lull in Villarreal off-the-pitch news, it has picked up a bit over the last couple of days.
Most importantly, Villarreal were supposed to learn tomorrow if they are to play in the Europa League next season. Unfortunately, RFEF have apparently avoided the question as to whether Mallorca should be stripped of its license, and has passed the question off to UEFA. It will now be up to the European officials to decide if Mallorca keeps its license. If Mallorca loses it, then Villarreal should be in.
On July 29, Villarreal can look forward to a nice preseason matchup against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane in London. I believe some other friendlies have been scheduled, and I will get those up here shortly.
Villarreal have placed a 3m euro price tag on veteran midfielder Marcos Senna, as he looks to be less and less in their plans for the future. There is reported interest from clubs in Brazil, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Turkey. Any deal, apparently, would have to at least be for 2.5m euros. I can see him ending up in Turkey or Brazil, but I am not too sure about the other locales. As of right now, there are no offers, and he plans on reporting to Vila-real on July 12th.
Villarreal are reportedly tracking Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenburg, who is currently starting for the Netherlands at the World Cup. This is due to the very possible transfer of Diego Lopez in the coming month. It will be interesting to see, if Lopez does go, if Villarreal will be content with Juan Carlos and Xavi Oliva, or if they will go after someone new.
Diego Godin's strong tournament, on top of his regular good play for Villarreal, is attracting some strong interest, particularly from the city of Milan. Apparently both Internazionale and AC Milan are considering an offer for him. Villarreal have said that they will hold fast to their 20m euro price tag they have for him. I would be shocked if he didn't end up going, although I would love to see him stay at the club for another year or two.
All the action seems to be in Italy this summer. In one of the crazier rumors I have seen, Jozy Altidore (along with fellow US forward/midfielder Clint Dempsey) has been linked to Napoli. No way that happens. A scenario much more likely would be that he actually stays at Villarreal as a 4th striker (not including Montero).
So far, Villarreal have either sold, loaned or released six players - Llorente (Real Sociedad), Escudero (Boca Juniors), and Marcano (Getafe) to other teams, and Pires, Ibagaza, and Javi Venta set free. A few more could leave over the next month, meaning that we still do not have a great picture of what the club will look like come August.