There is still one game to go for 8th place Espanyol in Division 1, but its the camp that never sleeps, and today the club finalised more transfers.
We review the new look line up.
Handonovic- 92 rated Goalkeeper. Now really very much a veteran but the manager has stated he will be the clubs number 1 until he retires. Espanyol have brought in two keepers for the future in Frenchman Bernardoni who has already had plus 1 since signing, and Brazilian Brenno who the manager likes. “We’ve two long term improvers for once Handonovic hangs his gloves up and don’t forsee us going back into the market for another keeper. We are a division 1 side with a solid 92 keeper.
Joe Gomez 91 RIghtback – Gomez will join from Arsenal and replace veteran D’ambrosio 88 rated at Fullback. The team has been looking for a long term solution since Trippier departed. With Gomez’s inclusion in the back four the team is already stronger. Gomez joins from Arsenal as Part of the Brozovic departure, with Saul Niguez the other half of the deal its superb business for the Spanish club. “Gomez is unlucky he plays for Liverpool, they have so many talented defenders, and prior to his injury he was in the side and the England set up. He is just 24, can also cover at Centre back, it was a no brainer for us to bring him in”
Jordi Alba 92 Left back – Alba has been the subject of some enquiries but will remain at Espanyol. He was not downgraded in the Spanish update, and with a 92 rating is still one of the games best left backs. “I’m surprised he was not snapped up when we was hawking him around, things change and now he wont be sold”
Bonucci 92 Centre back – Like Alba, the italian veteran looked surplus to requirements but a combination of poor offers has seen a rethink and he will captain the side as a solid 92 rated centre back next season
Martinez – 90 Centre back – The Spanish international was one of two players Mullan aquired when parting with Trippier. At 30 he has lots of miles in the tank and has built a good understanding with Bonucci.
Mikel Merino 91 Centre mid – SInce returning to Spain the 25 year old has been a revelation. Espanyol had been tracking him a couple of weeks, and today made their move once Ndidi’s sale was confirmed. Also rated 91 and comfortable defensive or offensive, it is thought he will be Ndidi’s direct replacement. Going out as part of the deal is Brazilian winger Raphinha and Enzo Fernandez. “We could of waited a couple of days for the update but this is a great deal for both clubs. Trying to replace quality like Ndidi or Busquets is difficult, but i think we’ve chosen well. He has not finished improving and at 25 will become part of the furniture in our first 11.”
Fernandinho 91 centre mid – The veteran joined as a squad player earlier this season and has been utilised in both midfield and centre back. He is not getting younger but has become a vital member of the engine room “Its his performances and versatility which has given us more confidence in parting with players. We will need to manage his age and body, but he is a key player for us”
Oyarzabal 92 rated attacking midfielder – This was a deal the Manager was desperate to do. A world class player who is getting better and better. Negotiations were hard, with it looking at times that it was not going to happen. Ndidi moves on with recently signed Nunez. Its a big price but with Aguero retiring he adds goals, assist and becomes easily the teams best player. “You look where we were 20 games ago our options in attacking midfield was Di Maria and Aspas, fast forward 20 games and we’ve traded our way to now have one of the worlds hottest properties, i’m really excited by this deal”
Saul Niguez 92 Midfielder- The other part of the Brozovic departure needs some love irl. His move to Chelsea has yet to work out, but lets remember he is still only 27, and can play nearly anywhere in Midfielder. Two years Brozovic junior but rated the same, he still has time on his side to rediscover form, get a decent move and maintain his rating. “We got 2 x 90 plus players for one. Broz is 29, and was one of three players we recieved when Koke left. To now get two players with good ratings is unbelievable business for us, his versatility will be vital for us next season”
Fekir- 91 winger – Fekir has been a revelation since joining as the other part of koke’s departure. His assist will be critical and if he can control his discipline and stay on the pitch, could be the clubs key man next season. “He is still only 28 and has been excellent since we brought him in, there has been interest from other clubs for him, but its very much a not for sale sign against Fekir”
Morata – 91 striker – When it was confirmed Aguero would retire the devastation within the camp cannot be underestimated. There was no plausible back up, with the clubs impressive youth too far away at this stage of impacting the first team. “We scoured every cranny and had 10s of knock backs to buy a striker. In the end the breakthrough came with Southampton wanting three of our starlets. We were a little backed into a corner with the retirement and we’ve paid big to bring a striker with a chequered history. Alberto was our jewel, but along with Trincao and Torres players which I brought to the club, we’ve parted ways and have a division 1 capable striker. He has big shoes to fill but hopefully being back in Spain we can get the goals I know he’s capable of”
Wiegl 90 Defender/midfielder- joins from Sao Paulo for quite s hefty fee, given the clubs player of the year Sarabia and Under have moved in the opposite direction. “He’s only 26, can cover defence and midfield and gives us more legs long term in defence when Bonucci hangs his boots up. We had to halt negotiations with other clubs that could of brought a minimum 93 midfielder in as under was part of a 2 for 1 on the midfielder. However Sao Paulo agreed a deal quicker and although we’ve given a lot both who have left would not now make our best 11”
Marcos Paulo 80 joins from Man City as part of the Busquets deal
Esequiel Barco 85 also joins as part of the Busquets deal.
Oihan Sancet 85 joins as part of Ndidi sale from Chelsea
Alvaro Bastida 75 joins from Cadiz
“i’m excited by the new crop of youngsters given the few we’ve had to part with. We’ve managed to keep hold of the likes of Rodri Sanchez too and have a number of players who will just get better and better from our youngsters. We will start the new seasin with a stronger starting 11 than the one that ends this season, whilst more importantly we’ve significantly reduced the age of the squad.
the likes of Aspas, Herrera, Di Maria, Alonso, and Matip have all moved on. However when I reel off Oyarzabal, Niguez, Martinez, Gomez, Morata, Merino, Fekir, I strongly believe we are going in the right direction”