And so, Espanyol is officially relegated. You can’t say they didn’t deserve it—five losses on the trot, including one to Leganès—sealed their fate, while the loss to their far more famous neighbors Barcelona, which mathematically relegated them, was just a formality.
It’s an astonishing result for a team that—apart from the “never relegated” Athletic Bilbao, Real Madrid, and Barcelona, has spent more seasons in the Primera than any other. Next season will be La Liga’s 90th, and Espanyol has been in the Primera for 85 of those seasons.
Espanyol has had four coaches this term—David Gallego (5 points from 8 matches), Pablo Machin (6 from 11), Abelardo (10 from 15) and now Rufete (0 from 1). That’s....an incredibly consistent record of non-success.
Perhaps the problem is with the roster, though their market value is 12th in the league, well ahead of clubs like Levante and Osasuna. They sold Borja Iglesias and Mario Hermoso and re-invested that money in Raul de Tomás, Matías Vargas, Adrián Embarba, Leonardo Cabrera and Fernando Calero. But they are where they are because of merit—a joint 18th in goals allowed, and 19th in goals scored—they just haven’t been very good.
Espanyol will get the benefit of parachute money next season so, even with the restrictions imposed by La Liga and UEFA on wages as a % of income, should be a favorite to quickly return to the Primera. After all, they have been promoted from the Segunda the following season every time they’ve been in it. But surely there will be some players who leave—Villarreal might want to keep an eye on that center-back pair of Cabrera and Calero, and defensive midfielder Marc Roca is surely off, but for bigger money than we would want to pay. Sergi Darder, though—a player whom I’ve always liked dating back to his Malaga days—might be worth a shout.
Eibar, Valencia and Celta are their last three matches, by the way.