clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The La Liga relegation race: Part Two--Players

Who might be made available to Villarreal if their club is relegated? Some possibilities.

Who might Marcelino look to add to his squad this summer?
Who might Marcelino look to add to his squad this summer?
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

In Part One, I examined the teams in danger of being relegated. Now let's consider the players in the bottom five squads. Who might be made available if their club is relegated that Villarreal might want? We'll start at the bottom and work our way up.

I will ignore players on loan, and I will also assume none of these guys are on such high salaries that signing them would wreck our wage structure. (I think with a few possible exceptions, that's certainly true). I am also going to assume that clubs would be interested in selling to us (no Valencia here), and I am focusing on centerbacks, strikers and central midfielders, areas where I think the Submarine will be trying to add depth and quality this summer.

Betis-- There are a lot of older players on this squad who ought to get a look. Villarreal has already been linked with 32-year old striker Rubén Castro. 43 goals in the last three seasons, but how much does he have left? Under contract until June 2015.

Joan Verdú joined Betis from Espanyol, where he was a pretty useful attacking midfielder. But things haven't worked out for him in Seville, and though he's under contract until 2017 I don't see him staying to battle in the Segunda. At age 30, he's going to want to move somewhere in a topflight league. I expect him to try his luck in the EPL, frankly.

Salva Sevilla is another 30 year-old attacking midfielder who people like, and he's out of contract at the end of this year. He's perhaps more likely to stay around and try to help Betis get back to the Primera, I would have thought.

What about Chilean international Lorenzo Reyes? The 23 year-old central midfielder is still adapting to La Liga, and though he's under contract for three more years, he's surely not going to want to stick around in the Segunda. I have not seen much of him, but he could be a cheap option with lots of upside, especially since we need another player who can play in the midfield pivote.

Almeria-- We know these guys very well, though unfortunately their best prospects (Rodri, Suso) are on loan. Still, I am a big fan of Aleix Vidal. He can play on either wing or in attacking midfield, and though he's under contract until 2017, would Almeria try that hard to keep him?I'd spend €2-2.5m on him in a heartbeat.

The other nice prospect here is defensive midfielder Verza-- he's scored seven this season though he is yellow-card happy (10 so far). 27 years old, under contract only until 2015 so Almeria might cash in on him now. Maybe less consistent and with less upside than Aleix, though.

Getafe--unlike the first two squads, these guys have been in the Primera for a while, so there could be a bunch of guys available if they go down. Pedro León is the most obvious--yes, the ex-Madrid man is injury prone, but when he's right he is an excellent attacking midfielder--and he's played more minutes this year than in any since 2006. He is probably worth €4-5m, but if Getafe are relegated, could we get him for less?

Pablo Sarabia is another midfielder I like--he's only 21, but it could be Getafe would try to rebuild around him. Still, worth a look for sure--he has a lot of upside.

Ángel Lafita is another midfielder (that's this team's strength) but he may be on the downside of his career--after a promising beginning at Depor, the 29-year old has regressed at Zaragoza and Getafe. More likely to stick around and provide some Segunda experience, I should have thought.

Mehdi Lacen is an Algerian international, 29 years old, under contract until 2015. A defensive midfielder; he could add some strength to the pivote, but how would he fit into the group we now have? I also suspect that his profile is high enough one of the midtable EPL sides might be interested, and they will overpay for him. Still, worth a look.

There is one guy I like in defense, too--Roberto Lago, who can play both left back and centerback. He's 28, will be out of contract in 2015, and to be honest there just aren't that many centerbacks on these relegation teams I've been impressed with. He came to Getafe on a free, too, so why shouldn't they sell him off to bring some cash if they go down?

Valladolid-- Villarreal were linked to two excellent players on this team--Javi Guerra and Marc Valiente. Guerra is a slightly younger Ruben Castro, and with 13 goals this season and gobs in the Segunda for Valladolid he doesn't really have anything else to prove here, and I think he is out of contract too. I can see other Primera teams being interested, maybe not the EPL so much. Could be a good fit for Villarreal as we try to upgrade our strikers.

Marc Valiente is 27 years old and is probably the best center back who could made available via relegation. He is under contract for a couple of years, unlike Guerra, but like him is probably not that interested in returning back to the Segunda with the Pucela.

And then, there's Antonio Rukavina. A Serbian international and an excellent right back, he would be an excellent addition to any back line. I suspect he will leave Spain if Valladolid go down, though--perhaps to the Bundesliga or EPL. Still, worth a look.

Villarreal also have to decide what to do about Diego Mariño, whether Valladolid go down or not. We have a cheap repurchase option which I think we'd do well to use in case negotiations with Atletico over Asenjo get bogged down.

Osasuna-- Yes, Oriol Riera has 11 goals. Remiscent of Marco Rubén--could he be a nice changeup option for us up front? The other guy I really like is Alejandro Arribas at centerback. He's 24, has one more year on his contract and he's full of intensity and fire. He might want to help Osasuna in the Segunda, but I'd say he's Primera material for sure.

Those are my thoughts--what about yours? Who have I left out, who have I overpraised? Comment below!!