It’s not a rumor I like, but it is the closest thing to a CB signing I’ve seen. According to Super Deporte, Federico Fazio- previously linked with Villarreal- was at the Valencian airport yesterday. If Fazio is the defender we end up signing, I think it will tell us a lot about the state of finances in Villarreal.
Unlike our neighbors in Valencia, we are not desperately trying to slash wages nor are we giving our players IOUs on the money we owe them. That’s a significant positive. That said, if we bring in Fazio our permanent additions from this summer will have been aged 29, 31, and 33. Basically, we have enough salary room to take in quality players that can help us compete right away, but we lack the transfer fee resources to go out and get young players.
In a way, it is a sort of calculated risk I can appreciate. If we bring in proven veterans that play at the level we expect, we have a very good chance of finishing top four this year and/or challenging for the Europa League title. Either of those accomplishments would greatly increase our cash flow as the world is (hopefully) coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic in summer 2021. This would allow us to aggressively build our project from there.
If we don’t meet either of those objectives, then the alternative is likely that we are essentially right where we are now, somewhere between 5th and 7th with European football coming, and as fans start coming back into the stands then our revenues are going back up anyway and we can still afford to take some chances on some young players next summer.
In this way of thinking, a player like Fazio is a stop gap, a placeholder. Someone to come in and do a job for a year or two while we find the next promising younger defender. For that sort of role I think he’s fine. He gave Roma 1766 minutes between the League and Europa, and acquitted himself very well during that time. I don’t think there would be too much of a drop off between him and Albiol.
Club record splurge for Paco Alcacer aside, from a financial standpoint Villarreal still is pretty much what they’ve always been, a smart, responsible club finding quality players at good prices. In an economic era where so many clubs are struggling mightily, being able to maintain the status quo should be enough to advance in the hierarchy of Spanish clubs. If we finish the window with Kubo, Parejo, Coquelin, and Fazio as our additions, we’ll have a side noticeably deeper in attack, defensive midfield, and center back than we had last year. That combined with a manager of higher tactical acumen than we had last year, we have very reason to expect good things in 2020-2021.