After leaving in search of pastures new more than four years ago, Manuel Iturra, a key component of the Malaga side which reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League in 2013, is returning to La Rosaleda. Now 33, Iturra, is due in the city to sign a contract until the summer of 2019.
The holding midfielder is a free agent after his contract with Mexican side Necaxa, for whom he was an automatic starter, came to end.
Head coach Míchel wants the player in as soon as possible so that he can get up to speed over the winter break and be ready for Malaga’s decisive run of games in the new year when they take on fellow relegation battlers Espanyol, Getafe, Eibar and Girona.
Iturra won’t be the only new recruit in January after the club altered its plans and now expects to sign a second central midfielder. With summer signing Emanuel Cecchini told to find a new club and doubts persisting over Esteban Rolón, Recio and Adrián are the only reliable options currently available to Míchel with injury problems dogging Zdravko Kuzmanovic.
It is hoped that this second midfielder will be equally adept at playing as a ‘6’ as an ‘8’ and can give creative freedom to both Recio and Adrián further up the pitch.
More versatility in the market
With last week’s signing of defender Ignasi Miquel, who was on the bench for the match at Anoeta on Sunday but not officially unveiled until Monday, Malaga have already strengthened the positions in most desperate need.
However, with Miquel’s transfer costing a mere 90,000 euros, the club have more room for manoeuvre in the transfer market than expected - thus able to afford this second midfielder.
But with the revenue generated from the possible sales of Cecchini, Cenk Gonen, Cifu and possibly Jony (over whom a decision hasn’t yet been made), another forward could yet be on the radar.
However, with Diego Rolán and Adalberto Peñaranda set to return from injury in the coming weeks, this is a low priority.