Villarreal may have finished 6th in La Liga last year and qualified for the Europa League, but the Yellow Submarine has certainly not stood pat this summer.
In: Javier Espinosa (free), Antonio Rukavina (free), Jonathan dos Santos, Luciano Vietto, Sergio Asenjo (bought after loan period expired), Denis Cheryshev (new loan), Gerard Moreno (returned from loan)
Out: Jeremy Perbet (sold), Jony Pereira, Javier Aquino, Alexsandar Pantic (all loaned out), Joan Roman, Oliver Torres (loans expired, not renewed).
That is, believe it or not, a net gain of zero bodies: 6 out, 6 in, 1 loanee made permanent.
What of the net cost? Villarreal typically doesn't broadcast amounts paid or received, but if we figure Perbet brought €2m or so, the cost for Vietto was €5.5m, Asenjo €3m, J dos Santos €1.5m, the net expense is about €8m.
There are a couple of big outstanding issues:
(1) Jonathan de Guzmán
He is rated at around €9-10m now on transfermarkt, and I am sure we would like to get around €8m for him at least. Everything has gone remarkably quiet, though: Swansea were happy to buy ex-submarino Jefferson Montero, but unwilling to purchase de Guz. A few unpersuasive rumors early on that Louis van Gall might bring him to Man United, but no evidence of that either. He was hardly the standout Dutch player at the World Cup, but he wasn't poor either, and you'd think someone ought to be interested in a versatile midfielder with international experience, especially since he is still only 26.
(2) Mateo Musacchio and the center-back question
Villarreal don't want to part with Musacchio now, and have made it clear they want €15m themselves for him (based on the idea his release clause is €50m, and Villarreal gets about a third of the proceeds). The problem is his agent owns some of his rights (about a third) and the remaining third is in dispute between River Plate and Villarreal.
Musacchio would certainly make more salary at Tottenham, but it is really going to be hard for him to move there unless his agent and River Plate are willing to take huge cuts in their payments. The latest word from London is Spurs owner Daniel Levy is willing to wait and see what happens (on the theory that prices drop as clubs want to move players).
The key question here is whether Musacchio really wants to leave now, or is happy to play in Vila-real another year and see what happens. If he really wants to go to Spurs, he has to put pressure directly on his agent, and indirectly to River, to let him leave. Otherwise, he is pretty much going to stay here until Villarreal and River Plate can agree on how the transfer fee should be shared.
If Mateo leaves, we clearly need a replacement, and Maicon (Porto) has been talked about for the last month or two.
But apart from that, I am really surprised that we have not moved to strengthen this position at all. Gabriel, of course, only joined us midseason last term, Pablo Iñiguez missed most of it, but we seem to be relying on Musacchio as an everyday starter, Dorado as his preferred partner, with Gabriel stepping in when Dorado is hurt (as he often is). Iñiguez is talented, but an untested backup.
(3) Hernán Pérez
Lest we forget, the Paraguayan came back to us crocked after moving to Olympiacos. He is supposed to be available toward midseason. Might we send him on loan in the January transfer window? Hard to see anyone buying him until he's had a chance to show he's healthy again.
(4) Villarreal B and the push to get to the Segunda
It has been a busy summer for the B team, too. Juan Camara moved to Barcelona and will feature for the Baby Blaugrana; Juanto left for Real Murcia (currently threatened with administrative relegation), and there were other moves besides. Jose Naranjo has come from Recre's youth side to hopefully provide lots of goals; Anton Shvets joined from Zaragoza's youth side; Fran Sol from Madrid; David Cubillas from Huracán Valencia; and Israel Puerto came from Sevilla (and may be loaned to Zaragoza's first team). Keeper Miguel Bañuz joined us from Barca's B team, too. A lot of changes.
There is a good deal of talent coming up through our system: Aleix Garcia, Madger Gomes, and Adrian Márin all played for the Spanish U-17 squad last spring. Are they ready for regular B team duty?