With the players returning from their holidays, negotiations have stepped up behind the scenes at Malaga this week with two new arrivals already through the door.
Portuguese forward Orlando Sá was officially presented on Tuesday afternoon after completing a free transfer move from Belgian side Standard Liège.
The 32-year-old has a good record in Belgium, scoring 25 goals in 61 league appearances across two spells, but hardly featured in the past season due to an Achilles injury (he has now recovered). After breaking through in his home country with Braga and then Porto, Sá, who will wear the number nine shirt, had spells in England (Fulham and Reading), Israel, China, Cyprus and Poland.
“I need a good challenge and this is the biggest of my life because I’ve just had one of my toughest years and I have a lot of work ahead of me to be the player I was before,” he said at his presentation.
Sá was followed through the door at Malaga by midfielder Cristian Rodríguez later the same day. A season-long loan deal has been agreed for the former Atlético Madrid academy product, now 24, who has just completed a steady season with Extremadura. However, with the side now relegated, they hope a loan in Segunda will further increase his value with a view to a future sale.
Another player on the radar is Torrox-born Raúl Baena. The 31-year-old, who is a free agent after his contract with Greek side Atromitos came to an end, has been contacted by the club and the interest is mutual.
The same can be said for Luis Muñoz. The defender-cum-midfielder has left the club after the expiration of his contract. Malaga have made him an offer but while the player would like to stay at his hometown club, it is believed that he is holding out for offers from Primera.
However, Malaga have a lot of loose ends that need to be tied up before any players can come in.
Firstly, it is hoped that the sales of midfielder Keidi Bare and goalkeeper Munir will be completed imminently, with the former contemplating an offer from Espanyol and the latter attracting interest from Cadiz and Huesca. Despite a reluctance to leave on the part of Munir, Numancia keeper Dani Barrio has already been lined up as his replacement.
Secondly, ten current players (Luis Hernández, David Lombán, Diego González, Juankar, Esteban Rolón, José Rodríguez, Adrián, Juanpi, Renato Santos and Dani Pacheco) must agree to significant pay cuts or buyers will have to be found.
Though it seems like a big ask, sporting director Manolo Gaspar hopes to have these resolved within a week so as to be able to fill out a large part of the squad in time for the club’s run of preseason friendlies.