With the new season kicking off on Monday, Malaga's preparations took another setback on Saturday when club owner Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani pulled the plug on a transfer move for defensive midfielder Esteban Rolón.
Al-Thani personally led the negotiations for the the 22-year-old who plays for Argentinian second tier side Argentinos Juniors after vetoing a move for former Manchester City man Javi García, contradicting his head coach Míchel in a public put-down on Twitter.
However, the saga took another twist when the deal for his would-be replacement, which would have cost 3.5 million euros, was called off by the owner who tweeted: “I’ve been working for more than one month to finish everything but there is no solution.This is why I cancelled the deal because we were wasting time for nothing, I hope you understand.”
It was understood at that Rolón had been pencilled in for a medical almost two weeks ago ahead of signing a six-year deal.
According to La Opinión de Málaga, the club now has its sights set on Facundo Quignón, 24, also from Argentina, who has returned to San Lorenzo after a loan spell with Newell’s Old Boys who decided not to activate the two-million-euro purchase clause.
Quignón, who registered three assists during his loan spell, is known for regaining possession, but is perhaps not the number six the club has been pushing to recruit after Ignacio Camacho who joined German side Wolfsburg earlier this summer.
Emanuel Cecchini has been recruited from Banfield but is viewed as a long-term replacement for Pablo Fornals who joined Villarreal. As it stands, the injury prone Zdravko Kuzmanovic, who has made his loan from Basel permanent, is the only recognised holding midfielder in the squad.
As a result, Míchel has been toying with a back three ahead of the season opener despite injuries to both Miguel Torres and Federico Ricca, as well as Mikel Villanueva’s loan switch to Segunda side Cádiz.
Al-Thani under fire
With this saga persisting -Al-Thani was in negotiations for Rolón for 21 days-, the Qatari is attracting criticism from both fans and Míchel himself for interfering in transfer matters.
Míchel, speaking in his press conference to preview the Eibar clash on Monday, said: “I prefer not to do business on social media. My job is to pick the team and I hope no one will interfere in that.”
Al-Thani, in turn, deflected attention back on sporting director Francesc Arnau, telling him to sign the striker the team needed.