Fourth Choice Centre Back
Unlike some, Valencia is a club that unfortunately does not have a bottomless pit of cash, meaning that they simply can’t afford to satisfy every single need whenever a transfer window opens. That means that Braulio Vázquez must prioritise.
Miguel Brito and Bruno Saltor both saw their contracts expire. Miguel is currently a free agent, while Bruno joins Valencia legend Vicente Rodríguez at Brighton and Hove Albion in the English Championship. A total of €3.7m was promptly forked out for Sporting’s João Pereira before the beginning of Euro 2012, which is fortunate as the Portuguese had an excellent tournament.
Due to his wife being allegedly unhappy, the brilliant Mehmet Topal returned to Istanbul to sign for Fenerbahçe, and after being linked with a myriad of central midfielders, Fernando Gago was eventually signed from Real Madrid for €3.5m.
After a good first season, albeit hampered with serious injury, Valencia decided to spend €8m on Sergio Canales, while the €2.5m acquisition of Jonathan Viera will give the forward line a much needed injection of creativity.
With the sales of Jordi Alba and Aritz Aduriz to Barcelona and Athletic respectively, Braulio aims to secure a new left back and forward before the closure of the transfer window, and it looks like the striker issue is solved with the imminent arrival of Nelson Haedo Valdez.
Valencia’s final signing, which is almost certainly going to be a left back, will see the budget exhausted, meaning that not enough money remains to plug the gap in the centre of defence. Ángel Dealbert chose not to renew his contract despite an offer from the club, and joined Kuban Krasnodar in Russia. The same goes for versatile Dutchman, Hedwiges Maduro, who also declined Valencia’s offer and made the trip south to Sevilla.
This leaves Valencia with just three centre halves in Adil Rami, Víctor Ruiz and Ricardo Costa, which is quite worrying bearing in mind how many games are squeezed into a season these days. If injuries do strike, as they invariably do, Valencia will have to look towards their cantera for a suitable replacement. The two most capable are both new signings for Valencia Mestalla; Carlos Delgado and Álex Quntanilla.
Carlos Delgado is now 22 years old. The left footed centre back’s first professional club was Málaga’s B side, before he moved on to have stints at Sparta Rotterdam, Real Valladolid B and Almería B. Having failed to make the step up, he eventually moved to Orihuela, who compete in Spain’s Segunda B. It was in that small Valencian town that he eventually began to enjoy consistent football, making 31 appearances. With Orihuela being screwed by the system which is the LFP (one of the few clubs with their finances in order, yet relegated) Delgado made the short trip north to the capital of the community, signing a two year contract with Valencia Mestalla.
Álex Quintanilla, like Delgado, Is 22 years old. Quintanilla started out at Athletic Bilbao’s prestigious Lezama academy, spending a total of ten years there, before swapping Bilbao for Vitoria, to sign for Deportivo Alavés. The Basque was originally a central defensive midfielder, but made the transition to centre back last season at his new club, where he was one of Alavés’ standout performers. He was actually offered a new contract, but felt he was being undervalued so instead signed a three year contract with Valencia Mestalla.
Although both players are unlikely to ever become first team regulars for the first team, either could prove to be a useful player for Pellegrino, especially with the backline being short in numbers this season (and of course, their pairing could be vital for VCF Mestalla). Álex Quintanilla is described as a more physical player, renowned for being rough, rugged, good in the air but very limited technically and not the quickest. Carlos Delgado on the other hand has a strong physical presence, but is also more adept at playing the ball out from defence, which will certainly be a plus bearing in mind that it’s likely Pellegrino will have Valencia playing a possession game.
Although it would preferable to see Rami and Ruiz complete a season with injury problems, I personal think Carlos Delgado is best equipped to deputise in their absence.