Meeting the Team
With the LaLiga season ending little over a month ago, and with Pre-Season just three weeks away, it is vital I evaluate my inherited squad as soon as possible.
Our current number one goalkeeper is Tomas Vaclik, a Czech Republic international who was signed for €7,000,000 from FC Basel. In his first season, the 31 year old kept 10 clean sheets, conceding 30 in his 29 games. This season just gone, he kept 8 clean sheets in 37 league games, conceding 46. He will remain our current number one for this season and hopefully he will repay our faith.
Leandro Chichizola was signed at the beginning of last season for a fee of €425,000 from LaLiga rivals Getafe. The Argentine goalkeeper failed to make a single appearance for the team last year and we may look to move him on as his wages of €10,250 a week are rather high for someone who isn’t contributing.
One of the standout players last season, Gabriel Mercado looks a good option as our number one right back in the short term. Mercado, capped 35 times by Argentina, has been the number one option at Sevilla for four years now. Scoring three and assisting five last season, he has a touch of creativity about him that I am looking forward to seeing.
The English right-back was a surprise signing from Sevilla last year, as the former Premier League winner was signed on a free as Gabriel Mercado’s backup. Despite being a backup option, the 33 year old is on a ridiculous €37,500 per week. As well as this, he was very poor in his 13 games last season and therefore we will be looking to move him on.
On the left side, Sergio Escudero is currently the only senior option in his position. Having been first choice for almost five years, Sergio still has a lot of talent to offer us. We will however, be looking for a rotation option for him as we cannot rely on him being fit for every game throughout the year.
Club captain Simon Kjær, has been with the team for three seasons now, having signed from Fenerbahçe for €12,500,000. Having featured in 72 league game since his arrival, Simon will be a key player for me in the coming seasons.
Sergi Gómez will most likely be Simons, partner at the back this coming season. Having formed a solid partnership with Simon over the past couple of seasons, it would be a bad decision to split them up in my opinion. Sergi will bring more composure at the back and be able to comfortably pass the ball out from the backline, something I like to see.
Our third choice center-back is Joris Gnagnon, a 23 year old French under 21 international. Joris was a big money buy two years back, costing us a total of €15,000,000. He is highly rated around the club and looks like he could turn into a very good defender in the near future.
One of just three players that has come through the clubs academy, Jesús Navas is a name familiar to everyone in the game. The former English Premier League Winner with Manchester City, where he spent his only four years away from the club, brings a wealth of experience to the team. Having also been apart of Spain's FIFA 2010 World Cup and European Championships 2012 wins, he will be a role model for the youngsters coming through here.
A once highly rated prospect after impressing in Holland and Russia, where he starred at Spartak Moscow. Now 28, Promes was signed two seasons ago for €18,750,000 and has so far impressed scoring 12 goals in his 61 games from the right wing, 8 of which came the season just past.
The Spanish winger, once on the books of Real Madrid, Pablo Sarabia was another standout last season. With five goals and four assists in 33 games, he played an important part in getting the team to Europa League football. In the current plans, Pablo will be our starting right winger this season.
Youth graduate, Alejandro Pozo is a man who has a lot of hype surrounding him at Sevilla, and rightly so. The 21 year old is full of potential and made his Sevilla first team debut last season, ending the season with six appearances. Having had Emil Forsberg on loan from RB Leipzig and Nolito, whos contract won’t be renewed, at the club last season, Pozo found it tough to breakthrough. But in an ageing squad, I will look to see a more youthful team with Pozo being my number one option on the left.
Once linked with a big move to Arsenal, Éver Banega has 71 caps for Argentina and is another experienced member to this squad. With a high level of skill and flair to his game, Banega will be a creative force to this team.
Following his €6,000,000 move from Swansea two seasons ago, Roque Mesa has served as Éver Banega’s central midfield partner. Roque is a player with the sort of abilities I love in a footballer. A very high work rate he will be perfect for the system I aim to implement in Spain.
Another South American in the midfield, Felipe Carballo will be third choice at best this season. The Uruguayan signed for €1,200,000 three seasons ago, but only made his club debut last season, featuring in 10 league games. He was at best underwhelming and is potentially going to be moved on in the summer.
With over 120 games for the club in the past four years, Franco has been an ever present member of the team. He has also been a consistent producer from his attacking midfield position with 26 goals in that time. Another creator in the side, Franco will be someone who will play a major role in the side for the next few years.
La Masia product, Munir once looked like a striker for the future, however he left Barcelona for us in 2018 and has since been on loan at Lyon and Real Sociedad.Scoring just three goals in the past 35 league games, he will be given a season to prove himself this year, but if he doesn’t impress we will look to cash in on him next summer.
Wissam Ben Yedder
The one time French striker, Wissam Ben Yedder scored nine goals in 16 league starts last season. In my initial evaluation, I see Wissam as our number one striking option, but with the striker department being our deepest area, that could change during pre-season. He is a great finisher and his movement off the ball allows him to get into very dangerous areas, consistently.
The clubs top scorer last season, with a total of ten in 30 league matches, Munas Dabbur signed from Red Bull Salzburg for €15,000,000. The Israeli impressed last season and it is likely that he will be in rotation with Wissam Ben Yedder throughout the season.
Colombian International, Luis Muriel moves to Europe over a decade ago with high expectations. However, since his move to Udinese in 2010, the striker has only scored double figures in the league twice with his best return coming in 2014/15 where he scored 11 in 22. I don’t see Luis as a player who will feature for me and at €83,000 a week contract, he is someone we will be moving on.
Another striker who was away on loan last season, is also one of the three youth graduates in the side. Carlos spent last season on loan at Sporting Lisbon, scoring twice in 13 games, where he only started once. At 24, Carlos is another player who will be given a chance, but with a year remaining on his contract, he is going to have to impress to see him receive a renewed deal.
Sevilla have a number of promising youth talents in this squad. With a number of teams throughout including second side ‘Sevilla Atlético’ we are blessed with good facilities to develop our youngsters.
Aimar Jiménez is the youngest of our prospects, aged just 16. Signing from Real Sociedad for €275,000 last season, he has already made his first time debut, albeit a few minuets from the bench. He has a long way to develop but if he reaches his potential he will be a star attacking midfielder for this teak for the next15 years.
Another youngster to have featured in the first team, Cristóbal Iglesias has made four league appearances since coming through the youth ranks in 2018/19. The central midfielder impressed for Sevilla C last season and he will be a part of my pre-season plans.
The pick of the bunch, Patxi Gómez is a player I am very much looking forward to coaching. The Spanish 17 year old made his first team debut last season but featured heavily for Sevilla C. It was there where the youngster started with 12 goals, 4 assists and 7 player of the match awards coming in 21 games. The attacking midfielder is another player who will feature in Pre-Season.
As seen at FC Cincinnati, the backroom team that partners me plays a massive role in any success. The team here is strong, however there is a lot of room to improve and that will be my aim across the next couple of weeks Before the start of pre-season.
As mentioned before, the facilities at Sevilla are something I could have only dreamed of at Cincy. The stadium is 45,250 seater, which last season averaged an attendance of 42,420, making us the third highest by average capacity. The training facilities are excellent whilst the youth facilities are currently considered to be of great standard. Hopefully in the years to come we can improve these further.
The finances are a slight concern currently, the club currently sit in the red at -€11,258,283, however, I feel confident in making a majority of that money back in transfer sales whilst restricting the budget helping us to increase profits over the next few years. The budgets are currently sitting at approximately €9,000,000 in transfer budget with €250,000 on wages.
The squad looks good. Only issue is how old it is, quite a few in their 30s
Got to keep you on your toes!