LaLiga Season Preview 2021/22

laliga season preview

Spanish football is back with the new 2021/22 LaLiga season starting on Friday 13th August. Read on for our full LaLiga season preview with a look at the summer transfers at every club, coaching changes and predictions for how the campaign may go for all 20 teams.


Title Contenders

Diego Simeone
Can Diego Simeone guide Atleti to back-to-back titles? | Image via Антон Зайцев, CC BY-SA 3.0

Last season, we were treated to what was briefly a genuine four-team title race heading into the closing stages of the campaign. Sevilla and Barcelona ultimately faded in the home straight but it went to the final weekend between the Madrid clubs with Atleti piping Los Blancos on matchday 38 to clinch the title. Everything points to another closely fought race this season and right now it’s almost impossible to pick a clear favourite.


Atletico Madrid predictionsATLÉTICO MADRID

Last Season: 1st

Despite a significant wobble at the start of 2021, Atleti ultimately made a stunning start to the season count to clinch their first league title in seven years. Comeback wins on matchdays 37 and 38 ensured they pipped Los Blancos on the final weekend with 21-goal Luis Suarez playing a vital role following his move from Barcelona last summer.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Rodrigo De Paul (€35m), Marcos Paulo (FREE)
  • Players OUT: Nicolás Ibáñez (€3m), Vitolo (LOAN), Lucas Torreira (LOAN ENDED), Moussa Dembélé (LOAN ENDED)

It hasn’t been the most eventful of summers so far at the Wanda Metropolitano with the exception of the big money signing of Rodrigo De Paul. The Argentine has been one of the standout performers in Serie A for a number of seasons with Udinese and finally gets his big move. The 27 year old is both a scorer and creator of goals and should bolster the Atleti midfield.

So far there have been no significant outs, but that could change with Saúl Ñíguez widely expected to depart with the Premier League his most likely destination. There has even been speculation over the future of record signing João Félix. The door is also reportedly open for Antoine Griezmann to make what would be a somewhat controversial return to the club with Barcelona keen to raise funds and lower their wage bill. Don’t be surprised if we see some major late deals involving Atleti this transfer window.

Atletico Madrid Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Diego Simeone
  • Target: 1st
  • Possible XI: Oblak – Hermoso, Gimenez, Savic – Carrasco, De Paul, Koke, Llorente, Trippier – Suarez, Correa (3-5-2)
  • LLE Verdict: 1st

Atletico Madrid haven’t claimed back-to-back league titles in 71 years. That alone should provide a huge incentive to a title-winning team which right now won’t go down in club folklore in quite the same way as the classes of 1996 and 2014. They have a chance to do something neither of those title-winning sides did though and with continued problems at the so-called “big two”, they do have a real shot at defending their title.

Rodrigo De Paul looks a really smart signing but unless Griezmann comes back or Félix suddenly ignites, they will be heavily reliant on Luis Suarez again for goals. It may be a big ask for the Uruguayan to reach 20 again in LaLiga with Suarez turning 35 in a season which could see him make five trips to and from South America for key World Cup qualifiers. That could be a worry as the season moves on but right now Atleti feel a lot more settled, both on and off the pitch, than Barcelona and Real Madrid and they may just have enough to defend their crown.


Barcelona predictionsBARCELONA

Last Season: 3rd

The 2020/21 campaign was a chaotic one at Camp Nou. It started underneath the dark cloud of Leo Messi expressing his desire to leave the club and with 4 defeats in Ronald Koeman’s first 10 league games in charge. However, gradually a clearer style and system started to emerge and Barcelona improved, won the Copa del Rey and briefly looked on course for a domestic double. A poor end to LaLiga and another heavy European defeat meant it was still an unsatisfactory season overall, but the Dutchman survives to start the 2021/22 campaign, even if returning president Joan Laporta remains far from convinced.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Sergio Agüero (FREE), Emerson (€9m), Eric Garcia (FREE), Memphis Depay (FREE)
  • Players OUT: Junior Firpo (€15m), Jean-Clair Todibo (€8.5m), Carles Aleñá (€5m), Juan Miranda (FREE), Francisco Trinçao (LOAN), Leo Messi (RELEASED)

Barcelona have had a very difficult balancing act to play this summer. Following several years where the club’s financial situation was allowed to severely decline (a situation worsened further by the pandemic), they’ve been left needing to slash the wage bill just to meet their reduced salary limit.

They successfully shifted some fringe players and recouped a bit of cash but they really needed to find new homes for big earners such as Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho. The registration of Leo Messi, under current LaLiga rules, depended on it. While the Argentine had agreed to stay on, Barcelona announced just eight days before the start of the season that their greatest ever player was to leave the club, 21 years after his initial arrival from Newell’s as a precocious teenager.

Early suggestions it was little more than a power play by the club have proved false. With Messi heading for Paris, the signings of Sergio Agüero, Eric Garcia and Memphis Depay on free transfers and their imminent debuts have been completely overshadowed.

Barcelona Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Ronald Koeman
  • Target: 1st
  • Possible XI: Ter Stegen – Alba, Pique, Garcia, Roberto – Busquets, De Jong, Pedri – Depay, Agüero, Griezmann (4-3-3)
  • LLE Verdict: 3rd

With Messi, this team would have been well placed to top LaLiga this season but even without him, Barcelona still have a squad capable of challenging for the league title. They have a nice blend of experienced players and very exciting youngsters. The additions of Depay and Agüero gives them fresh options in the final third and guaranteed goals while following on from strong seasons, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri leave the Catalan giants suddenly looking in a much stronger position in the middle of the park than they were twelve months ago.

The only major doubts, particularly when it comes to their ability to compete in Europe, are at the back. Eric Garcia should slot into an otherwise ageing defence but the youngster is still relatively unproven having barely featured during his time at Manchester City. Barcelona also have to prove that they can deliver more consistently in the big games.

Despite the change of presidency, the club remains something of a circus off the pitch with Super League chatter ongoing and Camp Nou has the potential to be quite a toxic place this season with the Messi fallout likely to be long and bitter. Some members of Barcelona’s squad, most notably Griezmann, can expect plenty of criticism to come their way with many fans blaming the Frenchman and others for Messi’s departure.

So many unwelcome distractions could well prove their undoing in terms of actually winning the title but there is still more than enough quality in the squad for Barcelona to be serious challengers. Koeman will be hoping that with no Messi around, other players may come out of their shells and assume greater responsibility.


Real Madrid predictionsREAL MADRID

Last Season: 2nd

2020/21 would prove the final season in Zinedine Zidane’s second spell as Real Madrid coach. It ended without a trophy with Los Blancos falling just short in both the Champions League and LaLiga. Atleti pipped them to the title on the final weekend and Zidane left soon afterwards with the brilliance of Karim Benzema and the continued excellence of their experienced midfield trio not enough to secure a happy ending for the French boss.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: David Alaba (FREE)
  • Players OUT: Brahim Diaz (LOAN), Sergio Ramos (FREE) 

The most significant activity this summer at Real Madrid has involved central defenders with club legend Sergio Ramos ending a 16 year stay to join PSG on a free transfer. His long-time central defensive partner Raphaël Varane is also on the brink of sealing what is expected to be a €50m move to Manchester United with new arrival David Alaba set to fill one of those central defensive roles this season.

The Varane move should help free up some cash to potentially seal a deal for long-term target Kylian Mbappé who has just one year to run on his current PSG contract. That would be the dream ending to the summer for Florentino Perez and Real Madrid fans but it won’t be easy with Los Blancos still struggling to finance any deal.

The Madrid squad has also been bolstered by returning loanees such as Gareth Bale, Take Kubo, Martin Ødegaard, Luka Jovic and Dani Ceballos. However some of those players will also be shown the door again if there are interested parties before the window shuts.

Real Madrid Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Carlo Ancelotti
  • Target: 1st
  • Possible XI: Courtois – Mendy, Alaba, Militao, Carvajal – Casemiro, Kroos, Modric – Hazard, Benzema, Asensio (4-3-3)
  • LLE Verdict: 2nd

Carlo Ancelotti is the other significant arrival in Madrid this summer. He will be the man to oversee things as Los Blancos finally return to the Bernabeu in September after more than a year of playing at their training ground. The Italian though, will have to make do with a considerably weaker squad than he did when rocked up in the Spanish capital eight years ago for a season that would end in the glory of La Décima in Lisbon.

He will you suspect, have many of the same problems as his predecessor. His life will be made considerably easier if Eden Hazard can get fit and start firing but Real Madrid fans have been waiting two years for that to happen. He will be hoping he can get another good season out of Luka Modric with the likes of Take Kubo and Martin Ødegaard having shown little over the past twelve months to suggest they are ready to step up and fill his shoes. Ancelotti will also have to deal with the challenge of filling the huge defensive hole left by Ramos and Varane – two players who have been integral to almost everything Real Madrid have achieved in recent years.

Right now, it’s hard to make a strong case as to why a weakened Real Madrid will finish above what in theory should be a stronger Atleti – a feat Los Blancos have only managed once in the past four seasons in any case. However were Mbappé to arrive or Hazard to find his best form, that could change everything for Real Madrid who have been so dependent on Karim Benzema in the final third over the past two seasons.


Sevilla predictionsSEVILLA

Last Season: 4th

While there was no trophy to show for it this time, Julen Lopetegui’s second season at Sevilla was another strong one. There was never really any danger of them not finishing in the top four and they came as close as anyone has in recent years to breaking up the “big three” domination. Five straight league wins in April thrust them into genuine title contention but a home defeat against Athletic Club on MD34 effectively ended their challenge. Sevilla ultimately had to settle for 4th again but with a club record top flight points tally.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Marko Dmitrovic (FREE), Erik Lamela (SWAP)
  • Players OUT: Bryan Gil (€25m), Guilherme Arana (€2.5m), Sergi Gomez (€1m), Franco Vazquez (FREE), Tomas Vaclik (FREE), Sergio Escudero (RELEASED), Aleix Vidal (RELEASED)

At any other club, selling arguably your brightest academy graduate before even giving him a real chance in the first team would be a source of real anger for supporters. At Sevilla though, fans rarely dare question the judgement of sporting director Monchi whose smart dealings are the main reason behind Sevilla’s rise to become a genuine football power in the 21st Century. The Bryan Gil/Erik Lamela part-exchange deal is the biggest to have gone through involving Sevilla this summer but they have so far held onto all their key performers from last term despite interest in centre-back Jules Kounde.

Both Lamela and fellow new arrival Marko Dmitrovic will be useful back-ups. They could perhaps do with adding a couple more players to provide some squad depth in other areas following the departures of long-serving players such as Sergio Escudero and Franco Vazquez. The first XI though should be largely the same as last term which will provide continuity.

Sevilla Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Julen Lopetegui
  • Target: Top four
  • Possible XI: Bono – Acuna, Kounde, Carlos, Navas – Fernando, Jordan – Ocampos, Gomez, Suso – En-Nesyri (4-2-3-1)
  • LLE Verdict: 4th

Sevilla ought to be very competitive again and there’s no reason to think they won’t finish in the top four for the third season running. However whether they are capable of kicking on and becoming serious contenders for the 2021/22 title is more doubtful. They haven’t signed any players who will genuinely strengthen their first XI and may just find themselves slightly lacking against the very top sides.

It’ll be interesting to see what January signing Papu Gómez can do in his first full season in Spain and he does offer Sevilla that creative spark in the final third that was previously lacking at times. However the playmaker is one of a number of players heading towards their mid 30’s that remain key for Sevilla and you wonder whether the likes of Jesus Navas, Ivan Rakitic and Fernando can continue to perform at a level that will enable them to challenge the “big three” over the course of a long season.


European Hopefuls

football fans
Will the return of fans to San Mames spark an upturn in Athletic’s fortunes?

It will take a really impressive season from one of these teams if the top four is to look different this term but the likes of Villarreal and Real Sociedad will be hoping to make a stronger push for Champions League qualification. Those clubs, along with Real Betis, clinched the lesser European places last term and ought to be in the mix again.


Athletic Bilbao predictions

ATHLETIC CLUB

Last Season: 10th

Athletic’s 2020/21 season was all about the cups. They brought in Marcelino to replace Gaizka Garitano just in time for January’s Supercopa and it was a dream start for the former Valencia boss as Athletic beat both Real Madrid and Barcelona to win the trophy. Another fine Copa del Rey run followed ensuring they would play two Finals in April but both ended in painful defeats. Real Sociedad won the historic all-Basque 2020 Copa del Rey Final and a heavy 4-0 loss followed a fortnight later against Barcelona in the 2021 Final. Their league season petered out with Athletic finishing safely in mid-table.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Álex Petxa (FREE)
  • Players OUT: Iago Herrerin (RELEASED), Ibai Gomez (RELEASED), Iñigo Vicente (LOAN)

It has been a typically quiet summer in Bilbao. Athletic’s “Basque only” policy means recruitment options are always limited and there’s not much to report besides the arrival of 24-year old defender Álex Petxa on a free from neighbours Real Sociedad. He’s unlikely to challenge the first XI which should be similar to last term unless some of Athletic’s own academy products can make a real push for more regular first team football.

Athletic Club Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Marcelino
  • Target: European qualification
  • Possible XI: Simon – Balenziaga, Martinez, Yeray, De Marcos – Muniain, Vesga, D. Garcia, Berenguer – I. Williams, R. Garcia (4-4-2)
  • LLE Verdict: 8th

Athletic have one of the most highly rated coaches in Spain and while he did have initial success after taking over in January, a full pre-season may just be a good thing for this team as Marcelino tries to fully stamp his mark on it. The loss of form of key players in the latter stages of last season gave younger players chances and the likes of Nico Williams, Oihan Sancet and Unai Vencedor will be hoping to kick on in 2021/22.

35-year-old Raúl García could still have a big role to play leading the line but Athletic will need other players to step up and contribute more in the final third if they are going to be capable of reaching their objective which will be European qualification. The return of fans to San Mames will certainly be a welcome boost but the fear may be that it could prove something of a transitional season as the next generation starts to find their feet at the top level.


Celta Vigo predictionsCELTA VIGO

Last Season: 8th

Celta Vigo were one of the most improved teams in LaLiga last term. Truth be told, it wasn’t going to take much to improve on back-to-back 17th place finishes but after appointing Chacho Coudet early in the season, they finally started to deliver on the pitch. The 46 year old quickly settled on a 4-1-3-2 system that managed to find a place for most of Celta’s attacking talents and they impressed and often entertained en-route to an 8th place finish – just shy of the European places.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Javi Galan (€4m), Franco Cervi (€4m), Matías Dituro (LOAN)
  • Players OUT: Álvaro Vadillo (€1.8m), David Juncà (FREE), Sergio Álvarez (RETIRED), Facundo Ferreyra (RELEASED), Jeison Murillo (LOAN ENDED), Aaron Martin (LOAN ENDED), Jorge Saenz (LOAN ENDED)

Celta’s squad has had a top-heavy feel for a number of years with plenty of talented attack-minded midfielders and forward players but shaky defensive foundations. The addition of the impressive Renato Tapia last summer helped offer some much needed balance at the base of the midfield and the Galicians look to have made another excellent signing by taking left-back Javi Galan from Huesca for €4m.

Galan, one of the standout players in his position in LaLiga last term, looks a certain starter but fellow new arrival Franco Cervi may have to be more patient. Joining from Benfica, the 27 year old winger has been capped four times by Argentina but fell out of favour in the Portuguese capital last season and will be hoping to get his career back on track in Vigo.

The Celta squad is currently short on numbers though after a host of departures and we are likely to see them use the loan market again to strengthen as the transfer deadline approaches.

Celta Vigo Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Eduardo Coudet
  • Target: European qualification
  • Possible XI: Blanco – Galan, Araujo, Aidoo, Mallo – Tapia – Nolito, D. Suarez, Mendez – Aspas, Mina (4-1-3-2)
  • LLE Verdict: 7th

Celta have the makings of a team that could certainly challenge for Europe this season. They have the quality in their ranks going forward to do so and while Iago Aspas is still key to everything they do, there were times last season when other players stepped up and were match winners – which can only be a positive for Celta moving forwards.

Central defence is an area of concern with Jeison Murillo having departed and they could really do with bringing in at least a couple of defenders before the window closes. If they can recruit well, Celta have every chance of nicking that UEFA Conference League slot.


Real Betis predictionREAL BETIS

Last Season: 6th

Along with Celta, Real Betis were the other team to make a giant leap forward last season. Having finished 15th in 2019/20, they sealed 6th and with it Europa League football in their first campaign under Manuel Pellegrini. The feat was all the more impressive given there was very little recruitment to get Betis fans excited last summer but Pellegrini got considerably more out of his players than predecessor Rubi and will be relishing the prospect of taking Betis into Europe this term.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Rui Silva (FREE), Youssouf Sabaly (FREE), 
  • Players OUT: Emerson (€9m), Dani Martin (LOAN), Aïssa Mandi (FREE)

Despite securing a return to Europe, funds remain tight in the green and white half of Seville. Betis haven’t spent any money yet this window on transfer fees but they have sealed something of a coup by signing Granada’s first choice goalkeeper Rui Silva on a free.

There have also been significant movements in defence. Left-back Juan Miranda will be at the club again having signed a permanent deal after a successful loan spell while on the opposite side of defence, Youssouf Sabaly joins on a free from Bordeaux. However Betis will be without Emerson and Aïssa Mandi this term after the duo joined Barcelona and Villarreal respectively. Both men ranked in the top five for minutes played in LaLiga for Betis last season and will be significant misses.

Real Betis Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Manuel Pellegrini
  • Target: European qualification
  • Possible XI: Silva – Miranda, Ruiz, Bartra, Sabaly – Guardado, Rodriguez – Canales, Fekir, Ruibal – Iglesias (4-2-3-1)
  • LLE Verdict: 10th

Those two defensive departures perhaps leave Real Betis slightly weaker overall as it stands going into the new season. Adding in the demands of Thursday night football in Europe and it’s going to be a tough ask for Betis to repeat last season’s top six finish and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if they slipped back down into mid-table.

On their day, they have the talent to challenge the best teams and the return to form of Borja Iglesias in the latter half of last term is a major positive as the striker position had become something of a problem area for them. However it feels as though they may concede too many goals to really compete with the likes of Villarreal and Real Sociedad for those European places again.


Real Sociedad previewsREAL SOCIEDAD

Last Season: 5th

Real Sociedad were easily one of the most watchable teams in LaLiga but early season talk of a surprise title challenge quickly faded during a bleak winter which saw La Real win just 1 of 11 league games. They bounced back well to win the all-Basque Copa del Rey Final and claim the club’s first silverware since the 1980’s. A 5th place finish in LaLiga was also a good outcome but there were still times when a touch of inexperience and naivety showed and they’ll be hoping to give a better account of themselves in Europe this term after a heavy loss to Manchester United ended their 2020/21 Europa League adventure.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Diego Rico (€0.5m), Mathew Ryan (FREE)
  • Players OUT: Miguel Ángel Moyá (RELEASED)

Not too much transfer activity to report at Anoeta so far this summer. Diego Rico and Mathew Ryan have both moved to Donostia from different parts of England’s South Coast. The former is likely to be a back-up but Ryan could challenge the sometimes unconvincing Alex Remiro to be La Real’s first choice keeper. Willian Jose is also back from a loan spell at Wolves but it’s possible we may see the Brazilian move on again with Alexander Isak and Carlos Fernandez currently competing for one place up front.

There have been no major exits but it’s worth noting that Real Sociedad’s B team will be in the Segunda División this season after winning promotion. Attacking midfielders Roberto López and Luca Sangalli have both been registered for the B squad and look set to play second tier football this term.

Real Sociedad Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Imanol Alguacil
  • Target: Europa League qualification
  • Possible XI: Ryan – Monreal, Le Normand, Elustondo, Gorosabel – Merino, Zubeldia – Oyarzabal, Silva, Portu – Isak (4-2-3-1)
  • LLE Verdict: 6th

It’s perhaps surprising there hasn’t been more interest in some of Real Sociedad’s star players and there may well have been were it not for the difficult financial position that many of Spain’s top clubs find themselves in. Their loss is certainly La Real’s gain though and this is a strong team that creates loads of chances and should seal European qualification relatively comfortably again this season.

Whether they have quite enough to challenge the top four is more doubtful. They are still a bit too easy to open up at times and could do with being more clinical in the final third but Real Sociedad will certainly be among the neutral’s favourites when the 2021/22 LaLiga campaign gets going.


Villarreal predictionsVILLARREAL

Last Season: 7th

Villarreal’s 7th place finish was actually their second worst since returning to the Spanish top flight in 2013. Taken in isolation it represented a fairly underwhelming first season at the club for Unai Emery where they never seriously threatened to get close to the top four. However all of that won’t bother followers of the Yellow Submarine one bit after Europa League master Emery oversaw a fantastic campaign in Europe’s secondary competition, culminating in an epic penalty shootout win over Manchester United in Gdansk. The importance of that success cannot be understated for a club that had never previously won a major trophy.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Juan Foyth (€15m), Boulaye Dia (€12m), Aïssa Mandi (FREE)
  • Players OUT: Ramiro Funes Mori (€2.5m), Carlos Bacca (FREE), Jaume Costa (FREE)

Villarreal all of a sudden find themselves gearing up for Champions League football, ten years on from their last appearance in the group stage. That significant carrot has helped attract Senegalese forward Boulaye Dia to the club to bolster their attacking options after Carlos Bacca departed for Granada. However he may well have to largely play second fiddle to the likes of Gerard Moreno and Paco Alcacer.

At the other end of the pitch, Villarreal have signed Juan Foyth on a permanent deal after the player featured on loan for the Yellow Submarine last term. In central defence, Ramiro Funes Mori has departed for Saudi Arabia, with Aïssa Mandi filling that void after moving from Real Betis on a free transfer.

Villarreal Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Unai Emery
  • Target: Europa League qualification or better
  • Possible XI: Asenjo – Pedraza, Torres, Albiol, Foyth – Gomez, Parejo, Capoue, Chukwueze – G. Moreno, Alcacer (4-4-2)
  • LLE Verdict: 5th

Unai Emery has more options than most coaches in LaLiga and could easily revert to playing 4-3-3 once the season gets going. Villarreal were able to coast through the early stages in the Europa League last term but that won’t be possible in the Champions League so it’s going to be a more difficult balancing act in terms of rotation for Emery this term with some of his key players the wrong side of 30.

Overall though, Villarreal should have the kind of quality both in their starting XI and on the bench to cope and put together another solid league campaign. The top four may be just beyond them unless Sevilla unexpectedly drop off, but this is a squad that should better last season’s 7th place finish and seal Europa League qualification.


The Rest

Mallorca vs Alcorcon match
Top flight football returns to Mallorca.

Almost half of the clubs in LaLiga feared for their future at one point or another last season with little separating the teams in mid-table from those at the very bottom in terms of quality. With minnows Huesca and Eibar relegated and Espanyol and Mallorca expected to be competitive on their returns to the top flight, we could see a real scrap for survival involving a large number of teams this season.


Alaves predictions

ALAVÉS

Last Season: 16th

Alavés’ last two seasons have been quite similar with numerous coaching changes but ultimately they have had just enough to survive. Last term Pablo Machin was somewhat unfortunate to be dismissed with the club 16th in January. He was replaced by the returning Abelardo but it was anything but a happy homecoming as the Basque club plummeted to the foot of the table before appointing Javi Calleja in early April. The former Villarreal man had a positive impact as Alavés won 4 of their final 8 games to beat the drop and seal a 6th straight season in the top flight – their longest ever spell at this level.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Mamadou Loum (LOAN), Florian Lejeune (FREE), Iván Martín (LOAN), Manu García (LOAN), Toni Moya (FREE), Taichi Hara (FREE), Facundo Pellistri (LOAN)
  • Players OUT: Manu García (RELEASED), Jota (RELEASED), Burgui (RELEASED), Rodrigo Ely (RELEASED), Iñigo Córdoba (END OF LOAN), Rodrigo Battaglia (END OF LOAN), Borja Sainz (LOAN)

There is something of a squad overhaul going on in Vitoria this summer as Javi Calleja tries to assemble a squad that is a better fit for his desired style of play. To their credit, they have got a lot of business done early while many other clubs look happy to wait and try to seal a bargain or smart loan deal late in the transfer window.

There has also been a clear attempt to bring down the average age of the squad. 6 of the 7 arrivals are aged 24 or under but there are doubts as to how many of those players are ready to perform in one of the strongest leagues in the world. The most notable addition is perhaps that of Manu García (not to be confused with 35 year old Manu García who has just been released after 9 years at the club). The midfielder joins from Sporting Gijon on a loan deal having impressed for the Asturian club in the Segunda Division for the past two seasons. The club have also sealed the permanent signing of Florian Lejeune from Newcastle following on from a loan stint last season while Manchester United youngster Facundo Pellistri is also back for another loan spell.

Alaves Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Javier Calleja
  • Target: Survival
  • Possible XI: Pacheco – Duarte, Lejeune, Laguardia, Navarro – Rioja, García, Pina, Mendez – Joselu, Perez (4-4-2)
  • LLE Verdict: 17th

Despite all the comings and goings, Alavés’ starting XI should still have a relatively familiar look to it, even if the options off the bench will be different this season. It’s a team that has been just about good enough to stay up in the past two years but the general consensus is that things may be more competitive at the bottom this term. That could spell big trouble for a side like Alavés who have finished 16th in each of the last two seasons.

There are fairly clear flaws in this team but they do have a bit more firepower than some of their likely rivals for survival and the presence of Lucas Perez and particularly Joselu up front might just be enough to help them over the line again, but it could be touch and go!


Cadiz logoCADIZ

Last Season: 12th

Cádiz returned to the top flight after 14 seasons in the second and third tiers in 2020 and they did something they’d only managed once before – avoided relegation in their first season back in the Primera. Not only that, they equalled their best ever league finish and sealed memorable victories over both Real Madrid and Barcelona. The only shame was that their colourful fans were not there to witness it, but they will be back and will generate a lot of noise at what is now known as the Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla after a summer name change.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Santiago Arzamendia (€2.1m), Tomás Alarcón (€2m), Jeremías Ledesma (€1.8m), Martín Calderón (FREE), Varazdat Haroyan (FREE), Milutin Osmajic (Undisclosed Fee)
  • Players OUT: Pedro Alcalá (FREE), Augusto Fernández (RETIRED), Jairo Izquierdo (END OF LOAN), Ivan Saponjic (END OF LOAN), Ruben Sobrino (END OF LOAN), Álex Martín (FREE)

Last season’s first choice goalkeeper Jeremías Ledesma has converted a loan into a permanent transfer – perhaps the most significant piece of business Cádiz have done so far this summer. Their other additions all represent gambles to some extent with 22 year old midfielder Tomás Alarcón and 23 year old left-back Santiago Arzamendia arriving from South America, The duo are both full internationals for Chile and Paraguay respectively and will be new names to keep an eye on this season in LaLiga.

Montenegrin forward Milutin Osmajić is another young player hoping to impress in a bigger league but will most likely provide cover for Alvaro Negredo and Anthony Lozano. 22 year old Martín Calderón also arrives from Real Madrid with Cádiz clearly having one eye on the future this summer. The only other more experienced new arrival is 28 year old Armenian Varazdat Haroyan who joins from Astana and will be pushing for a start in central defence.

Cádiz Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Alvaro Cervera
  • Target: Survival
  • Possible XI: Ledesma – Espino, Cala, Fali, Iza – Perea, Jose Mari, Jonsson, Salvi – Lozano, Negredo (4-4-2)
  • LLE Verdict: 18th

All of Cádiz’s key performers from last season remain and they’ll be hoping their new arrivals offer a bit more depth than the players they had at the club last season. Overall though, it could be tougher second time around for Alvaro Cervera’s side. They came flying out of the blocks with four straight away wins to start last season and perhaps it took some teams a while to wise up to how best to play against their low possession, counter-attacking style.

This season, the rest of the top flight will know exactly what to expect and it’s likely they will be more heavily involved in the relegation battle in what may be a more competitive bottom half. Aside from Alvaro Negredo, who turns 36 in a few weeks, no Cádiz player scored more than 4 league goals last season. It doesn’t feel like they’ve really done anything to rectify that problem and they could find themselves in real trouble come May.


Elche logoELCHE

Last Season: 17th

This time twelve months ago, Elche hadn’t even started their delayed Segunda División play-off campaign. Their late end to the 2019/20 campaign and limited recruitment made them one of the hottest favourites for relegation we’ve seen in recent years in LaLiga but they ultimately defied all odds and at times logic to survive in the Spanish top flight. Coach Jorge Almirón departed in February with Fran Escribá returning to further etch his name into Elche folklore by completing a great escape with a home win over Athletic Club on the final weekend.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Iván Marcone (€4m), Lucas Boyé (€2m), Pedro Bigas (FREE), Enzo Roco (FREE), Kiko Casilla (LOAN)
  • Players OUT: Paulo Gazzaniga (END OF LOAN), Johan Mojica (END OF LOAN), Víctor Rodríguez (RELEASED), Antonio Barragán (RELEASED), Nino (RETIRED), Omenuke Mfulu (FREE), Miguel Cifuentes (FREE), Dani Calvo (FREE)

Elche have spent €6m so far this summer but that cash went on players who were at the club last season on loan. Pedro Bigas and Kiko Casilla also come in and bring plenty of experience while Chilean international Enzo Roco returns to the club after six years away and will compete for a start in central defence.

There have been a large number of departures though with loans ending and fringe players moving on. Their first team squad consists of just 18 players at the time of writing, so we can expect a few more players to arrive at Elche before the summer window shuts.

Elche Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Fran Escribá
  • Target: Survival
  • Possible XI: Casilla – Roco, Bigas, Verdu – Fidel, Guti, Marcone, Piatti, Josan – Boye, Carrillo (3-5-2)
  • LLE Verdict: 20th

Elche have at least had a proper summer break this time around and they will start the season with considerably more top flight experience in their ranks. Their summer business has seen them put together a squad which should at least be competitive and they have made some sensible additions at the back.

Going forward though, it’s still very hard to see where their goals are going to come from. Neither Lucas Boye nor Guido Carrillo are prolific scorers and they will need contributions from across the midfield you sense unless they can add another striker late in the window. They were fortunate to stay up last season with their three late season wins coming against teams with nothing to play for, but Fran Escribá will struggle to save them again.


Espanyol Season PreviewESPANYOL

Last Season: 1st (Segunda División)

Espanyol are back in the big league after just one season in the Segunda División. They held onto most of their best players following relegation in 2019/20 and were able to attack the second tier with what was essentially a top flight squad. The unsurprising result was a relatively comfortable promotion under the guidance of former Mallorca boss Vicente Moreno. His side edged out his old club to win the title finishing with the division’s best goalscoring record by some distance and joint best defensive record.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Landry Dimata (€2.2m), Álvaro Vadillo (€1.8m), Sergi Gómez (€1m), Miguelón (€0.5m)
  • Players OUT: –

Espanyol’s summer business suggests they are very confident that the squad that won them promotion is strong enough to compete in the top flight. Landry Dimata, Álvaro Vadillo and Miguelón were all at the club last season and have signed on permanent deals with the only new arrival being that of centre-back Sergi Gómez who brings plenty of top flight experience with him from Sevilla.

Espanyol Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Vicente Moreno
  • Target: Comfortably avoid relegation
  • Possible XI: Lopez – Pedrosa, Cabrera, Gomez, Gil – Darder, Lopez – Embarba, Melendo, Puado – De Tomas (4-2-3-1)
  • LLE Verdict: 11th

Relative to the quality that was in the squad, Espanyol’s 2019/20 campaign has to go down amongst the very worst we’ve ever seen in LaLiga. Just about everything went wrong that season but they’ve regrouped well under the guidance of a good coach and they should steer clear of any relegation danger on their return to the top flight.

The main worry may be that they are found wanting defensively at the higher level but going forward there is plenty of quality. 23 year old Javi Puado is certainly one to keep an eye on and he’ll be hungry to show he belongs on the big stage after an excellent season in the Segunda followed by a trip to the Olympics. Espanyol can also count on the services of Raúl de Tomás who fired in 23 goals last term and is a proven goalscorer in LaLiga. His presence alone gives them an edge on just about every other team in the bottom half of the table.


La Liga betting tipsGETAFE

Last Season: 15th

After four excellent seasons under José Bordalás, where Getafe won promotion and then consistently challenged for Europe, it all came crashing down last term. With target-man Jorge Molina no longer at the club and with new signings failing to fire, Getafe were toothless in front of goal for virtually the entire season. Their tally of 28 goals was the lowest in LaLiga but they stayed up thanks to a 2-1 win over Levante on the penultimate weekend. Bordalás has since moved on to pastures new in what feels like a natural parting of the ways after a disappointing end to what was a very successful era in Getafe’s history.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Carles Aleñá (€5m), Sandro Ramírez (LOAN), Stefan Mitrovic (€1m), Darío Poveda (FREE), Diego Conde (FREE), Vitolo (LOAN), José Macías (LOAN)
  • Players OUT: Francisco Portillo (FREE), Ángel Rodríguez (FREE), Xabi Etxeita (FREE), Amath Ndiaye (€4m), Take Kubo (END OF LOAN), Cucho Hernandez (END OF LOAN), Soufiane Chakla (END OF LOAN)

Getafe’s infamously combative style of play has won them few friends since their return to the top flight in 2017 but a new coach and something of a squad overhaul suggests we may see a very different Geta this term. Things had certainly gone a little bit stale under Bordalás towards the end and they’ve done some interesting business this summer to freshen things up.

Three players have come in from local rivals Atletico Madrid including Vitolo who will be hoping to revitalise his career at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez. Carles Aleñá has also joined on a permanent deal from Barcelona after a loan spell at the club last season but fellow loanees Take Kubo and Cucho Hernandez have returned to their parent clubs. Super sub Ángel Rodríguez, a regular feature during the Bordalás years, also moves on but their attacking threat is bolstered by the arrival of 21 year old Mexican forward José Macías on a loan deal with an option to buy. Already a full international, Macías has been taking part in the Olympics this summer and is tipped for a big future.

Getafe Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Michel
  • Target: Mid Table
  • Possible XI: Soria – Olivera, Cabaco, Djene, Suarez – Cucurella, Maksimovic, Aleñá, Vitolo – Mata, Macías (4-4-2)
  • LLE Verdict: 14th

Michel returns, a decade after his departure, to lead Getafe in 2021/22. The objective you sense will be to try and establish the side in mid-table whilst overseeing a transition to a slightly more expansive style of play. That may be easier said than done but it’ll certainly be interesting to see how he goes about the task.

Getafe’s squad offers up options to play 4-4-2 or switch to 4-3-3 as has happened at times in pre-season. José Macías and Vitolo could prove excellent signings but they don’t come without any risks and Michel must decide whether to throw them in from the off or stick largely with the core of the side that has established Getafe in the top flight over the past few years. Overall, there should be enough quality there to ensure they avoid the drop but turning this team into one that spends more time on the ball and seeks to find new ways to open up defences may take time and they may struggle to significantly improve on last season’s 15th place.


Granada predictionsGRANADA

Last Season: 9th

Granada set off on their debut European campaign in 2020/21 and they did brilliantly to progress all the way to the Quarter-Finals of the Europa League, having started out in the 2nd Qualifying Round. With 15 European games to navigate in total, their ability to again finish in the top half of LaLiga was an impressive feat although the season would end on a sour note with coach Diego Martinez opting not to renew his contract after three fantastic seasons at Los Carmenes.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Carlos Bacca (FREE), Luis Abram (FREE), Monchu (FREE)
  • Players OUT: Rui Silva (FREE), Roberto Soldado (€0.5m), Fede Vico (RELEASED), Kenedy (END OF LOAN), Jesús Vallejo (END OF LOAN), Yangel Herrera (END OF LOAN), Nehuén Pérez (END OF LOAN), Domingos Quina (END OF LOAN)

With no European football this term, the Granada squad did require some trimming and much of that has occurred naturally with loan deals expiring. What will concern Granada fans though is that some key players have followed their coach out of the door with goalkeeper Rui Silva and last season’s top scorer Roberto Soldado departing. The arrival of Carlos Bacca from Villarreal should ensure Soldado is not missed too much but holding midfielder Yangel Herrera is almost irreplaceable with any prospect of a third loan deal for the Manchester City man seemingly unlikely.

The other new arrivals are 21 year old Monchu, a midfielder who joins from Barcelona, and Peruvian international centre-back Luis Abram. Both look like smart signings on free transfers. Bringing in a new goalkeeper will also be a top priority before the window shuts with last season’s back-up Aaron Escandell currently the only keeper in Granada’s senior squad.

Granada Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Robert Moreno
  • Target: Mid Table
  • Possible XI: Aaron – Neva, Abram, Duarte, Foulquier – Milla, Gonalons – Machis, Monchu, Puertas – Bacca (4-2-3-1)
  • LLE Verdict: 15th

9th place perhaps flattered Granada slightly last season and the many admirers of Diego Martinez and his team were perhaps a bit too willing to overlook the fact they had the worst defensive record in LaLiga, conceding 7 more goals than the team with the second worst record. The departure of their goalkeeper is only going to add to the defensive uncertainty and new boss Robert Moreno will need to find a way to prevent this side from leaking goals, otherwise they could easily sink towards the scrap at the bottom.

Moreno joins after the controversy of his unsavoury exit from the Spain job. He has since briefly coached Monaco without much success and will certainly have a point to prove this season. Going forward, Granada still have plenty of good options and the return to fitness of Luis Milla will be a major boost in midfield. However the bar has been set very high by what they’ve achieved in recent years and it’s hard to see them replicating those successive top half finishes this term.


Levante predictionsLEVANTE

Last Season: 14th

Levante’s 2020/21 season followed a somewhat familiar pattern. They were again one of the most unpredictable sides in LaLiga with away wins against the two Madrid clubs the highlights of a campaign which also saw them reach the Semi-Finals of the Copa del Rey. However once they’d amassed enough points to effectively guarantee safety, they appeared to switch off with their last 8 league fixtures yielding just 3 points. As a result they narrowly missed out on finishing as the top Valencia club for the first time in their history.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Roberto Soldado (€0.5m), Enric Franquesa (€0.75m), Roger Brugué (FREE)
  • Players OUT: Rubén Rochina (RELEASED), Cheick Doukouré (FREE), Toño García (FREE)

It has been a pretty low key summer at Estadi Ciutat de València with the arrival of veteran forward Roberto Soldado from Granada the main story. He adds another solid attacking option but there’s not a huge amount else for Levante fans to really get excited about in terms of arrivals.

Perhaps surprisingly, Rubén Rochina, who started 17 times in LaLiga last season, has been released while two other players have left on free transfers. The result is that the squad will have a familiar feel this term and Paco Lopez will probably be happy enough about that.

Levante Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Paco López
  • Target: Mid Table
  • Possible XI: Fernandez – Clerc, Vezo, Postigo, Miramon – Campana, Malsa, Melero – Morales, Roger, De Frutos (4-3-3)
  • LLE Verdict: 13th

Levante’s late season slump shouldn’t really be any source for serious alarm heading into the 2021/22 season and there are fewer doubts about them than some of the other teams that ended up in the bottom half. They are generally a team that has a go, and that does at times leave them exposed at the back but they have creative players and goals in their team so they ought to steer well clear of serious trouble again this season.

Paco Lopez has been playing 4-3-3 in pre-season and significantly José Campaña is fit again which is a major boost given their star midfielder missed the second half of last season through injury. They have a blend of experience and youth in attack with the likes of Roberto Soldado, Roger Marti and Jose Luis Morales coming towards the end of their careers while Dani Gomez and Jorge de Frutos are young players heading towards their peak years.


Mallorca season previewMALLORCA

Last Season: 2nd (Segunda División)

You have to go back to the summer of 2016 for the last time Mallorca were preparing to start a new season in the same division as they ended the last. Relegation from the top flight in 2020 was quickly followed by an immediate return and it was never really in major doubt with Mallorca looking like one of the two class acts in the Segunda Division throughout last season. They were outstanding defensively conceding just 28 goals and only missed out on the title by virtue of an inferior H2H record versus Espanyol.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Dominik Greif (€2.5m), Pablo Maffeo (LOAN), Jaume Costa (FREE), Ángel Rodríguez (FREE), Amath Ndiaye (€4m)
  • Players OUT: Ante Budimir (€8m), Miquel Parera (FREE), Fran Gámez (FREE), Murilo de Souza (END OF LOAN), Álvaro Giménez (END OF LOAN), Marc Cardona (END OF LOAN), Koke Vegas (END OF LOAN)

Mallorca have been keen to add top flight experience to their ranks, something they were certainly a bit short of in their unsuccessful 2019/20 Primera season. They will be hoping the likes of Jaume Costa and Ángel Rodríguez can add that bit of extra guile which could prove the difference in tight games and on the surface they look to have done some decent business.

The only major disappointment from a Mallorca fans perspective is that Ante Budimir has completed a permanent move to Osasuna following a loan stint at El Sadar last term. Budimir was Mallorca’s biggest goal threat during their last top flight adventure and they could perhaps do with adding another striker before the window shuts given Abdón Prats top scored with just 10 goals for them in the Segunda Division last term.

Mallorca Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Luis Garcia
  • Target: Survival
  • Possible XI: Reina – Costa, Valjent, Raillo, Maffeo – Sevilla, Ruiz de Galarreta – Amath, Dani Rodriguez, Sanchez – Angel (4-2-3-1)
  • LLE Verdict: 16th

Under the astute guidance of Luis Garcia, Mallorca certainly look better equipped to stay up this time and they return to the Primera as a smarter, more experienced team than they were in 2019. They may not be quite as fun this time around with a more solid defensive structure to count on and no Take Kubo in their ranks, but overall they will be quietly confident about their prospects.

It’ll be interesting to see how Garcia opts to use Ángel Rodríguez. The 34 year old was for so long restricted to a super sub role at Getafe, even when his goalscoring exploits suggested he was worthy of a far more regular start. Given more playing time, he certainly has the potential to reach double figures if Mallorca can provide him with good service while Amath Ndiaye is another former Getafe player to really keep an eye on this season with the Senegalese international fit and firing again following on from some serious injury problems.


Osasuna La Liga predictions

OSASUNA

Last Season: 11th

In their second season back in the top flight, Osasuna proved once again that they belong at this level. They were severely hampered by injuries early on with star forward Chimy Ávila suffering a fresh ACL injury that would rule him out for virtually the whole campaign. Osasuna coped well though and with loan signing Ante Budimir scoring 11 goals, they had just enough firepower to go with their solid foundations to secure another mid-table finish.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Kike (FREE), Ante Budimir (€8m), Jonás Ramalho (€0.7m), José Ángel (FREE), Jesús Areso (FREE)
  • Players OUT: Rubén Martínez (FREE), Marc Cardona (FREE), Adrián López (RELEASED), Facundo Roncaglia (RELEASED), Jony (END OF LOAN), Manu Sánchez (END OF LOAN), Jonathan Calleri (END OF LOAN)

Osasuna look to have done some really good business this summer. They quickly secured a permanent deal for Ante Budimir and further bolstered their attacking options by bringing in another player who reached double figures for goals in LaLiga last term. That man was Kike Garcia who netted 12 times for relegated Eibar and between them, Kike and Budimir ought to ensure Osasuna carry a genuine goal threat this term.

Left-back José Ángel has also arrived on a free transfer from Eibar while Angolan defender Jonás Ramalho has converted a loan deal into a permanent move. More players have left than have arrived but youngsters Javi Martínez and Kike Saverio have been promoted to the senior squad and will be hoping to force their way into Jagoba Arrasate’s plans.

Osasuna Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Jagoba Arrasate
  • Target: Mid Table
  • Possible XI: Herrera – Cruz, D. Garcia, Aridane, Vidal – R. Garcia, Oier, Moncayola, R. Torres – Budimir, Avila (4-4-2)
  • LLE Verdict: 9th

Osasuna could be something of a surprise package this season. Little has changed defensively and they ought to be as solid and tough to play against as ever. However going forward they ought to pack more of a punch with a fit again Chimy Ávila potentially the perfect foil to the likes of Kike and Budimir.

Jagoba Arrasate must figure out how best to set his team up with a switch to a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 also possible. If they can get Ávila back to his best form then Osasuna could even be dark horses for European qualification but at worst they should be mid-table again.


Rayo Vallecano season previewRAYO VALLECANO

Last Season: 6th (Segunda División Play-Off Winners)

As was the case with Elche the season before, Rayo sneaked into the play-offs at the death as the 6th placed team and went on to get the better of those who had finished above them. They actually lost their final league game at home to struggling Lugo but a favour elsewhere ensured they would get that crack at the play-offs where they cemented their reputation as a side capable of turning it on against the stronger teams by defeating local rivals Leganes and then Girona to reach the big time again.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Fran García (€2m), Randy Nteka (€1.3m), Pathé Ciss (€1m), Iván Balliu (FREE)
  • Players OUT: Luis Advíncula (€2.2m), Joni Montiel (LOAN), Leonardo Ulloa (RELEASED), Martín Pascual (LOAN), Iván Martos (END OF LOAN), Antoñín (END OF LOAN)

Rayo Vallecano have a really tough task ahead of them this season and their summer recruitment so far doesn’t do a huge amount to inspire confidence that they are ready for the step up. They’ve managed to sign 21 year old left-back Fran Garcia on a permanent deal from Real Madrid which is a good move after the youngster was a regular last season in Vallecas.

Midfielders Pathé Ciss and Randy Nteka have arrived from neighbours Fuenlabrada but like much of this squad must prove they can do it in the top flight. They’ve also picked up another player from last season’s Segunda Division with right-back Iván Balliu coming in from Almeria to fill the void left by the departing Luis Advíncula. Balliu does have a bit more experience having previously played top flight football in France after his release from Barcelona’s B team.

Rayo Vallecano Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: Andoni Iraola
  • Target: Survival
  • Possible XI: Dimitrievski – Fran Garcia, Saveljich, Catena, Balliu – Comesaña, Valentin – Alvaro Garcia, Trejo, Palazon – Qasmi (4-2-3-1)
  • LLE Verdict: 19th

Under the guidance of 39 year old Andoni Iraola, one of the brightest young coaches in Spain, Rayo Vallecano will be a popular addition to the top flight. They aren’t a team likely to (or even capable of) park the bus for most of the season so we should see plenty of goals in Rayo matches, although you fear most of those will be scored in their net rather than that of the opposition.

They have some talented midfield players and pace out wide but this squad is crying out for the signing of a striker. Winger Isi Palazón top scored with 10 goals last season in the second tier but no other Rayo player scored more than 6. Much may depend on who they can bring in before the window closes but even if they can sign a proven top flight forward, it may not be enough to save them in what promises to be a very competitive league.


Valencia predictionsVALENCIA

Last Season: 13th

After a major summer exodus, Valencia’s struggles last season were entirely predictable. While they ultimately avoided the doomsday scenario of relegation with relative ease, there was little for followers of Los Che to get excited about. The all too familiar falling out between Valencia coach and board came early on but it wasn’t until May that Javi Gracia was finally dismissed with caretaker boss Voro yet again coming in to steer the club through choppy waters to an underwhelming 13th placed finish.

Summer Transfer Activity
  • Players IN: Omar Alderete (LOAN)
  • Players OUT: Kevin Gameiro (FREE), Eliaquim Mangala (RELEASED), Patrick Cutrone (END OF LOAN), Ferro (END OF LOAN), Christian Oliva (END OF LOAN)

There has been little to suggest Valencia are going to make any serious additions to the squad this summer. The only arrival so far has been that of Omar Alderete, a 24 year old centre-back on loan from Hertha Berlin.

They won’t really miss any of the players whose loans have expired and in truth the departures of Kevin Gameiro and Eliaquim Mangala aren’t major blows either. Valencia fans are desperate to see captain José Gayà and hometown hero Carlos Soler stay at the club but there is still the suspicion that the board may be tempted to further cash in should a big enough offer come in later this month.

Valencia Season Preview 2021/22
  • Coach: José Bordalás
  • Target: Top Half
  • Possible XI: Cillessen – Gaya, Diakhaby, Gabriel, Correia – Cheryshev, Soler, Racic, Musah – Gomez, Guedes (4-4-2)
  • LLE Verdict: 12th

Valencia kick off the season against familiar foes Getafe but after one of the more surprising moves of the summer, José Bordalás will be in the home dugout at Mestalla. He’s not exactly the most popular man in Valencia after a series of controversial clashes between the two clubs and his combative style of play will need to deliver results quickly if he’s to win over his new supporters.

It’s tough to know what a realistic target may be for Valencia this season. European qualification feels like it will be beyond them again unless some of their younger players really step up a gear. Bordalás will at least be expected to improve things defensively and get them moving in the right direction again with an improvement on last term’s disappointing 13th place finish the minimum goal.


Transfer details are accurate as of Friday 6th August 2021 and fees via Transfermarkt.

Possible XI’s are designed to be for which players may become regulars during the season, not necessarily those that will start on the opening weekend. We will have match previews for every game in LaLiga again when the season starts!

Spanish football writer
About Mark Sochon 1538 Articles
Mark is a freelance writer based in Madrid. He has also lived in Seville and Barcelona and has written extensively about Spanish football. His work has been published by the likes of Guardian Sport & World Soccer.

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