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Valladolid Season Preview: With safety secured can Valladolid push on?
Ronaldo (Getty Images/Cesar Manso)

Real Valladolid Season Preview: With safety secured can Valladolid push on?

Valladolid managed to consolidate their top flight status but have they done enough to build on it?

gjsportsblog
Gerry Johnston

When Ronaldo took ownership of Valladolid last year he made it clear that he was in it for the long haul and a contingency plan was in place should the club get relegated.

In the end, Valladolid finished 16th in La Liga so Ronaldo and his team are ahead of where they could have been with the club and with this the first full season under the Brazilian legends ownership, it will be interesting to see what kind of impact he has on the team.

Transfer Business Overview

Ronaldo hasn’t been particularly loose with the purse strings having spent money on just one player with the rest coming in on loan.

Pablo Hervias arrives from Eibar for €1 million while Ronaldo has gone back to Real Madrid for three loan signings in Andrii Lunin, Jorge de Frutos and Javi Sanchez. Former Barcelona and Malaga striker, Sandro Ramirez has joined on loan from Everton while Federico Barba of Chievo and Pedro Porro of Manchester City complete the signings.

Going the other way is Fernando Calero who has joined Espanyol for €8 million. Borja Fernandez has retired while Antonio Dominguez has left on a free and Moises Delgado has been loaned to Racing Santander in the Segunda.

Manager

Valladolid is currently managed by former Espanyol and Deportivo La Coruna star, Sergio. As a player, he helped both Espanyol and Deportivo to Copa del Rey wins and also added the Spanish Super Cup and UEFA Intertoto Cup with Depor.

His first job in coaching was with Espanyol where he went from assistant manager of the B team to manager of the B team and eventually first team manager. He left in 2015 and has been the manager of the Catalan national team before adding to his responsibilities with Valladolid in April 2018. He took them up to La Liga that season and against all odds managed to keep them in the league last season.

Player to watch

Sandro Ramirez began his career at Barcelona and while he never quite looked up to the level required to make it at Camp Nou he looked like a player that could still do okay in the game. That notion looked even more likely when he moved to Malaga and netted 16 goals in 31 games which attracted Premier League admirers with Everton pouncing on a low release clause to bring him to England for £5.4 million.

Since then he has had a nightmare. He only ever scored one goal for Everton, a consolation goal in a 5-1 Europa League loss to Atalanta. He has also spent time on loan with Sevilla and Real Sociedad without scoring which means he has scored one goal in his last 60 games, albeit he didn’t start all of those.

So why is he a player to watch? Because he has talent. He proved that in Malaga but he is a long way from the confident, cocky youngster that he was back then. He’s still only 24 years old though and if he can return to the player he was, then he’s exactly the kind of player a club needs to avoid relegation.

One for the Future

Another of Valladolid’s loan contingent is the talented, Andriy Lunin. Lunin is 20 years old and joins on loan from Real Madrid. Lunin joined Real from Zorya Luhansk in his native Ukraine in 2018. He spent last season on loan at Leganes and made seven appearances.

This summer he helped the Ukraine U20 team to win the FIFA U20 World Cup and he was awarded the Golden Glove award for goalkeeper of the tournament. He will have to work his way past former Barcelona stopper, Jordi Masip to get in the team but he is more than capable of doing so and looks to be on the path to a long and successful career.

Predicted Finish

Valladolid hasn’t invested enough to really push too far up the table and realistically, they’ll be one of the teams that could slip into a relegation battle. So many loans isn’t really a sustainable model and if they are wanting to become regulars in La Liga they will need to do more.

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