Malaga's worst fears were confirmed on Tuesday when scans revealed that forward Pablo Chavarría had suffered a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Monday’s loss against Mirandés. The Argentinian, 33, has been ruled out for the rest of the season and, most likely, the start of next season too. Now, Malaga must search for a solution.
In principle, they can give up Chavarría’s place in the squad and sign a free agent as an emergency replacement. However, they have a significant handicap in this regard: La Liga’s wage cap restrictions mean they can only offer a player 25,000 euros in wages for the remainder of the season (the proportional part of the minimum wage).
This comes as a very serious setback for coach Sergio Pellicer whose team had started to rely heavily on the forward (four goals and two assists from 21 games). His natural replacements in the squad meanwhile, Caye Quintana and Orlando Sá, have so far failed to adapt to the level required.
That said, given the clear limitations in the market, it’s not clear whether Malaga will sign anyone at all. For such a small fee and for a player who cannot have been with a club during the last transfer window, there are no guarantees that any such player would be able to contribute anything to the cause. On the other hand, a player of this profile would have a lot to prove and could use a move to Malaga as a springboard.
In the meantime, Chavarría will undergo surgery on his knee once the swelling has subsided. He is the second Malaga player to be ruled out for the season after right-back Iván Calero, whose spot in the squad was taken by Alexander González.