Gaku Shibasaki facing six weeks out injured

Getafe midfielder Gaku Shibasaki is facing six weeks out injured after hurting his foot during the league defeat to Barcelona on Saturday.

The home side may have lost the game 2-1 to the current La Liga table toppers, but Shibasaki’s superb first half effort was much talked about.

The Japanese international arrived at the Madrid based club this summer after spending time with Kashima Antlers and enjoying a six month loan spell with Tenerife.

The 25-year-old became the first player from Japan to score against both Barca and Real Madrid on Saturday but was forced off due to injury just before the hour mark.

And, tests have now confirmed that he will miss six weeks of action.

Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele was also injured in the game, which has led both boss Ernesto Valverde and keeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to bemoan the state of the pitch at Coliseum Alfonso Perez.

However, Getafe president Angel Torres has hit back at that criticism, saying the pitch was in ‘perfect condition’.

“Our pitch was in perfect condition and was in line with the parameters of which La Liga demands,” Torres told Onda Cero on Monday night.

“People have complained about our pitch but there is no justification for these words – the league has even congratulated us on the state of our pitch!

“The measurement of the grass? Ours was 29mm and the league stipulates the grass must be between 20-30mm so we were within that range.

“Barcelona’s Coach was right in saying there was nothing else to say about the pitch, of course we are sad Dembele got injured and we wish him a quick recovery to action.”

Getafe face Celta Vigo on Thursday night at the Balaidos as they seek to get their second win of the new season, whilst Barcelona host Eibar at the Camp Nou on Tuesday evening, looking to make it five wins out of five games.

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Source: La Liga News

Rémy deal has complications as Bojan is linked with Las Palmas

The supposed arrival of French forward Loïc Rémy to Las Palmas has encountered a problem with Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez extremely keen to take the striker to Tyneside.

After the departure of Kevin Prince Boateng, the yellows have been making moves for a new striker with Rémy the top target.

It is believed that the Canarian side are waiting on him to terminate his contract from Chelsea before swooping in however it will be a race against Benitez to speak to the Frenchman first to try an agree on a deal.

Las Palmas are short in the forward area with on loan Deportivo Maldonado striker Jonathan Calleri the only recognised frontman in their squads against Valencia and Atlético Madrid, making the desire for Rémy to join even stronger for boss Manolo Marquez.

There would also be a further gap available in the squad when Sergio Araujo completes his likely move to AEK Athens in Greece in the next couple of days.

Another name that has been circulated alongside Rémy is former Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic. According to Canary Islands Radio La Autonómica the current Stoke City forward could be one of the options to reinforce the yellows attack in the last days of the transfer window.

Source: La Liga News

Kondogbia’s heart set on Valencia move

Inter Milan midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia has issued a come and get me plea to Valencia, according to reports.

Kondogbia has been linked with a summer move back to La Liga in various media sources, claiming that both Barcelona and Valencia have shown interest.

The French midfielder joined Italian giants Inter in 2015 from Monaco and he has since made 56 appearances in Serie A.

Consistent performances have gained interest with La Liga sides remembering his time at Andalusian club Sevilla, where he first came to prominence, helping them to Europa League success.

According to Plaza Deportiva and Gianluca Di Marzio’s website, the French midfielder ‘only wants’ to join the Spanish side.

It is further reported that a loan deal could be agreed which would include the option to buy next summer, however, that has now been confirmed due to Valencia’s lack of funds.

The 24-year-old is said to be willing to take a wage cut and join Los Che, claiming he would have a good chance of making France’s World Cup squad next summer, gaining regular playing time.

Having begun his career in France with Lens, Kondogbia has gained 5 international caps and was part of his country’s U20 World Cup win in 2013.

 

Source: La Liga News

Real Madrid – A Fans View

Gerry Johnston spoke with Real Madrid fan, @TheRMFan  about the season ahead in the latest of our Fans View Series.

Real Madrid won La Liga and the Champions League last season. How important was it for the club to win the league title after a few years without winning it?

One resonates Champions League with Real Madrid – the hunger, the desire, the sheer determination that goes with it is unmatched by another club. But then winning the league is extremely important too. On two fronts: to take away the authority that Barcelona had over the league and more importantly, highlight that the club did well over a period of nine-ten months and earned the league title.

Zinedine Zidane has been pretty much flawless since taking over from Rafa Benitez. How highly do you rate him as a coach?

Extremely highly. He didn’t have the greatest impact when he was the Real Madrid Castilla manager but ever since he took over from Rafa Benitez, he has had a massive impact. It is visible on the field, in his decision making and it has, deservedly, been appreciated by those at the Bernabeu in giving him control over who comes in and who goes out – not an easy thing to manage at a club like Real Madrid.

What do you make of the clubs transfer business both in and out this summer?

It has been interesting thus far. While the idea suggested by Florentino Perez following the double was to make minimum changes, I believe the changes have been quite significant. The asset for the club last season was in the ability to rotate the players and having enough quality on the bench to win games in the latter stages of the league. And it is worth that remembering that the club would be playing UEFA Super Cup, Super Copa de Espana, Club World Cup, La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Champions League – six trophies. I like that the club has been clever in investing in the youth but at the same time, some of the youth that did come through the club ranks has been let go of which is disappointing to see.

Are there any areas in the squad that you think need to be improved on this summer? Has anyone been linked to fill those positions?

With the exit of Danilo to Manchester City – for a neat sum, if I might add – the right back position is once again short staffed. Dani Carvajal more than makes up for the position but it may be wise to bring in a replacement instead of the expected decision to play Nacho Fernandez there if and when required.

If you were allowed to make one realistic signing for the club who would you bring in?

I wouldn’t say it is a realistic signing but I would say it is an inevitable signing. The club are likely to go after Kylian Mbappe – be it this season or the next. Logical reasoning would say go for it now while you’re in the surplus following the player exits. Additionally, if the Monaco player has another great season, his value would only get higher.

Is there anyone in the squad that you are concerned might be tempted to move away from Real Madrid?

Quite honestly, I think the business by the club – as far as the selling is concerned – is done. But if I were to venture with a guess, I’d say Lucas Vazquez is one who could ask to move away considering he isn’t a starter for the club and given his quality on the wing, he should be one. But again, the chances look slim as he should be happy with the impact substitute role.

What are the clubs plans this summer? Do they have any tours or training camps planned?

Considering the commitments starting early with the UEFA Super Cup against Manchester United and then the Supercopa de España, Real Madrid have kept their pre-season down to four games in the United States. Started off with a 1-1 draw (and loss on penalties) against Manchester United and it is followed up by games against Manchester City, Barcelona and MLS All-Stars.

Are there any youngsters at the club who you think could make the breakthrough into the first team this season?

Honestly, no. I expected Mariano Diaz to stay and look for a place but his decision to move to Lyon is understandable. As a centre forward, it was nearly impossible for him to find any playing team. Heck, if Alvaro Morata didn’t, he was further down the order.

What are Real’s targets for next season?

As is always the case, go for it all! ???? But quite seriously, Copa del Rey is never priority and everyone knows that. The other five trophies would push players, Zidane and the staff all the way. Even the newly appointed medical team!

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Source: La Liga News

Leganes – A Fans View

Our Fans View Series’ continues as Gerry Johnston interviews Leganes fan, @NELDAILEGA about the season ahead.

Leganes finished 17th in La Liga last season. Were you happy to stay up or do you think they could have done better?

I was very happy to stay in La Liga. It was hard but not a total surprise to me. I think a place higher would have been fairer. The end of the season that saw Deportivo La Coruña finish above us was not good and we had opportunities to stay 16th.

Asier Garitano will be in charge for a fifth season. Is he still the right man to keep taking the club forward?

Absolutely yes. There was a time when we had doubts about his performance as a coach, but Asier has shown us all, myself included, that he is the right man to lead our project in the top division.

Leganes have been quite busy in the tranfer market so far. What are your thoughts on the moves they have made to date?

It is not normal for this team. Usually the club tries to sign players but the players themselves are the ones who do not want to come. This year it seems that the winds are changing and we are more attractive as an entity. The construction of new training camps, economic stability and sporting direction are making a difference. Some of the six new signings were already with us last year and join the new players. I think they will be excellent tools to achieve safety once again. They are experienced and quality players. Some surprise players are also yet to come.

Are there any areas in the squad that you think need to be improved on this summer? Has anyone been linked to fill those position?

We need more goals. This should be the priority, so forwards. We do not know if Kone is recovered. We cannot afford a player less. I have faith in him and if he is in shape he could be the surprise of the season together with Omar Ramos. We must bring attacking reinforcements in. My preferences are the return of Ruben Peña or the signings of Zakaria Bakkali and Nano Mesa. We still do not know anything officially.

If you were allowed to make one realistic signing for the club who would you bring in?

I could be a good signing. I would give everything for this shirt. I’m joking. To be honest, any of the names mentioned in the previous answer would be good signings. I like Mauro Dos Santos in defence. Also Akeche, Eraso and some other players from Athletic Bilbao. We have an excellent relationship with Athletic and I’m sure that one or two players will come in from there.

Is there anyone in the squad that you are concerned might be tempted to move away from Leganes?

There are rumours about the possibility of Gabriel Pires and Alexander Szymanowsky leaving. Their performances in La Liga have brought the attention of some teams from all over the world. Specifically it seems that Newcastle are interested in Gabriel and Alex but there are several teams interested. It would be hard to have to find replacements for these players in the market. Fortunately they are only rumours for now.

What are the club plans this summer? Do they have any tours or training camp planned?

Yes. We have several games arranged with teams from a few different levels.. The team returned to work on 10th July at the Butarque stadium. On the web page of the club there are details of the preseason matches including dates and times. Garitano will repeat a plan similar to last year which worked out very well. They will change some of the clubs that we play friendlies against but the distance travelled will be similar. If something works do not change it.

Are there any youngsters at the club who you think could make the breakthrough into the first team this season?

I do not think so. We have a lot of young talent in the but none experienced in the highest categories. However, they may get an opportunity in the case of an injury to a first team player, as happened last season. We had very bad luck last year with injuries to the goalkeepers which I think was a Guinness world record. We played with five different goalkeepers. J.A. Serantes, A. Brignoli, D. Barrrios, I. Herrerin and N. Champagne. Of these the only young man was Diego Barrios who debuted in the First Division and played a total of 61 minutes. A. Molina (10 mins), S. Arribas (3 mins) and S. Segura (80 mins) in the Copa, is all the time that Leganes could give to their young players last season. We hope to improve this aspect in the years to come.

What are Leganes targets for next season?

Stay in La Liga at all costs and grow as an entity. We want to continue the project in the First Division and be aggressive in trying to finish the season in a higher position than last year. There are projects in place to expand the stadium to enable everyone on the season ticket waiting list to get a seat.

Our social media presence has multiplied in the last year with our club website, readers of articles on WWW.LEGAMANIA.COM and the partners and supporters who discuss C.D. Leganes on the forum WWW.LEGAMANIA.ES, are doubled year after year.

We also have a project to launch our own supporters association, “PEÑA LEGAMANIA” , to further support the club globally and in our own stands. Our motto as a club is Humility, Work and Ambition. Now all the teams know of our potential and will be more prepared against us and it will not be easy, but we are C.D LEGANES and ¡Go For All! (¡VAMOS A POR TODAS!).

Source: La Liga News

Girona – A Fans View

Our Fans View Series’ continues as Gerry Johnston speaks to Girona fan, @swaccountants about the their promotion to La Liga, the season ahead and survival.

Girona finally won promotion to La Liga after going close in the last two seasons. How big was it for the club to eventually get across that line?

It was massive. The club had gone so close in three of the last four seasons that to not do it this season, especially from such a good position in the spring, would have been demoralising for both club and fans alike. Pablo Machin, the head coach, has said he would have left had they failed this time and, although we overcame the loss of key players last summer (Lejeune and Becerra) another loss of star performers, such as Pere Pons and Alex Granell would probably have seen the side fall out of contention next season.

It was also critical financially, the owners have propped up the club and improved the budget since taking over in the summer of 2015, but the previous owners had put the club 4.5m euros in debt, a legacy the club still has to repay each year. We were only one poor season, as in 2013/14 when only a late run of results avoided relegation, from slipping back into Segunda B, jeopardising the financial viability of the club. That threat is now gone.

What are your thoughts on Pablo Machin? Is he the right man to keep the club in La Liga and build on what he has started over the last three and a bit years?

Pablo Machin was a little known coach when he arrived, 2 mid-table finishes at Numancia, a club he had served as a player, doing nothing to suggest he would be the success he has been.

He arrived late in the 2013/14 season with the club having cut the playing budget to that of the lowest in the league and seemingly heading to inevitable relegation. Not only did he mastermind the great escape but settled very early into the formation that has served us so well ever since, three solid centre-backs, good on the ball and not fearful of being pulled out wide, to cover two hard-working wing-backs who, particularly at the Montilivi, play as wingers more than full-backs.

Since then he has been an unqualified success, only denied by a stoppage time equaliser in 14/15 from promotion despite still having a bottom three budget, to a play-off final in 15/16 and now promotion in 16/17.

He has also shown himself to be his own man. This winter window he was given highly rated City left wing back, Angelino, but with the current wing-back Aday in good form, didn’t pick him. No doubt under pressure to select him, Machin held firm, and the player was moved on again before the window closed.

He definitely deserves a chance in La Liga and, even if we fail to stay up, I would suspect he would still be retained to lead us back up again.

Girona have lost more players than they have signed at this point. Is that a big concern and what do you think of those who have arrived?

It does seem to be a feature of the Spanish league that promoted teams don’t trust the players that got them promotion to keep them up in La Liga. Alaves were a very good side in winning promotion in 15/16 yet signed 19 players last summer and, based on their first season back, appear to have been justified in that.

It is a risk. Girona, it is fair to say, have probably played better than the sum of their parts. There are no real stand-out players and signings have been made in previous seasons to fit into the now well-developed playing style such that it works like clockwork.

The introduction of better technical and flair players could easily disrupt that plan and it will be very interesting to see the type of players Girona sign between now and the start of the season and the formation adopted.

The club state this big turnaround of players is a statement of intent and that they are not in La Liga just to survive. Realistically though there must be a good chance for any promoted side they will come straight back down and you do worry that we would then miss those players released for the job of bouncing straight back.

As for players so far, the signings have been modest, two goalkeepers, the experienced Basque, Gorka Iraizoz, Barca B’s Jose Aurelio, and the ex-Sporting and Middlesbrough centre-back, Bernardo. You would expect a significant step up in quality and numbers for new signings between now and the season starting with a lot of help from their partners, Man City.

Are there any areas in the squad that you think need to be improved on this summer? Has anyone been linked to fill those positions?

We have been linked with about 30 players and counting! From Catalans playing abroad, Bojan and Muniesa (at Stoke) etc, to City academy players, Aleix Garcia, Brahim Diaz, Paolo Fernandes etc, to players identified by Man City, Moreno (on loan at Depor last season), to experienced La Liga campaigners, Mikel Rico (Athletic) and Viktor Alvarez (Espanyol).

Who knows who we will end up with but Sporting Director, Quique Carcel, has proven very capable in the transfer market previously albeit operating at a very different level to now. However he has support from agent, Pere Guardiola and the City scouting network.

For me the key is finding a striker. This was probably our weakest position last season with attempts to strengthen in the winter window thwarted and chances in La Liga will be much harder to create so a goal scorer is a must.

If you were allowed to make one realistic signing for the club who would you bring in?

Still only 17 but I would love to see Brahim Diaz from the Man City Academy. He has been identified as a special talent since he was discovered by Malaga who promised he would be “playing in La Liga when he’s 16” if he stayed. He didn’t and City saw off every big club in Europe to secure his signature as a 14 year old. Attacking midfielder, City fans who have seen him say he is still looking like a very special talent.

Is there anyone in the squad that you are concerned might be tempted to move away from Girona?

As I said earlier, we are more the sum of our parts than individually brilliant. I would have expected Pere Pons to leave if we had not been promoted. He is a hard-working holding midfielder with a buy-out clause of 2m euros. However, as a local lad idolised by the Girona fans I can’t see him leaving now. Another key player that I expect to make the step up and has just extended his contract is attacking midfielder, Portu. I wouldn’t want him to leave.

What are the clubs plans this summer? Do they have any tours or training camps planned?

Similar to last season, the club will have a training camp at the fantastic Manchester City facilities in late July. This is particularly fortunate this summer as Girona’s own Montilivi ground is undergoing a major overhaul ready for La Liga. While in England they will play League 1, Oldham Athletic, and championship, Nottingham Forest. On their return they have a friendly lined up against Premiership new boys, Brighton & Hove Albion, on the coast at Palamos (due to the work at Montilivi) and a short trip to play Nastic in a local derby.

Are there any youngsters at the club who you think could make the breakthrough into the first team this season?

I suspect the side will have a youthful look to it but that will be due to the City academy boys. Girona have not had the infrastructure to develop their own talent ready for such a step up but they are looking at changing this, having recently given local side Peralada official B-team status and paying for their promotion to Segunda B.

What are Girona’s targets for next season?  

17th and to see their own players develop into La Liga performers forming the core of the squad going forward rather than relying totally on loan talent. Players such as Pere Pons, Borja, Granell, Alcala, Ramalho and Juanpe will, hopefully, show they are able to perform at the top level.

Source: La Liga News

Villarreal set to sign Malaga midfielder

Diario Sur have reported that Malaga midfielder Pablo Fornals is set to join Villarreal.

Villarreal’s summer recruitment has been impressive this summer with young Manchester City midfielder Enes Unal and Portuguese’ Ruben Semedo being the standout arrivals.

Boss Fran Escriba is looking to build on last season and push for a Champions League place this term and he is now closing in on the signing of 21-year-old Fornals.

Fornals impressed in large parts last season for Andalusian side Malaga and gained himself a Spanish senior call-up, making one appearance against Bosnia and Herzegovina in May 2016.

Interest from a number of clubs has been rife with Premier League side Arsenal having made enquiries, but with the news of a move to Villarreal being strong – it seems his future is now resolved.

The deal has been relatively easy with the young midfielder having spent five years with Villarreal during his youth career, before leaving for Castillon and then Malaga.

The Yellow Submarines are willing to pay his release clause of €12m deal, with contract terms being discussed.

Fornals’ expected departure will see Malaga have lost a number of key players this summer – seeing Jorge Mere join German side Koln, and both Carlos Kameni and captain Ignacio Camacho – all leave the club.

Source: La Liga News

Italian side Napoli make another Rulli move

Serie A side Napoli have made a move for Real Sociedad stopper Geronimo Rulli, according to reports.

The 25-year-old joined La Real last season on a permanent deal from Manchester City but the English club do hold a buy-back clause, which they have been interested to use this summer.

Interest from a number of clubs has since emerged, with Napoli making a move after the season end and whilst they were unsuccessful then – it is reported by Radio Marca, that a new and improved offer has been made.

Speaking of the Italian side’s interest last month, Rulli said: “I’m happy Napoli asked after me, as all Argentines know what Napoli and Diego Maradona represent.

“But Real Sociedad is my home and I’m challenging for a place at the World Cup. If Argentina qualify, it’ll be a great opportunity for me. I have Russia 2018 in my mind.

“That means I need to play consistently for the Coach to see me in action. San Sebastian feels like home now and I’ve been living here for three years. I doubled the number of appearances I had with Estudiantes, am happy and hope to remain for a long time.”

The youngster was an important member of La Real’s side last season and helped them achieve Europa League qualification.

Source: La Liga News

Sevilla confirm legal action against Vitolo

Sevilla have confirmed that they have begun legal action against Vitolo after he joined Atletico Madrid on a permanent deal.

The Spanish international was linked with a move to Diego Simeone’s Atleti following the end of the season but due to their transfer ban – a move was seemingly ruled out.

However, earlier this month – the Spanish capital side announced a €37.5m for the midfielder, who would join Gran Canaria Las Palmas on a six month loan period until January when Atleti can register new players.

What escaped most was the fact Vitolo has already penned a new deal to remain with Sevilla – and two weeks following the move – the Andalusian side have now taken matters into their own hands.

The 27-year-old, who has begun training with Las Palmas for the new season – will now expect to hear from authorities about a ‘breach of contract’, with Sevilla claiming he signed a new five-year contract.

“The board of directors have agreed to take legal action against those who have intervened in the departure of Vitolo from the club,” a statement on the club’s website.

“They are the player himself, his father, the representation agency Bahia and the clubs Atletico Madrid and Las Palmas.

“The club has already entrusted two law firms to the case to defend the interests of the club. Sevilla FC reached a renewal agreement with Vitolo on July 10, endorsed by written documentation, which the player decided to break unilaterally.”

Vitolo spent four years at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan after arriving in 2013 and has gone on to make several appearances for the Spanish national side.

Source: La Liga News

Kondogbia wants Valencia move

Inter Milan midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia has issued a come and get me plea to Valencia, according to reports.

Kondogbia has been linked with a summer move back to La Liga in various media sources, claiming that both Barcelona and Valencia have shown interest.

The French midfielder joined Italian giants Inter in 2015 from Monaco and he has since made 56 appearances in Serie A.

Consistent performances have gained interest with La Liga sides remembering his time at Andalusian club Sevilla, where he first came to prominence, helping them to Europa League success.

According to Plaza Deportiva, Kondogbia has now indicated to Valencia that he would like to join the club.

It is further reported that a loan deal could be agreed which would include the option to buy next summer, however, that has now been confirmed due to Valencia’s lack of funds.

The 24-year-old is said to be willing to take a wage cut and join Los Che, claiming he would have a good chance of making France’s World Cup squad next summer, gaining regular playing time.

Having begun his career in France with Lens, Kondogbia has gained 5 international caps and was part of his country’s U20 World Cup win in 2013.

 

Source: La Liga News