From what appeared to be a season stating their intent, the situation at Malaga has suddenly changed in the past few days. Reports have emerged over unpaid wages and transfer fees which could result in UEFA having to take firm action on the Champions League newcomers. Malaga could incur serious penalties and see players leave just as their illustrious world-conquering dream begins to take shape.
Star player Santi Cazorla has been one of Los Boquerones to make his unhappiness known about the current situation has since been sold to Arsenal. A rumoured 30-40% of the players’ wages have not been paid and Cazorla’s transfer fee from Villarreal is still yet to be fully completed.
Owned by a member of the Qatari Royal Family, Malaga have risen up from relative obscurity in their bid to rival Spanish football’s two giants. Heavily bankrolled by the Middle-Eastern owners, Malaga brought in quality players such as Jeremy Toulalan, Joaquin, Isco, Nacho Monreal and Cazorla last summer but the fabled ambition is in threat of collapsing due to the problems behind the scenes.
As is with football oligarcy, plentiful sums of the owner’s money is ploughed into a team believing instant success awaits. Whatever the situation, if Malaga don’t have money available from the Sheikhs then in reality they cannot sustain the weight of players or expectation they’ve taken on.
Until more envelopes, we can’t really predict how much Malaga will progress next season. If it is just Cazorla who exits then Malaga lose their most impressive player of last season and the loss will take many more millions to fill. As of yet no transfers have commenced which suggests real turmoil within the club and a potential slide down the table.
To jump to the next step of the Spanish football hierarchy, Malaga must now prove themselves by challenging Real Madrid and Barcelona for the title. However, the game against Madrid at home showed the South coast side what they were up against. Cristiano Ronaldo plundered a hat-trick within 45 minutes as Malaga were blown away by the title winners in a 4-0 defeat.
Even without the boardroom crisis, Malaga are another league away from seriously threatening the dominance of Barca and Real.
For the time being, progress is vital, especially for manager Manuel Pellegrini. Going beyond the group stage in the Champions League or enjoying a cup run may just keep him employed in the immediate future as Malaga, ideally, build up towards mounting a realistic title challenge in the next five years.
Structure and planning within the club needs to be implemented, as we have seen within Manchester City and their millions. Forecasting potential problems, especially as UEFA have financial fair-play regulations nowadays, has to be dealt with in a safer fashion otherwise the club could crumble and return to fending off relegation to the Segunda.
On top of that, and on a footballing perspective, Malaga need a striker. Ruud Van Nistelrooy, even though he wasn’t as prolific as Malaga had hoped, has now retired and Rondon looked about as threatening as a baby goldfish infront of goal. Alvaro Negredo has been linked with the club but until the ongoing mess behind the scenes is fixed then no one will be excited at the prospect of joining Malaga.
Otherwise the team is impressive and sturdy. There are stand out players capable of winning matches as Toulalan and Isco make up one of the strongest midfields in the division. Whether or not they reassemble at the beginning of the season again is the fear gripping fans along the Costa del Sol.
La Liga: 4th
Copa del Rey: Round of 16 (lost to Real Madrid 4-2 on agg)
Sandro Silva loan to Cruziero
Edinho loan to Academia
Apono €500,000 to Zaragoza
Xavi Torres €300,000 to Levante
Ruben Martinez loan to Rayo Vallecano
Recio loan to Zaragoza
Santi Cazorla €21m to Arsenal
One to Watch: Jeremy Toulalan
Prediction: 5th at time of writing. Could be more like 12th or perhaps even worse if the dire situation isn’t sorted
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