Learning about contractual information in soccer is a tough task. The lengths of player contracts and amounts of release clauses often seem determined by a blind throw at a dartboard.
Goal.com recently published the list of La Liga players who will become free agents at the end of the 2011-12 season. Villarreal has six players on the list, both old and young.
Goalkeepers (2): Diego Mariño, César Sánchez.
Defenders (2): Mario Gaspar, Ángel López.
Midfielders (1): Marcos Senna.
Strikers (1): Gerard Bordas.
Most of these players will be re-signed, even if only to profit from a potential transfer. But what is the case for each one's continuity at El Madrigal? A quick analysis below. Share your thoughts in the comments.
Gerard Bordas: An 'A' for effort, at least. Our thirty-year-old striker has received another chance under Juan Carlos Garrido, but he hasn't done much in limited minutes. His situation reminds me of that of Cristóbal Márquez, who moved to Ukrainian side Karpaty Lviv over the summer. Odds of a new offer: 25%.
Mario Gaspar: Lost, then found, his place in the starting XI. Competition has returned for his right back spot (now Ángel, then Cristián Zapata), but Mario is certainly a worthy squad player. We hope for more pace and greater offensive awareness; remember that he turns 21 next week. That's upside. Odds of a new offer: 99%.
Ángel López: An interesting case. No new deal in place for a fixture in the starting XI is odd, but consider his injuries. Hurt at the Bernabéu in January, expected back by September, yet to start as of mid-November. Not good.
Once expected to star for La Furia Roja, Ángel's time is running out at age 30. A new deal seems likely, but it depends on: (1) any lingering injury effects; and (2) the extent of his personal ambitions. I could envision him as a "weak link" at a big club, but his medical history may scare away potential suitors. Odds of a new offer: 80%.
Diego Mariño: Limited only by the pecking order. Diego López has owned the net for the 'A' team, forcing the talented Juan Carlos to: (1) ride the pine; and (2) go on loan to Elche in search of playing time. Expect a similar lateral move next season for the Spanish U-21 goalkeeper, as he has outgrown the Segunda. One for the future. Odds of a new offer: 99%.
César Sánchez: Nearing the end of a distinguished career. César was not out of place as a stand-in for Diego López, but his reflexes are not what they used to be. And I'm not sure his body could hold up on a weekly basis (see below). His most valuable asset may be his presence in the changing room. Youth should be served in goal come next season. Odds of a new offer: 35%.
Marcos Senna: A sentimental favorite, particularly of one of our writers. Once a fixture in the doble pivote, Senna now can hardly stay on the pitch. The thirty-five-year-old midfielder still has clout behind closed doors and with referees, but an injured hamstring has impeded him since Euro 2008. A shame, really. His country of origin beckons when he calls time on his career in Spain. Odds of a new offer: 50%.