Malaga go all out in a record-breaking transfer window in bid to avoid relegation

Maxime Lestienne.
Maxime Lestienne. / SUR
  • The Blue and Whites recruited seven new players in the January transfer window, one more than their record of six in the 2010-11 season

With their top flight future hanging in the balance, Malaga have moved to further strengthen their attacking line with the deadline day signings of Maxime Lestienne and Isaac Success.

These signings were announced on Wednesday, hours after the club formally presented forward Brown Ideye who finally completed his move following a lengthy delay.

Sporting director Mario Husillos has been a busy man this month, bringing in a club record seven signings in the January window. This eclipses the record set in the 2010-11 season when the club recruited Sergio Asenjo, Martín Demichelis, Julio Baptista, Willy Caballero, Enzo Maresca and Ignacio Camacho.

However, this time round the outlook is very different. Malaga sit bottom of the table and have moved quickly in an attempt to preserve their La Liga status.

Having already brought in Ignasi Miquel, Manuel Iturra, Alberto Bueno and Samuel García, many thought that the signing of Brown Ideye would be the last. His loan move from Chinese club Tianjin Teda was formally announced on Monday.

The Nigerian, 29, whose move to China didn't pay off, returns to Europe where he has had something of a nomadic career, representing the likes of Dinamo Kiev and Olympiakos.

Known for his strength, Malaga hope he will be able to lead the line, once he returns to full fitness.

The former West Bromwich Albion forward passed his medical last Wednesday but many feared the deal would fall through after negotiations took longer than expected with the player's numerous representatives.

Ideye said at his presentation on Wednesday: “I am very grateful to be here. I had many sleepless nights waiting for this deal to go through.

“I am a goal scorer and I hope to help the team as much as I can.”

Last-minute surprises

Just as it looked like Malaga's business was done, there was still frenetic activity behind the scenes at La Rosaleda.

It was known that the club wanted to bring in a wide player, but that was dependent on offloading the likes of Javi Ontiveros, Cifu, Alex Mula and Cenk Gönen.

In the end, the first three secured moves away (to Real Valladolid, Albacete and Tenerife, respectively, on loan) while Gönen was released, freeing up space in the squad for the Blue and Whites to bring in their remaining targets.

After moves for Sandro Ramírez and Michael Krohn-Dehli didn't materialise, Malaga still managed to secure the high-profile arrivals of Isaac Success and Maxime Lestienne.

Lestienne, 25, who normally operates from the left, joins on loan until the end of the season from Russian side Rubin Kazan.

Despite his age, Lestienne is well travelled. After a successful spell in his native Belgium with Club Brugge, Lestienne completed a big-money move to Qatar with Al-Arabi. However, he never played for the team and after consecutive loan spells with Genoa and PSV, he joined Rubin in the summer of 2016.

Forward Success, who can also operate on the wing, joins on loan from English side Watford until the end of the season.

At Malaga, the 22-year-old will be reunited with coach José González. The pair coincided at Granada in the 2015-16 season during which Success scored six goals as the Andalusian side avoided relegation.

Though Malaga now have ample cover in all areas, it should be noted that the latest arrivals join on the back of long spells out of action.