Detested President Agapito Iglesias has refused to sell and leave the club having piled debt onto the exasperated balance sheets and made no real attempt to rid them. Thankfully however he brought in manager Manolo Jiminez who steered the club to La Liga safety in spite of the appalling circumstances and has decided to remain and avoid relegation once again.
Huge protests marred the miraculous escape Jiminez orchestrated last season; guiding Zaragoza to 7 wins from their last 10 games! Plenty of anger was vented towards the owner but on the pitch the team pulled together and survived in La Liga regardless of whether they deserved it or not.
Consequently Zaragoza’s best piece of transfer activity involved Jiminez himself, and loyally signed a three-year contracts despite his growing reputation in Spain. The signing of Jiminez gives much needed hope to the fans who must have feared the worst for the past two seasons.
Off-field problems have and will continue to hinder Jiminez but with his magic and belief in Zaragoza the club can survive once again on a limited budget, though the departures of Angel Lafita and various other loan heroes who saved Zaragoza last season doesn’t make the task any easier.
Apono, Pablo Alvarez and Tomislav Dujmovic have not re-signed which is a massive blow for the club so new boys Glenn Loovens, Lucas Wilchez, Alvaro Gonzalez and Romaric will have to reinvigorate a club widely tipped to succumb to relegation at last. Considering the quality of the newly promoted teams (Deportivo, Celta and Valladolid) their chances this coming season appear increasingly unlikely.
But under Jiminez the club can at least build upon an impressive finish to the previous season and perhaps continue the momentum into the current campaign. After the dramatics and turbulence experienced over the last couple of years Zaragoza has fused wonderfully with their fans to become an unpredictable team capable of being a plucky underdog on their day. The never-say-die spirit could once again come to the rescue but only if enough teams remain in threat of relegation by the culmination of the season.
Zaragoza proved the impossible can be achieved last season and will know full well that relegation can be avoided. Carrying out the same miracle is highly unlikely, especially as the situation with Iglesias could worsen, and could end the positive memories of last season and send Zaragoza into an overdue tumble.
La Liga: 16th
Copa del Rey: Round of 32 (lost to Alcorcon 3-1 on agg)
Lucas Wilchez loan from Colo-Colo
Paco Montanes €0.5m from Alcorcon
Glenn Loovens free from Celtic
Recio loan from Malaga
Alvaro Gonzalez €1m from Racing
Romaric free from Sevilla
Javi Alamo €0.5m from Recreativo
Franco Zuculini free from Hoffenheim
Angel Lafita free to Getafe
Paulo Da Silva free to Pachuca
One to Watch: Edu Oriol