Lots of news this morning my time:
(1) Mateo Musacchio has said his goodbyes. He thanked the fans for their support, was very emotional as he said it was ‘harder to leave than he thought it would be’. It is going to feel strange not seeing him on the pitch for us next season, after eight years here.
(2) Daniele Bonera is celebrating his 36th birthday today! And his birthday present from Villarreal CF was another one-year contract. He played well when he did play (though he had some physical ailments over the course of the season) and everyone says he is a great guy to have around and provides valuable experience. Can’t argue with any of that.
(3) But the big news is we have signed Enes Ünal from Manchester City. It is another one of those purchases with a buyback option: we pay €14m now and get Ünal’s rights, Man City can buy him back for €20m if they want. He’s going to sign a four-year deal with us, I don’t know if the buyback provision runs that long.
Immediate reaction: This is great, it’s not even June yet and we’ve made a splash. Ünal is 20 years old, he’s played 43 games in the Dutch league and scored 26 times, and he’s been a prolific scorer for Turkey’s youth sides as well. He can’t currently play in England as he doesn’t qualify for a work permit, so Man City needed to do something with him. Clubs in France, Portugal and Spain were all interested.
Unless someone leaves, Ünal joins Soldado, Bakambu and Sansone in our striker force. Santos Borré has been returned and Adrián López is presumably not returning either.
More detailed reaction: Good for both sides, I think. If Ünal can translate his success in the Eredivisie to La Liga, it’s possible Man City will buy him back, though the work permit issue complicates things. If they do, then we had a Vietto.
If Ünal needs more time to settle and mature, that’s great, he knows where he can be for the next three-four years to develop his game. At age 20, some stability after three loans can only be a good thing.
This probably closes the door on Sandro joining Villarreal—or more precisely, indicates to us that Villarreal don’t believe they really had a chance for him; Sandro had been linked with us, but in more recent days it appears maybe he’ll move to an EPL side (Everton possibly). Atletico Madrid’s transfer ban has been upheld, so he probably won’t go there.
Then again, if we have the opportunity, I’m sure we’d take it.
Barring anyone leaving, we are looking for one or possibly two central defenders (Botia from Olympiakos, Lucas Quarta from River Plate, and Diego Reyes are the three most mentioned). We shall see!