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Denis Cheryshev joins Valencia

Loan with a purchase option.

Levante UD v Villarreal CF - La Liga Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

We expected to lose our World Cup star Denis Cheryshev, but loaning him to Valencia was a bit of a surprise development. But that is what’s happening, as Chery rejoins former coach Marcelino at the Mestalla.

Cheryshev’s tenure in Villarreal (2014-15; 2016-18) was the most successful in its first year, actually (with Marcelino at the helm); he was part of a very successful counterattacking team and scored four goals in 26 appearances.

His last two years at Villarreal, under first Fran Escribá and then Javier Calleja, were less productive. The first of those years, he arrived injured after a brief loan spell at Valencia, and only played 11 matches in the league; his last appearance that year was in February, as he suffered a recurrence of his muscle injuries. Last season his injuries were fewer, but his playing time declined, and he only made nine starts. He just didn’t seem to have a defined role in Calleja’s different formations, or a role in our 2018-19 team. So his departure is not really a surprise.

But why to Valencia? And why on loan? A couple of thoughts:

While Chery was a star of this summer’s World Cup, that didn’t produce a great deal of transfer buzz, and as far as I know no one came in with any firm offers for him. Which was a bit surprising in a way, but given his injury history, not really; transfermarkt only rates him at €8-10m. When he’s healthy, he’s great, but he’s just not healthy often enough to justify a big move, I guess.

Anyhow, once the EPL window shut without a deal, Villarreal were sort of stuck—they had a player they didn’t need, on a high salary, who needed a move somewhere, and evidently no one was jumping at the opportunity to sign him. Obviously he needed to go to a team that could pay him reasonably—you’re not going to loan him to Huesca—and Villarreal do try to accommodate a player’s desires. Given the Marcelino--Cheryshev relationship, it makes sense, even though I don’t know how much playing time he’ll get there.

Why a loan? Because Valencia are trying their best to manage their payroll and spend within Financial Fair Play requirements. (In case you missed it, they are trying to structure a loan and purchase for Guedes with clauses based on whether they qualify for the CL again or not). They will benefit greatly from qualifying for the Champions League this season, but they’re not out of the debt woods yet.

At any rate, Denis, good luck in Valencia (except when you face us, of course).