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Giovani dos Santos: Returning to Spain?

I'll take dos Santos brothers for $600, Alex.
I'll take dos Santos brothers for $600, Alex.

It's nice to get away for a few days on vacation. It's even better to have a full squad one week before your first competitive match. But Villarreal does not have this luxury in 2011.

Most of the squad is complete, though I disagree with EPM's lineup. The local paper envisions:

Mario - Musacchio - Zapata - Oriol
Borja - Bruno - Marchena - Cani
Rossi - Camuñas

I can't imagine Nilmar misses out, and something in the CB/DM combinations seems off. But Oriol may have solidified the left back position with Catalá on the shelf and Gonzalo slow to recover from his surgery.

In the transfers out category, Nilmar looks to be staying put. 24 million is the asking price, and AS Roma is not buying.

And we are worried about Málaga paying for Santi Cazorla. 19 million euros are due on Monday to make the sale effective. Wonder if we won't sign a new player until then? Speaking of which...

The current hot rumor is Mexican international Giovani dos Santos. But this is contingent on not reaching an agreement for Jonathan de Guzmán. Reports in Mexico say we bid 6 million for the Tottenham striker, who spent the spring on loan impressing for Racing Santander.

Gio is 22, and de Guzmán is 23, so youth and speed are in both players. But Gio would replace a Rossi better than a Cazorla, as his best attribute is taking on defenders with the ball at his feet. Jo. de Guzmán is an out-and-out midfielder, so I doubt he can score goals like Gio's against the U.S. in the Gold Cup final.

Sevilla is afraid either way, as they sense a Valero-like swoop by Villarreal for their target Gio. Nice to hear that we have options, but I'd like to get de Guzmán at the 6 million price and move on.

Finally, the Primera and Segunda schedules for the opening two rounds are set. The A team hosts Sporting on Saturday 8/20 (2 pm ET) and visits Barcelona on Monday 8/29 (3 pm). On that topic, Rubén Cani wants a quick start to the year and knows that a lot is expected of him.

The B team kicks off the professional season in Spain at home to local rivals Hércules on Friday 8/19 (3 pm) and visits Barcelona B on Saturday 8/27 (10 am). Another doubleheader with Barca: stay tuned for our coverage.

The A team's last friendly is tomorrow against perennial Segunda promotion candidate Elche. Juan Carlos and Nicki Bille Nielsen are with our local rivals, so the match should be interesting. And the B team lost its undefeated preseason record, falling 3-1 to Huesca. Just win when it counts, boys.