I’m gonna go out on a limb with a couple hours or so left in the window and assume we aren’t making any more moves. If this bites me and I have to edit things later, fine. The intention is to break the roster down position by position, then give a subjective grade over the state of that position.
Additions Geronimo Rulli (5m)
Departures Andres Fernandez- Huesca (300k), Mariano Barbosa- Free Agent
Grade: B-, Asenjo has his moments of brilliance and his moments of horror, but overall he and Rulli form a strong 1-2 in GK options.
Returnees: Mario Gaspar, Ruben Pena, Alberto Moreno
Additions: Pervis Estupinan (15m), Alfonso Pedraza (return from loan), Jaume Costa (return from loan)
Departures: Xavi Quintilla (loan to Norwich)
Grade: B. Pervis Estupinan looks like a star in the making and Mario Gaspar’s last two performances indicate that our fullbacks could be a source of strength for the squad this year.
Returnees: Pau Torres, Raul Albiol, Ramiro Funes Mori, Sofian Chakla
Additions: Juan Foyth (loan with option to buy)
Grade: B+. I’m a little surprised that Chakla is still here with the addition of Foyth, but I think our starting pair at this position is one of the best in La Liga and the young Argentine stepping into the mix makes me a lot more comfortable with the depth.
Returnees: Iborra, Manu Trigueros
Additions: Dani Parejo (free), Francis Coquelin (6.5m)
Departures: Santi Cazorla (Al Sadd on a free), Bruno Soriano (retired), Zambo Anguissa (end of loan), Manu Morlanes (loaned to Almeria)
Grade: B+. Santiago Caseres coming back from loan around Christmas will give us an extra defensive midfielder that I think we will need if we stick with a three man midfield. Overall, though, Parejo is still one of the best in the business, Iborra is very reliable and Trigueros is criminally underrated.
Returnees: Paco Alcacer, Gerard Moreno, Moi Gomez, Samu Chukwueze, Carlos Bacca
Arrivals: Take Kubo (5m loan fee), Dani Raba (return from loan)
Departures: Javi Ontiveros (loan to Huesca)
Grade: A-. Villarreal had one of the best attacks in La Liga last season, and they brought back most of the forwards involved in that. Paco is an elite finisher, Gerard is as good an overall forward as you’ll find just about anywhere and Kubo and Chukwueze offer fascinating options off the bench. Eventually I think we’ll see the Japanese youngster spelling Moi on the left.
I’m thrilled with this transfer window. When you have to replace pieces as crucial as Santi and Zambo were last season, especially in light of a global pandemic, it’s always going to be tough, but the fact that Villarreal is a well managed club financially saw them able to take advantage of the changing tides in the transfer market. In addition to the first team players listed above Fer Nino is spending time between B and A, and still looks like a good prospect. Jorge Cuenca is a Spanish youth international at CB that has potential for the future as well. Our moves this summer kept us competitive now while also thinking ahead. Combine that with solid early results in the league despite two brutal road trips in the first five matches, and this fanbase has every reason for optimism as the Unai Emery era continues to unfold.