Deportivo Alaves Season Preview: Can Alaves continue to build on their solid base? 
(Getty Images/ Ander Gillenea)

Deportivo Alaves Season Preview: Can Alaves continue to build on their solid base? 

Alaves have done well since promotion in 2016 but will a change of manager change their fortunes? 

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Gerry Johnston

Alaves had another respectable finish in La Liga by finishing 11th in the 2018/19 campaign. They returned to the top flight after a decade away, that included four seasons in the third tier, in 2016/17 and have always been in midtable since with ninth, 14th and last seasons 11th placed finishes.

Transfer Business Overview

Alaves had a busy summer with investment into the team being worth around €10 million. For that money, they were able to bring in 10 players with six moving on although four of those departures are on loan.

The club spent in the region of €2 million each on bringing in Lucas Perez (West Ham United), Joselu (Newcastle United), Ramon Mierez (Tigre), Luis Rioja (Almeria) and Pere Pons (Girona). Other arrivals included Saul Garcia (Deportivo La Coruna), Tachi (Atletico Madrid), Olivier Verdon (Sochaux) and Jeando Fuchs (Sochaux) while former Barcelona right-back, Aleix Vidal has joined on loan from Sevilla.

Going the other way are Carlos Vigaray (Real Zaragoza) and Antonio Cristian (Fuenlabrada) who leave on free transfers while Ramon Mierez (Tenerife), Rafa Paez (Istra), Adrian Dieguez (Alcorcon) and Anderson Emanuel (Fuenlabrada) have left on loan.

Manager

Alaves will have a new man in the dugout this season with Asier Garitano taking over in May from Abelardo who resigned at the end of last season. 

Garitano has been in coaching since his playing career ended in 2003. He spent five years as an assistant manager with Alicante before taking over on his own for a brief spell in 2008. He returned as an assistant after that with Castellon before once again being promoted to the main job in 2010. 

Other jobs have included Orihuela, Alcoyano, Leganes and Real Sociedad. His most successful stint as a manager came during his five years with Leganes. When he took over, they were in the third tier but he managed to get them promoted twice before guiding them to consecutive 17th placed finishes to ensure they maintained their top-flight status. 

Player to Watch

Lucas Perez is an extremely talented footballer. He didn't really show it in England at Arsenal or West Ham United but his best football has always come in La Liga. 

Perez has done a fair bit of travelling throughout his career having played in Ukraine and Greece before his time in England but he has never quite made the same impact abroad as he always tended to do when playing for his hometown club, Deportivo La Coruna. 

Alaves isn't completely new to Perez as he spent time with the club as a youth team player so Alaves will be hoping that that familiarity can lead to some big performances. 

Goals win football games and Perez had goals in him. He's still only 30 years old so he should still have plenty to offer and it's the performance of players like him that will make or break Alaves' season.

One for the Future

One of Alaves' summer signings looks like an interesting prospect. Jeando Fuchs is a 21-year-old defensive midfielder who has arrived from Sochaux. 

Fuchs has been capped by Cameroon, despite playing for France at underage level and despite his young years, he made over 100 appearances for his former club. 

Alaves don't have a lot of players with star potential but Fuchs looks like an intriguing prospect and at Alaves he will see an increase in the standard that he is playing at but they should also be able to give him plenty of opportunities to get on the pitch and help develop what is clearly a very promising talent. 

Predicted Finish

Alaves will be keen to maintain their top-flight status this season and they should have a good enough squad to do so. If their strikers can score goals they should be okay but if Perez and Joselu struggle that could spell trouble for Alaves who could easily get drawn into what promises to be a scrappy battle at the bottom of La Liga. 

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