MADRID, Aug. 11 (.) –
The 2022-2023 season of LaLiga Santander will have UD Almería, Real Valladolid and Girona as new tenants, all of them already with experience in the First Division and with the clear objective of not returning and earning an always expensive permanence.
Of this trio, the one that had been away from the elite of national football the longest was UD Almería, which last season ended seven consecutive years in the Second Division and achieved the long-awaited promotion sought by its owner, the Saudi Sheikh Turki Almería. Sheikh.
He arrived with this objective in 2019 and now he will want his project to continue as long as possible, for which he has decided, for now, to keep the block from last season, including his coach, Joan Francesc Ferrer, ‘Rubi’.
However, the team from Almería, who bolstered their squad mainly with the purchases of defenders Alejandro Pozo and Srdan Babic and that of a theoretical Portuguese ‘pearl’ like Gui Guedes, could have to rebuild if they finally decide to dispense with two key pieces in attack like the Nigerian Umar Sadiq, who last year scored 18 goals despite going to the Africa Cup, and the Belgian winger Largie Ramazani.
For its part, Valladolid took less time to return to LaLiga Santander. After relegation in 2020-2021, José Rojo, ‘Pacheta’, was entrusted to return and the team chaired by Ronaldo Nazario will also try to settle with fewer problems than the last time.
The Pucela suffered in almost all his campaigns in his last stay in the First Division and now hopes to live with less stress, also supported by the promotion block, whose eleven base is outlined with little news. Full-back Sergio Escudero, veteran goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo and purchases after last year’s loan from Ecuadorian Gonzalo Plata and Iván Sánchez. The goals of the Israeli Shon Weismman, who shone in 2021-2022 with 20 goals, seem key to his survival.
Girona will also have permanence as a clear objective. The Catalan team left the top flight in 2019 after its historic promotion in 2017 and now returns with the aim of approaching the performance it had in its debut.
Miguel Ángel Sánchez, ‘Míchel’, has also earned the right to keep his place on the bench of a team that continues to be led on the field by veteran Uruguayan striker Cristhian Stuani and other survivors of the first experience such as Bernardo, Aleix García or Valery. The ceded ‘Taty’ Castellanos, Yan Couto, Yangel Herrera and Rodrigo Riquelme, plus the signings of David López and Miguel Gutiérrez give him wicker to dream of not being in trouble.
And after the three promoted there is a large group of teams that will want to get as far away as possible from the ‘burn’, starting with RCD Mallorca and Cádiz, the ones that suffered the most last year, until the last day, to achieve permanence .
The Balearic team will place their trust in their ‘savior’, the charismatic Javier Aguirre. The Mexican coach will direct a ‘ship’ that he already knows very well and in which they have remained on loan who gave a very good level such as the Kosovar striker Vedat Muriqi and the winger Pablo Maffeo, although he has lost the Japanese Takefusa Kubo. The Serbian goalkeeper Pedrag Rajkovic is another of his signings to alleviate the casualties of Manolo Reina and Sergio Rico.
Cádiz will continue under the orders of Sergio González, another coach who arrived with the season started and who managed to remain in the last breath to live a third consecutive year with the best. The cadista team will also continue with its block led by the potential up front that Álvaro Negredo, Lucas Pérez or ‘Choco’ Lozano give it and with expert players such as midfielders Rubén Alcaraz and Alex Fernández or defenders Fali and ‘Pacha’ Espino.
Elche hopes to have fewer problems once again, which ended up being saved last season with some ease and thanks to the work of Francisco, a coach who also arrived with the campaign started. The franjiverdes have moved little in the market, with Roger Martí as the most outstanding movement, but their greatest achievement has been to stay with their great reference, the Argentine striker Lucas Boyé.
GETAFE, CELTA AND ESPANYOL ASPIRE TO LIVE NEAR THE NOBLE ZONE
Rayo Vallecano is another of the promoted teams that managed to stay, with more problems than expected after their great first part of the campaign, in which they even thought of a candidacy for European competition. However, then he collapsed and in the end he reacted to save himself without problems, an experience that has to serve him this second year with Andoni Iraola at the controls. Salvi Sánchez, Florian Lejeune, Diego López and Sergio Camello have arrived in Vallecas to help a team that hopes to have Radamel Falcao ‘healthy’.
Osasuna aspires to have another ‘quiet’ year since since he returned in 2019, in the three seasons he has been there he has not experienced too many difficulties, thanks in large part to the confidence in the work of Jagoba Arrasate, who has formed a very disciplined team that makes the most of its virtues. The ‘rojillos’ haven’t moved too much in the market either, with the signing of midfielder Moi Gómez as the most prominent, in addition to getting a new loan from winger Manu Sánchez.
In addition to the Navarrese team, Celta, Espanyol and Getafe will also want to be away from the ‘danger’, teams that yearn to have greater regularity in order to even dream of more ambitious levels that have been assumed in recent years.
The Galician team wants to aspire one more year to fight for European places, a goal of yesteryear, but which they have never really been close to since they achieved it with Eduardo Berizzo. The ‘Chacho’ Coudet will try again this season, shaken internally by the cases of Denis Suárez and Santi Mina, led by Iago Aspas, who hopes to have the good company of the Portuguese Gonzalo Paciençia, and the hopeful signings of Óscar Rodríguez, Unai Núñez, Óscar Mingueza, Carles Pérez, Williot Swedberg, Luca de la Torre and Agustín Marchesín.
Espanyol also wants more ambitious goals as requested by its owner Chen Yansheng, who has returned to invest to be closer to Europe in his second consecutive year in First Division. His biggest bet has been on the bench with the hiring of a Diego Martínez who has already taken Granada to the top zone, although up top he has won one of the best national scorers like Joselu Mato. This must be the perfect companion for Raúl de Tomás, who scored 17 goals last year, but whose future as a ‘parakeet’ is not yet guaranteed.
Finally there is Getafe, which has presented a very ambitious project so that permanence falls short in terms of its main objective, despite the difficulties it experienced in 2021-2022, solved after the arrival of Quique Sánchez Flores. Ángel Torres has bet heavily and the Madrid coach will have high quality reinforcements such as Borja Mayoral, now owned and willing to form a good pair with Enes Unal, Cristian Portu, Luis Milla, Domingos Duarte, Fabrizio Angileri and Jaime Seoane.