Espanyol Manager today paid tribute to two of his recruits who in his words “are the future”. Its no secret Handanovic is 37, and has been an outstanding goalkeeper during his time here, trying to replace that quality is no easy task. Brazil has in recent times produced some incredible goalkeepers, Allison and Moraes spring to mind who are arguably the two of the best in the world right now. However is Costa Brenno, I think we have potentially another who could reach great heights. He’s moved about a bit over the last few Top 100 seasons, but I think there has been a hastyness in moving in on so soon. He is catching the eye in Brazil, and is still a boy in goalkeeping terms. Along with Bernardoni the 24 year old french keeper we snapped up, which was rewarded with a plus one in the latest French update, we have two good young keepers who will fight out the number 1 jersey once Handanovic hangs up his gloves.
At the other side of the field Mullan is purring at the potential of Yuri Alberto. The 20 year old striker has been a revelation in Brazil over the last year and with many of Europes big clubs circling the manager does not see the wait being too long before the samba star is impacting the first team. We pushed hard to get Yuri from Celta Vigo, parting with proven stars when he arrived along with his compatriot Raphina in a double deal. Playing the long game can be dangerous in Division 1, especially when you start to part with your highest rated players. When we made the call to part with the likes of Di Maria and Aspas, it was with the knowledge we would take a short term hit for a season or two. However to have Alberto and Raphinha with bags of promise and growth in them, its very exciting. The news this week Aguero is retiring is a big blow for us, we have no immediate replacement and despite our efforts in the transfer market, we have not been able to attract someone to come in and take over the mantel. We have instead sold Villalibre to inter milan, which may surprise one or two as it was a cash deal, however I don’t believe he is our long term answer. I think Buksa will continue to improve and will probably start next season as our main striker despite his 85 rating. Dovbyk has come in this week too, who has been a revelation in the Ukraine. He is currently amongst the top scorers in world football, and although he’d need a real life move to a bigger club and league at 24 years old, there is possibilities. So where does that put Alberto? Well i think he is one update away from being an 85 along side Buksa, which puts him firmly in the first team picture next season. I’m sure once his transfer ban is up, there is going to be cheeky offers. We was actually quoted for one player this week who is not a regular at his real life club, is the same age and is rated at 84, that they would want Alberto and possibly Raphinha and another player. I wasnt sure if they’d been on the wine, but right now Alberto’s transfer value is higher, and his potential for growth in my opinion is far more. People will need to get up earlier in the morning to try and hoodwink me. I’ve been around for long enough to know the game and the players. I do fair deals, not stupid ones.
The future, is looking good right now for us at Espanyol, with my only concern my own health given my chemotherapy was postponed pending further test a couple of months ago. I’d like to be here to see these players mature, I enjoy top 100, and its certainly been a gameworld which has allowed me to escape my own personal daily fight with life, and the challenges ahead for me and my family.
I’d like to wish everyone, a very merry Xmas and prosperous new year, keep it real, keep it friendly and remember “the only person who will ever hold you back, is you”