Espanyol will be the first Spanish side in competitive action this season as they begin life in the Europa League qualifiers in July. Read on for our Espanyol season preview for 2019-20.
Last Season – 7th
Last term can be easily split into three distinct segments as far as Espanyol are concerned. They started very brightly with Borja Iglesias firing in the goals as Rubi’s men reached 2nd place after 11 games with brilliant home form the key. However it was a long hard winter for the Catalan club as Espanyol sank into the bottom six, briefly flirting with trouble. Eventually they stopped the rot and another mid-table finish looked to be on the cards but a fine late season surge saw Espanyol beat Real Sociedad on the final day to seal Spain’s final Europa League position.
Espanyol Transfers ahead of 2019/20
Matias Vargas – €10.5m from Velez Sarsfield
Ander Iturraspe – FREE from Athletic Club
Bernardo Espinosa – LOAN from Girona
Aaron Martin – €6m to Mainz
Roberto – FREE to West Ham
Alvaro Vazquez – FREE to Sporting Gijon
Sergio Garcia – RELEASED
Oscar Duarte – RELEASED
(Transfers up to 17th July 2019)
Coach – David Gallego
Having done a terrific job in his solitary season with Espanyol, Rubi opted to move to Real Betis this summer leading to the appointment of David Gallego. The 47 year old was working as the B Team boss and has previous experience of guiding Espanyol in a caretaker capacity. However this will be his first ‘big’ job and he faces a tough task in trying to replicate the success of last season with a squad that is perhaps not big enough to cope with football on three fronts.
Possible Espanyol Team Next Season
*possible lineup updated on 14th August.
In addition to the transfers above, Espanyol may lose Marc Roca who reportedly agreed terms with Bayern Munich earlier in the summer. Mario Hermoso is also set to move on to join Atletico Madrid leaving them with two big holes to fill in their side. The cash influx (expected to be around €70 million) should free up plenty of funds for Espanyol to invest in new players with midfield and defensive additions likely by the end of August.
Their main signing so far is Matias Vargas, a 22 year old who has already been capped by Argentina and can play as a winger or an attacking midfielder. If they can hold onto Borja Iglesias, which won’t be easy given his relatively low release clause, he may complete an exciting front three next term with Wu Lei potentially moving over to the other flank but they may go 4-4-2 under new management.
Key Man – Borja Iglesias
— Estadio Deportivo (@Estadio_ED) July 15, 2019
For now at least, Espanyol boss David Gallego still seems to be of the opinion that Borja Iglesias will stay put despite strong talk of a reunion with former coach Rubi at Real Betis. If he does stay then unquestionably Iglesias, nicknamed the Panda, will be Espanyol’s key man again. He fired in 17 league goals in his debut season at the RCDE Stadium and Espanyol fans will be desperate for him to spearhead their European and domestic challenge.
One to Watch – Adrià Pedrosa
Espanyol have a pretty good record when it comes to developing young players and their latest bright young thing is Adrià Pedrosa. He broke into the team towards the back end of last season playing the full ninety minutes in all of Espanyol’s final six games as they won four and drew two to clinch European football. The 21 year old looks likely to start the new campaign as Espanyol’s first choice left-back when the 2019/20 season starts.
Espanyol 2019-2020 Targets
For a team that gets their campaign underway in just one week, there is still a great deal of uncertainty at Espanyol with key men likely to depart and a new coach in charge. Much will also depend on whether they can progress into the Europa League group stages and we could see a flurry of late transfer activity if they do as their current squad would need strengthening to cope with the extra games. Espanyol perhaps overachieved slightly last term and a safe mid-table finish seems more likely this time around. If they can combine that with a decent run in Europe, they’d probably be content.
Espanyol season preview via Mark Sochon
Contact: marksochon(at)hotmail.co.uk | @marksoc1 on Twitter