Okay, so Villarreal announced the squad for our next match, a friendly in Avignon against Olympique Marseille. Before commenting on who is not included, let’s look at who is:
- Keepers: Asenjo, Andrés y Barbosa.
- Defenders: Mario Gaspar, Jaume Costa, Adrián Marín, Bonera, Álvaro, Víctor Ruiz, Funes Mori y Miguelón.
- Midfielders: Cáseres, Santi Cazorla, Raba, Pablo Fornals, Alfonso Pedraza, Leo Suárez, Nahuel, Morlanes, Samu Castillejo y Ramiro Guerra.
- Strikers: Gerard Moreno, Sansone y Toko Ekambi.
Miguelón has been rumored to be joining Elche on loan, but is included here; he and Adrian Marín are the two defenders whose position isn’t assured.
Midfield is crowded too; Ramiro, Nahuel and Leo Suarez aren’t too likely to remain with the first team, Morlanes is expected to cycle between the first and second team. We know that Nahuel’s contract has to be reworked before he’s loaned again, though.
Nicola Sansone replaces Unal—does that mean anything?
The players not included are those recuperating from summer surgery or rehab (Bruno, Manu Trigueros, Javi Fuego—and I would include Unal in this group), or those not yet with the team (Layun, whose flight from Mexico got canceled, and Cheryshev). All of these, along with Pau Torres and Alfred N’Diaye (whom the official communicate pointedly noted trained with the first team today) will head to Navata (near Girona) where our preseason ‘stage’ will take place.
Roberto Soriano is not travelling to either place as his wife is getting ready to or has recently given birth, I’m not sure which.
Now to read the tea leaves: Sansone is interesting because expectations have been he will be moving on. But maybe not?
Sansone’s future is probably tied to Carlos Bacca’s, though. There were some reports in Italian papers (yes, I know) that Milan had agreed to sell him to us for €11m or so. However, those came out before Milan won their appeal and were reinstated in the Europa League—will that change anything?
Everyone should be reminded that Villarreal has done a lot of transfer business very early in this window. (We bought Sansone and Roberto Soriano in early August, Unal at the end of July, and worked out a loan deal for Bacca August 16 of last year, to give you an idea). So while things have been quiet after the World Cup in the transfer market generally, look for that hiatus to come to an end very soon.