Gerry Johnston speaks with @glorioso117 about Alaves’ chances next season, a change in management and their transfer targets.
@glorioso117, who have a radio show on Radio Gorbea where they focus on all things to Alaves – spoke to us regarding the club’s upcoming season and their changes at the club this summer.
Alaves finished 9th in La Liga last season and reached the Final of the Copa del Rey. Surely you were delighted with that in the clubs first season back in the top flight?
Right, we all are so delighted, nobody expected to stay up never mind reach the Final of the Copa del Rey.
The club have lost Mauricio Pellegrino to Southampton this summer. How big a blow is that and how do you think he will do in England?
Well, it is a fact it could happen. The great performances by the team upgraded his status. Mauricio knows the Premier League’s idiosyncrasy as he played for Liverpool and was an assistant coach to Benitez. So, he has it all to do a good job at Southampton.
Luis Zubeldia will manage the club this year. Do you know much about him? Do you think it is risky to appoint a man who has no experience of European football?
The references are quite good from South America. He is a young coach with an attacking mentality. He said recently -“if we concede three goals, we will score five.” It is true though that modern football is more about final scores than style. Nevertheless we have full confidence in Sergio Fernandez (the General Manager who chose Luis Zubeldia) although South American football is not as exciting as European. So, we do not think it is a risky appointment.
Alaves have been extremely busy this summer with several players coming in and out of the club. Which deals do you think will prove to be the most important when the season starts?
Well, all the exits have been loaned players returning to their clubs except Cup Semi-Final hero Edgar Mendez who was sold to Mexican team, Cruz Azul. We are expecting to sign a striker as the team lacked in that position last season.
Are there any areas in the squad that you think need to be improved on this summer? Has anyone been linked to fill those positions?
There are two lines to strengthen, the forward line and the midfield line. One Striker that could assure more than 12 goals and one organiser in midfield in order to manage the attacking Zubeldia system. So far, nobody has been linked to fill these positions.
If you were allowed to make one realistic signing for the club who would you bring in?
Turkish striker Cenk Tosun from Besiktas. He has German nationality and is known for being a lethal finisher.
Is there anyone in the squad that you are concerned might be tempted to move away from Alaves?
Last season the gossips pointed to Feddal (defender) to move to England but he is very happy at Deportivo Alavés, but who knows, nobody is perpetual. Another player is midfielder Oscar Romero. He has a contract until December and as a non European player he can be sacrificed to keep the non European quota down.
What are the clubs plans this summer? Do they have any tours or training camps planned?
The Schedule is as follows:
19/07- Toulouse FC (Ligue 1 Conforama) in San Juan de Luz (France)
22/07 – UD Logroñés (Segunda B) in Laguardia (Alava)
25/07 – CD Mirandés (Segunda B) in Vitoria-Gasteiz
28/07 – CD Numancia (La Liga 1|2|3) in Soria
02/08 to 09/08 – Training in Hotel Golf Campoamor (Alicante)
06/08 – Levante UD (La Liga Santander) (venue pending)
09/08 – CD Leganés (La Liga Santander) in Leganes
12/08 – Athletic Bilbao (La Liga Santander) in Baracaldo
Are there any youngsters at the club who you think could make the breakthrough into the first team this season?
We do not think so. The B team failed to win promotion to Segunda B during this season. There is too much of a gap between the fourth division and the top division. Players are not quite good enough to skip the gap. The club is working hard to sign young players to loan or/and to restructure the B team. In order to improve the ability there is an agreement with the Croatian first division team, NK Rudes, so that Deportivo Alaves can loan several proficient youngsters to this team.
What are Alaves’ targets for next season?
We cannot forget that our main target is to maintain our top flight status as soon as we can. Other achievements will be very welcome like last season, where even though we didn’t win the Final, our supporters celebrated the game singing and singing after the match.