Shinji Okazaki's time as a Malaga player lasted just 36 days.
Shinji Okazaki released by Malaga after a disastrous end to the transfer window

Shinji Okazaki released by Malaga after a disastrous end to the transfer window

The side go into the season with a paper thin squad having had to release their star signing who leaves without playing a single game


Friday, 6 September 2019, 12:32


Despite the repeated reassurances of club president Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani, the summer transfer window ended in the most disastrous of circumstances for Malaga on Monday night with the club's major summer signing, Shinji Okazaki, leaving the club without playing a single game.


  • Goalkeepers

  • Munir

  • The Morocco international is the only professional in the squad. He will be backed up by youth team players Gonzalo and Kellyan, one of whom will play on Saturday.

  • Defenders

  • Right-backs

  • Cifu is the only first-team option. Youngster Ismael Casas will provide competition as Iván cannot be registered.

  • Centre-backs

  • Luis Hernández, David Lombán, Mikel Villanueva and Diego González fill the spots in one of few areas with adequate cover.

  • Left-backs

  • Juankar is the only recognised professional in this position though González and Mikel can also play here.

  • Midfielders

  • Defensive midfielders

  • Keidi Bare (youth contract) and Esteban Rolón.

  • Central midfielders

  • Badr Boulahroud, Mohamed Benkhemassa, Juanpi and Adrián. Youngster Ramón is also highly rated by the coach.

  • Right wingers

  • Renato Santos and Keko. Álex Mula cannot be registered.

  • Left wingers

  • Dani Pacheco. Youngster Hugo has featured in every game so far.

  • Attack

  • Strikers

  • Lorenzo González and Armando Sadiku are the only two recognised centre forwards in the squad on professional contracts. Until now coach Víctor has had to play Adrián and Hugo here out of necessity, suggesting the new pair, signed on deadline day, will get a lot of minutes.

All summer Malaga have been working to configure the squad in accordance with wage cap limits imposed by La Liga. However, in the final week of the window, sporting director José Luis Caminero was unable to move on any players deemed surplus to requirements (some of whom are high earners) and, as a result, were unable to register new signings Okazaki and José Rodríguez.

In the case of the Japan striker, just 36 days after signing for the club, his contract was terminated by mutual consent. By Wednesday, the 33-year-old had signed for Huesca, a direct rival in Segunda.

However, despite a shambolic end to his short time at the club, the former Leicester City man was complimentary about the club. In a statement published on Instagram, Okazaki said: "I don't regret anything because I will never forget the time I spent with you."

What's more, according to El Desmarque Málaga, Okazaki has had a clause inserted into his Huesca contract which will allow him to rejoin Malaga for free should they gain promotion to La Liga.

Jose Rodríguez: in limbo

The case of José Rodríguez is very different. Knowing the problems facing Malaga, the midfielder's agent inserted a clause into the contract which guaranteed his pay for the duration of the season. This, therefore, places him in the same limbo as academy products Iván and Álex Mula.

Neither could be registered as both had to sign first-team contracts now that they are over 23 (and therefore had to be re-registered).

With the majority of the markets now closed, it is likely that the players will have to ever remain on the books until January before a move can be sought, or negotiations will have to take place over tearing up their present contracts.


With a threadbare squad and very little room to manoeuvre in the market, Malaga were left to shop in the bargain basement on Monday.

After terminating the contracts of Cenk Gönen and Adnane Tighadouini, Malaga moved to complete three last-minute signings.

Mohamed Benkhemassa was the first to arrive. The 26-year-old Algerian midfielder joins on a three-year deal from USM Alger, at the express wish of Al-Thani. However, neither coach Víctor Sánchez del Amo nor Caminero rate him especially highly.

Next in was Switzerland under-21 forward Lorenzo González. Born in Gran Canaria, the 19-year-old joins from Manchester City on a one-year deal.

The final transfer was a loan deal for Albanian forward Armando Sadiku. The 28-year-old, who represented his country at Euro 2016, joins from Levante.

A conspicuous absence

The trio were officially presented on Thursday afternoon though much of the talk was about the person missing from proceedings. Sporting director José Luis Caminero, who would ordinarily be present at player unveilings, evaded the opportunity to give explanations for the club's failings and left the duties to club advisors Ben Barek and Antonio Benítez.

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