surinenglish

Malaga now free to register new players after completion of high-profile sales

Villarreal have snapped up winger Javi Ontiveros.
Villarreal have snapped up winger Javi Ontiveros. / EFE
  • The sales of Javi Ontiveros and Michael Santos mean that the formation of the squad can now start in earnest

The season may already be under way, but only now can Malaga finally start planning for the campaign ahead. The ban on registering new players has now been lifted after two high-profile departures this week. Javi Ontiveros completed his long-awaited switch to La Liga side Villarreal on Tuesday, while wantaway striker Michael Santos joined Danish side FC Copenhagen on Wednesday.

Ontiveros, who was Malaga's stand-out player last season, had been linked with Villarreal before last season had even finished but it is only now that the 7.5-million-euro transfer has gone through after club president, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani refused to sign off on the move for the past month.

The delay had made him "a little bit nervous", he told reporters at his official presentation, and admitted that leaving his childhood club was "bittersweet" having failed to achieve promotion back to La Liga.

Santos, on the other hand, is unlikely to be missed having featured very infrequently during his time at La Rosaleda, before leaving on two loan spells (Sporting Gijón and Leganés). Now, his time at Malaga is definitively over and raises much-needed funds as his contract didn't see his wages halved in the event of relegation.

Now, space is freed up for new signing Shinji Okazaki to be registered, as well as full-back Cifu who re-signed after the expiration of his last deal.