The season hasn't yet ended, but Villarreal brass are already looking at the projected 2015-16 roster and considering what holes need to be filled. The word is we may have as many as 8 new players: a keeper, two central defenders, three wingers and two strikers!
Goalkeeper: With Asenjo's injury and prolonged rehab, we'd like to have a keeper with experience in La Liga, preferably someone we can take on a year loan with an option. Names already tossed about are Rulli (Real Sociedad), Andres Fernandez (Porto, ex-Osasuna), WIlly Caballero (Man City, ex-Malaga and others).
B team help: Aitor could be a backup, but no other help for now.
Defense: Chechu Dorado will NOT return for one more season--that decision has been made. Villarreal still have to negotiate with Valencia over Victor Ruiz (and with Ruiz, whose salary is rather high for our pay structure). So of the four central defenders, it's possible only Bailly will be ready to start the season, and he and Musacchio (when he returns) should be our main pairing.
Returning loanees: We do have Alexsandar Pantic returning on loan from Cordoba, so he could presumably fill a spot. But if Ruiz goes, we might still want two other bodies even with Pantic. Have heard nothing about Pablo Iñiguez (Girona), but if he came back he'd have to fit in here; we are OK in the defensive midfield.
On the wings, we have a good foursome, with Rukavina, Mario Gaspar, Jaume Costa and Bojan Jokic, plus Adrian Marin, who had a promising debut before injury. We're not looking to move any of these players, but of course you never know what might happen (Mario Gaspar has been attracting some interest from Barcelona, if you believe the rumors).
B team help: Unfortunately, defense was the weak point of both our B and C teams, in part due to injuries. I don't see anyone ready to make the jump other than Marin at this point.
Midfield: The pivote is in pretty good shape, with Bruno, Pina, Trigueros and Jonathan dos Santos all available. But the wings are a different matter. Joel Campbell won't return, Cani is not coming back, and (sigh) it looks as though Cheryshev is not going to be available next year either. That only leaves Moi, though I think Jona could play on the wing if we had a Cheryshev-type opposite him. Jaume Costa, not so much.
Returning loanees: Javier Aquino (Rayo), Javier Espinosa (Almeria), Hernan Perez (Valladolid). I'm expecting Aquino to move on, not sure about Espinosa. We already sold Hernán once so will probably let him move on (he has one year left on his contract). Regardless, we need an influx of speed for counterattacks.
B team help: Sergio Marcos could help, but again he's a central midfielder, not really what we need. I'd like him to be a Bruno understudy, though. Some other players (Aleix Garcia, for instance) are very talented, but a year or two away.
Striker: The goals-by-committee approach broke down late in the season, so the team says it would like to build the attack around a "power scorer". Well, so would we all.
That "power scorer" could be Vietto, in theory, and probably will have to be if he remains. I sense we'd be OK with moving Uche and/or Gio, though, if the offers were right; as for Gerard, I think the club would like to see him continue in yellow, but again you never know what offers might come round (rumor this morning is Tottenham are scouting him).
Returning loanees: Jony Pereira (Valladolid). Jony scored the goal that got us back to the Primera, and for that I will always be grateful, but giving him a four-year contract was just not a great idea. It's got two more years to run, but I just can't see a role for him in Villarreal. He's fast, but gets physically dominated in the Primera as a second striker, and isn't a two-way player, so putting him on the wing wouldn't work either.
B team help: Fran Sol (11 goals in Segunda B) could get a look, though I'd expect we might prefer to lend him to a Segunda side. Nicholas Leiva could get a shot, but again we might want to give him a year in the Segunda to see how he develops. It worked well for Gerard.