Levante were a good watch last season with their games producing loads of goals and neutrals will be hoping for more of the same this time around. Read on for our Levante season preview for 2019-20.
Last Season – 15th
Levante started last season with a bang, winning 3-0 at Real Betis on the opening weekend before claiming a famous victory at the Bernabeu before the end of October during a four game winning streak. The Paco Lopez bubble looked to have burst soon after that though as Levante slipped down the table, winning just twice in 19 matches before a late surge pulled them clear of danger. They ended the campaign as La Liga’s 4th highest scorers but with the 2nd worst defensive record so it’s clear where they need to improve this term.
Levante Transfers ahead of 2019/20
Rúben Vezo – €5m from Valencia
Sergio León – €4m from Real Betis
Gonzalo Melero – €3.6m from Huesca
Carlos Clerc – FREE from Osasuna
Óscar Duarte – FREE from Espanyol
Jorge Miramón – FREE from Huesca
Hernâni – FREE from Porto
Borja Mayoral – LOAN from Real Madrid
Rubén García – €3m to Osasuna
Esteban Saveljich – €300,000 to Rayo Vallecano
Chema – Undisclosed Fee to Nottingham Forest
Jason – FREE to Valencia
Pedro López – FREE to Huesca
Raphael Dwamena – LOAN to Real Zaragoza
Koke – LOAN to Deportivo de La Coruña
(Transfers up to 9th August 2019)
Coach – Paco Lopez
Paco Lopez will continue this season and overall he has done a very good job with the Valencia club, brilliantly steering them to safety at the end of the 2017/18 campaign before building on that with a solid campaign last time around. He has utilised the pace of the likes of Jose Luis Morales with an effective counter-attacking style but questions still linger over his ability to get this leaky Levante defence organised and he could come under pressure if Levante start poorly.
Possible Levante Team Next Season
While they’ve only spent money on three players, Levante have brought in four on free transfers and sealed another loan deal for Borja Mayoral. As a result they have competition across the pitch and it may take Lopez a while to figure out his strongest starting eleven.
Improvement at the back is clearly needed and their biggest summer signing, Ruben Vezo from city rivals Valencia, should slot straight into the team in central defence having impressed on loan last term. Assuming they go with a back three again, the battle will be on for starting roles alongside him with fellow new-boy Óscar Duarte also a potential starter following his move from Espanyol.
The loss of Jason, who moved in the opposite direction to Vezo, leaves them weakened on the right flank. Jorgé Miramon could fill the void following his move from relegated Huesca while on the other side Toño will be hoping to put his off-field troubles, which included a short spell in prison last season, firmly behind him.
Levante are quite strong in central midfield and so far they’ve managed to hold onto José Campaña, Ruben Rochina and Enis Bardhi which is significant. The trio contributed 11 goals and 18 assists last season in La Liga but have fresh competition this term from Gonzalo Melero who joins from Huesca.
Up top, there are also options with Jose Luis Morales and Roger Marti the most likely starters. Both men reached double figures for goals last term but Marti did seem to fall out of favour with Paco Lopez as the season wore on. Borja Mayoral and new signing Sergio León will be hopeful they can break into the starting eleven as a result although both struggled for goals last term.
Key Man – José Campaña
José Campaña was strongly linked with Sevilla earlier in the summer but he remains in Valencia and he could be Levante’s key man again this season along with forward Jose Luis Morales. The midfielder chipped in with 4 goals and 9 assists in La Liga last term with an impressive pass completion rate of 84%. He’ll be expected to be the driving force in the Levante midfield again this time around.
One to Watch – Borja Mayoral
Slick outside of the foot pass by Fornals to find Borja Mayoral who finishes it nicely pic.twitter.com/spbuAKomJE
— Billy M (@Wideoverload) June 27, 2019
While not exactly a new name given he has featured in La Liga for a number of seasons now, Borja Mayoral is still only 22 and this has the potential to be a breakthrough campaign for the Real Madrid loanee. He was on the scoresheet twice for Spain U21 as they became European champions in the summer and if he can get off to a good start, you sense this could be the campaign where things click into place and he finally sees regular game-time and gets in amongst the goals in La Liga.
Levante 2019-2020 Targets
Survival will be the primary objective again. They flirted with danger towards the end of last season and Levante will be keen to avoid that this time around. If they can improve defensively (it’s a big if!), they have enough creativity, quality and pace going forward to steer clear of trouble.
Levante season preview via Mark Sochon
Contact: marksochon(at)hotmail.co.uk | @marksoc1 on Twitter