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Al-Thani signs off on Ontiveros' departure, freeing up a squad place for Okazaki

Javi Ontiveros.
Javi Ontiveros. / SUR
  • New signing Shinji Okazaki could now feature in Saturday's opening-day fixture against Racing Santander

Malaga have a tough task facing them as they head to Santander for their first league game of the season against Racing on Saturday. However, things took a slight turn for the better on Friday when club president Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani eventually signed off on Javi Ontiveros' long-awaited move to Villarreal.

Having exceeded the wage cap limit, Malaga have had a ban in place on registering new players, but with this high-profile departure, there should be enough room for manoeuvre to register new signing Shinji Okazaki - should clearance arrive in time for Saturday's match.

Víctor Sánchez del Amo's side are likely to head in to the fixture just twelve available professionals: Munir, Cifu, Luis Hernández (injured), David Lombán, Diego González, Juankar, Renato Santos, Badr Boulahroud, Adrián, Javi Ontiveros, Dani Pacheco and Okazaki.

The rest of the matchday squad must therefore be made up of the youth players who have been plugging the gaps throughout pre-season such as goalkeepers Kellyan and Gonzalo, left-back Cristo, midfielder Ramón or attackers Hicham and Iván Jaime.

Familiar faces Iván, Álex Mula and Keidi Bare are, however, eligible to play because despite featuring regularly in squads last season, they still are not on professional contracts.