Malaga defender Luis Muñoz has secured the loan move, according to head coach Míchel, he “needed”, joining Segunda side Lugo until the end of the season.
The centre-back remains in Malaga’s long-term plans but the established pairing of Luis Hernández and Paul Baysse would have seen regular playing time limited barring any major injury crisis.
The boss ruled out a move to the club’s B team, Atlético Malagueño, earlier this summer, believing that fourth-tier football was at an “inferior” level and would only hinder his development.
From the La Palmilla district of Malaga, Luis, 20, shot to prominence last season as he made his debut at the Camp Nou as a second-half substitute for Javi Ontiveros. His impressive performance, as the right-sided centre back in a back five, as well as the reflexes of keeper Carlos Kameni, helped the Blue and Whites to an impressive clean sheet in a 0-0 draw back in November.
After losing out on Jorge Meré in the transfer saga of the summer, Malaga finally strengthened their backline with the signing of Diego González from arch rivals Sevilla. González, who started the league opener against Eibar, appears to be the third-choice for central defence, while the versatile Miguel Torres and Federico Ricca can also cover in that position.
In fact, Míchel is so assured with his defensive options that the club has allowed Bakary Koné, who only joined from Olympique Lyonnais last summer, to complete a loan deal to newly-promoted French side Strasbourg. The Burkinabé international, who struggled to adjust to the demands of Spanish football, was excluded entirely from the club’s recent training camp in the Netherlands.
Koné has also been joined out the exit door by Venezuelan defender Mikel Villanueva, 24, who signed a contract extension until 2020 before joining fellow Andalusian side Cadiz in Segunda.
Full-back Cifu, who spent last year on loan at Girona, remains available for transfer, after youngster Álex Robles impressed the coaching staff when given the opportunity both on the right and left of defence during preseason.