Veteran strikers Jorge Molina and Rubén Castro on the radar for Malaga

Jorge Molina challenges for the ball with Ignasi Miquel.
Jorge Molina challenges for the ball with Ignasi Miquel. / Agencia Lof
  • A proven goalscorer in the second division is a priority, but the club will first look to make more sales before the start of preseason

With the start of preseason fast approaching, transfer business is the order of the day with new coach Juan Ramón Muñiz hoping to have only the players he's counting on for next season as part of his group which starts training on 9 July.

With departures already sealed for winger Jony (who moved to Deportivo Alavés on loan), midfielder Emanuel Cecchini (who returns to Banfield on loan with an option to buy) and Chory Castro (whose free transfer return to Nacional was completed on Monday), Malaga can now start to look at bringing players in.

The priority at the moment is the frontline. Both Muñiz and new sporting director José Luis Caminero agree on the profile of the new man: he needs to have experience in Segunda and offer guaranteed goals. The two contenders at present are Getafe forward Jorge Molina and Real Betis's Rubén Castro.

The latter had also been shortlisted by Caminero's predecessor, Mario Husillos, but the Canarian looks set for a free transfer move to Las Palmas. However, with the deal stalling, Malaga's interest has been reignited.

That said, the main target is Molina. The 36-year-old has just come off the back of a seven-goal season with La Liga side Getafe, but it is his numbers in the second division which attract attention: he has scored 20+ goals in each of his four seasons there.

A potential swap deal

This signing will be a complicated one, though, with Jorge Molina attracting plenty of interest from clubs both in Segunda and in the lower reaches of La Liga. Getafe, however, have expressed an interest in Malaga central defender Ignasi Miquel, but so far have failed to match his release clause of 3.5 million euros - a figure below which Caminero is reluctant to negotiate. One option, therefore, is that Molina could be included as part of a part-exchange deal to subsidise the fee, but Malaga would expect Molina's valuation to be very low given his age.

Molina, however, is in excellent shape and considered to be a 'late bloomer'. What's more, with 88 goals in 173 Segunda appearances, he comes with an almost cast-iron guarantee.

Further reinforcements

While a striker appears to be the highest priority at present, once more of the squad deadwood (Cenk Gönen, Esteban Rolón, Juanpi, Cifu, Bakary Koné, Adnane Tighadouini...) is cleared out, Muñiz has a number of priorities outlined.

First, as has been the basis of all teams with which he has earned promotion, is to have a strong backline, capable of dominating in the air and seeing out games. Two seasons ago when he returned Levante to La Liga, the side kept a clean sheet in half of their matches (19).

The club's preference is to keep hold of Ignasi Miquel, but they know that if they were to get the value of his release clause, the money could go a long way at this level.

A return for right-back Jesús Gámez is also on the cards after his release from Newcastle and it is not yet known whether Andrés Prieto will be given a chance to prove himself as the first-choice keeper.

Midfield is likely to see the most change with the ageing pairing of Manuel Iturra and Mehdi Lacen expected to fill squad roles once more bodies are brought in, while out wide, there are few players currently in the squad who can play there, barring Keko who is likely to join Chory and Jony out the door if a suitor can be found.

No rush

While Caminero and Muñiz are working around the clock to bring together the squad for the upcoming campaign, SUR sources have been informed that the club is striving not to make the same mistakes as in previous seasons; that is to say 'gifting' players to other teams rather than playing hardball over fees and signing others that didn't fit into the overall vision.

As a result, the pair will take their time, taking advantage of it being a World Cup year, and focus on moving players out before preseason, not overly concerned if new recruits then follow later.