Sevilla Season Preview: Can Sevilla get back into the Champions League? 
Joan Jordan of Sevilla (Getty Images/Quality Sport Images)

Sevilla Season Preview: Can Sevilla get back into the Champions League? 

Can Monchi help guide Sevilla to top four?

kquaile

It has been a busy summer at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan following Monchi’s return to the club and the appointment of new head coach Julen Lopetegui. Ramón Rodríguez Verdejo, also known as Monchi returned to Seville in March, after two years at Roma and it could be argued that Sevilla’s biggest signing of 2019 was the sporting director. There have been 11 new signings this summer in the Andalusian capital as Sevilla aim to get back into a coveted Champions League spot after their sixth-place finish in 2018/19. 

Transfer Business Overview

Jules Kounde has been brought in from Bordeaux for €25 million to shore up what was a leaky and inconsistent back four last season. Diego Carlos has signed from Nantes for €15 million and will offer more experience than Kounde.  The additions of Luke de Jong and Moanes Dabbur in attack will surely add goals as the future of Wissam Ben Yedder is up the air. A move to Monaco is on the cards; Ben Yedder scored 30 times for Sevilla last season so Lopetegui will be looking for de Jong and Dabbur to make immediate impacts. Dabbur won the Austrian player of the season award for 2018/19 after a successful spell with Red Bull Salzburg.

Oliver Torres has joined from Porto for €12 million and he’ll be hoping to occupy an attacking role with some more freedom than what he was offered under Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid. A false nine role or drifting from wide may be areas where Lopetegui will employ the skilful 24-year-old. Torres has an X factor that can unlock an opposition’s defence.

Sergio Reguilon joins on loan from Real Madrid where he previously worked under his current head coach. The former Spanish national team coach knows the left-backs qualities and will be hoping that he also offers a threat going forward. Lucas Ocampos could possibly occupy the left-wing berth, just ahead of Reguilon. The Argentine joins from Marseille, signing a five-year contract and at 25 can become an influential attacking figure in Nervion.  Monchi is working on a move for Monaco's Rony Lopes and it could happen in the coming days. It would be separate from the Ben Yedder to Monaco deal. 

There had to be sales too, to balance things out. Winger, Pablo Sarabia moved to Paris St.-Germain for €18 million. Quincy Promes joined Ajax for €15.75 million. Colombian striker Luis Muriel has left for Serie A and Champions League side, Atalanta. Gabriel Mercado left on a free to Al Rayyan. Wissam Ben Yedder is likely to go to Monaco. Andre Silva (Milan), Maxime Gonalons (Roma) and Marko Rog (Napoli) have all departed for Italy.

Manager

The appointment of Julen Lopetegui will be a change in approach for Sevilla who are looking for some much-needed stability after plentiful managerial changes in recent years. Monchi has given him a three-year deal, which is longer than the two-year contracts previously offered to Unai Emery and Jorge Sampaoli.

Lopetegui will be hoping to prove a point after a disastrous 2018 which saw him fired by both Spain and Real Madrid. Monchi as Sporting Director brings a fresh look to the squad but Lopetegui will have his work cut out if he is to quickly mould together a squad that has undergone a radical overhaul. 

Player to Watch

A key signing in the off-season is Joan Jordan who had an excellent season for Eibar in 2018/19. The Spaniard is a classy midfielder, technically gifted and possesses an eye for a defence-splitting pass that should make him a real asset to his coach who favours a possession-based game. At 25, Jordan looks capable of making the step up and establishing himself as a regular in the engine room alongside the more experienced Ever Banega.

One for the future

Jules Kounde signed from French outfit Bordeaux in the off-season, becoming the most expensive player in the history of the club. As one of the standout central defenders in Ligue 1 in 2018/19, Monchi finally got a player he had his eyes already set on. The 20-year-old may have an expensive price tag and only time will tell if he’ll be placed at the heart of the defence in Sevilla’s opening game away to Espanyol.

Predicted finish

Sevilla has a new-look team this time around with 11 new signings and plenty making way. Julen Lopetegui’s first task will be to try to gel his side together as quickly as possible. Having to integrate a team of new faces will be no mean feat as the Monchi/Lopetegui partnership will be pushing for a top-four finish after last season’s sixth-place finish. With two goalkeepers at the helm, only time will tell if Sevilla is in safe hands. Competing for a Champions League place behind the big three will be the objective, however, with a brand new squad a fifth or sixth-place finish may be more realistic. 


 

VAVEL Logo