Valencia disappoints by failing to sign new players

MADRID (AP) — The transfer window didn’t shut the way Valencia wanted.

A few weeks after some of the team’s top players left, the club owned by Singaporean businessman Peter Lim failed to add anyone to the squad by the transfer deadline.

Valencia coach Javi Gracia was so upset with the lack of signings that Spanish media reported he considered resigning after not getting the players he had been promised.

Fan disappointment has also increased pressure on Lim, who has often been criticized for supposedly caring more about the club’s financial results than the sports results.

“I understand the frustration from the fans and I understand the coach’s frustration,” Valencia president Anil Murthy said Tuesday in a video published by the club. “We all wanted the same thing: strengthen the team and to improve our level. But it wasn’t possible.”

Murthy said Valencia couldn’t act in the transfer market because its earnings had dropped from 200 million euros ($235 million) to 100 million euros ($118 million) following the coronavirus pandemic, posing a “very difficult challenge.”

“We couldn’t reduce the cost of the squad any further in order to bring in reinforcements,” Murthy said. “We could not add more costs to the squad.”

He said the “global situation” affecting Valencia and other clubs is not expected to improve in the short term, with the “general consensus in football” being that it could “last for two or three seasons.”

“The solution is not to hide from the problem,” Murthy said. “The solution is to face the problem. We have to be responsible in this situation because it’s what the club deserves. We have a team that has shown that it can compete. Now is the time to work harder and for everybody to come together and have a positive mindset to face this long season.”

Valencia recently lost striker Rodrigo to Leeds and young forward Ferran Torres to Manchester United, while playmaker Dani Parejo and midfielder Francis Coquelin left to join rival Villarreal.

The transfers reportedly brought nearly 60 million euros ($70.5 million) to the club, and fans were hopeful that at least some of that would be used on new singings to make up for the absence of the players who left.

Gracia was told when he joined the club in the offseason that new players would have been added to the squad.

“We’ve already talked a lot about what the team needs,” Gracia said after Valencia’s 2-0 home loss to Real Betis in the Spanish league on Saturday. “It’s clear when you watch our matches.”

Gracia reportedly met with Murthy before the team’s practice session on Monday. Spanish media said the team’s more veteran players asked Gracia not to resign.

After two consecutive seasons making it to the Champions League with fourth-place finishes in the Spanish league, Valencia had a disappointing finish last season, ending up in ninth place after a lackluster final run of games.

Valencia started the season with two wins from its first five matches. Its next game, after the international break, is at Villarreal.

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