With Sunday’s defeat to Real Betis silencing any hopes of a Europa League push, Espanyol and coach Quique Sanchez Flores can begin preparations for next season, but what exactly lies ahead?
Firstly, the uncertainty surrounding the future of Flores may well be addressed. The Spaniard only has a year left on his contract and with many teams placed below them sacking their managers, reports circulate linking fellow La Liga coaches to his position.
Names such as Girona coach Pablo Machin, Leganes’ Asier Garitano, and Watford’s Javi Garcia have all entered the fray. However, many believe the board will not want to relieve Flores of his duties early.
This is mainly down to the compensation they would have to pay Flores which could be used to help strengthen the squad come July.
And, despite the former Atletico Madrid coach not building on last season’s eighth-place finish, the fault for the demise cannot be solely pointed at him. During his tenure, he has not been financially backed in the transfer market.
Espanyol spent a little over £4 million last summer and without investment, the Parakeet’s could be in for another season similar to this one.
However as reported per AS, mandatory sales are needed to balance the books. It is an open secret that Espanyol must sell players to generate€17 million to help with the costs revealed in their last shareholders’ meeting.
The sale of Javi Fuego to Villarreal for just over €1 million acts as a small part of the equation and fans are told to expect more departures come the season’s end.
Begging the question, will parting ways with fullback Aaron Martin to Barcelona help reach the required amount? Or will the likes of top scorer Gerard Moreno and David Lopez also have to leave?
Add goalkeeper Pau Lopez leaving on a free transfer to Real Betis at the end of the season, Flores’ side is left sparse, not only in between the posts.
With Aaron looking to be the major sale and defender Sergio Sanchez’s loan set to expire come May, they will need to bolster their back line concentrating on the centre-back positions.
Take into account midfielders Sergi Darder and Carlos Sanchez who will return to their parent clubs, Flores is left with more holes to fill than platforms to build upon.