Job done for Malaga as busy transfer window concludes

Luis Muñoz in training with his new teammates.
Luis Muñoz in training with his new teammates. / Malaga CF
  • There was time for one more signing on deadline day, winger Joaquín Muñoz, as the club successfully reduced its wage bill to comply with league regulations and rebuilt the entire squad

With just one spot left to fill in the squad, it wasn't going to be a very busy transfer deadline day at Malaga but nonetheless the club brought in one last player: Joaquín Muñoz on loan from Primera side Huesca.

The winger, just 21, came through the Atlético Madrid academy and can play on either flank.

In addition to the various academy players who feature for the first team, Joaquín joins Alberto Escassi and Luis Muñoz as the local contingent in the squad, having been born in the city and supported the club since he was a child.

In the case of the latter, his re-signing was the news Malaga fans had been waiting for all summer. The midfielder's contract expired at the end of last season but his renewal had been reliant on the outcome of the club's ERE mass redundancy plan coming to fruition.

It finally did on Saturday when seven players (Juanpi, Luis Hernández, Dani Pacheco, Badr Boulahroud, Diego González, Renato Santos and Esteban Rolón) were all released and allowed to find new clubs. The same will apply to Emanuel Cecchini, but this won't take place until his current loan deal in his native Argentina expires in January.

Releasing these players will remove seven million euros from the club's wage bill and means that they can now comply with the league's wage cap restrictions. Failure to do so could have resulted in an administrative relegation.

Defender David Lombán, who was originally included in the ERE, will remain at the club after agreeing to take a pay cut and signing a new contract until 2022. Likewise, midfielder Mohamed Benkhemassa will remain part of the squad as his wages were relatively low to begin with.

Together with defender Juande, whose youth contract was turned into a professional one on Monday, they are the only four players (excluding academy players) to remain from last season.

Revolving door

Joaquín's loan signing concluded an incredibly busy transfer window at Malaga with 38 players either joining, rejoining or leaving the club.

In the final week of the window alone, Malaga signed the aforementioned Joaquín, Luis Muñoz and Lombán, as well as bringing in winger Jairo (Hamburg) and forward Pablo Chavarría (Mallorca) on permanent deals, while defender Josua Mejías and goalkeeper Juan Soriano came in on loan from Leganés and Sevilla, respectively.

Earlier in the window, the club signed Orlando Sá (Standard Liège) Dani Barrio, Iván Calero and Alberto Escassi (all Numancia) on permanent deals, while bringing in Cristian (Extremadura), Yani Rahmani (Almeria), Caye Quintana and José Matos (both Cadiz) and Jozabed (Celta) on loan.

As for those who have left, outside the ERE, captain Adrián headed to Zaragoza, Cifu to Elche, Munir to Hatayspor, Juankar to Panathinaikos and José Rodríguez to Maccabi Haifa after being allowed to leave on a free despite having contracts in place.

Defender Mikel Villanueva left for Santa Clara after his contract expired, while top scorer Armando Sadiku joined Erzurumspor and Sergio Buenacasa headed to Hércules after their loans expired.

Malaga were, however, able to make some money from the sales of Keidi Bare to Espanyol, Álex Mula to Fuenlabrada, Iván Jaime to Famalicao, Tete Morente to Elche and Ponferradina exercising the clause to sign Iván Rodríguez permanently after his loan spell.

Criticism from the sheikh

While clearing the inflated wage bill and rebuilding an entire squad is considered by most fans to be an enormous achievement on the part of judicial administrator José María Muñoz and sporting director Manolo Gaspar, ousted club president Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani released a statement on Monday criticising the club's management.

"This situation is another clear example of the lack of experience of the judicial administrator, José María Muñoz, in managing sports clubs and how to manage a team. He was unable to strike a deal with any other club for the players that were let go and that could have meant income for the club," the statement read.

Al-Thani also expressed his doubts about how many of the new players coming in are represented by the same agency, Promoesport. "Having exclusivity with one agency is incomprehensible."