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Sávio (r) and Iván Martín. SUR
Title showdown for Girona FC
A look at LaLiga

Title showdown for Girona FC

Behind the scenes, there will be some crucial decisions being taken that will shape the long-term destiny of the club

Friday, 9 February 2024, 17:07

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All eyes will be on the players and coach for the biggest game in Girona FC's 93-year history. Yet the real work is being done behind-the-scenes at the Catalan club for the next chapter.

The game with Real Madrid this weekend has rightly been billed as a title showdown as there are just two points between the Spanish giants and the LaLiga disruptors. Win and Girona go back to the top spot they've held for most of the season; lose and Real take what could be a seemingly uncatchable five-point lead.

That's just what's happening on the surface. Behind the scenes, there will be some crucial decisions being taken that will shape the long-term destiny of the club.

Compliance and governance aren't very sexy words in football, but they will be the watchwords in the Girona offices. The club is 47 per cent owned by the City group and they must ensure that they meet all of the correct UEFA criteria as they prepare for the Champions League. It's a similar situation to the Red Bull football teams from Austria and Germany back in 2017. All eventualities need to be addressed.

One issue that has hit the headlines this week is the move of Sávio from Girona to Manchester City. Of course, it's not that simple - it's like a game of Monopoly; he must pass back through his parent club Troyes before the English club can sign him.

Eyebrows are raised when people realise that the 19-year-old Brazilian has never actually played for the French second division side who have loaned him out for two successive seasons.

All three clubs are part of the global City Football Group and the Manchester operation is under Premier League scrutiny for business dealings.

It's not just Manchester City who are linked with Girona's talented young players. Arsenal are reported to be interested in bidding for talented left-back Miguel Gutiérrez with a quoted fee of 30 million euros.

On the face of things, a small club would accept such a windfall - but would it be wise to sell a bright young player to a rival of the Premier League parent club? Complicated, eh?

To add another layer of complication, Gutiérrez was signed from Real Madrid with a buy-back option in the range of 8-10 millon euros depending on the date. His former club could do with a left-back and will be seriously considering triggering the clause which would mean a loss of income for Girona and moving to the only club ahead of them.

The next dilemma is Aleix García, the club's first-ever Spanish international. He was developed as a youngster in Manchester but spent time in Belgium and Bucharest before realising his potential in Girona. He'd be an ideal back-up to Rodri at City. The signs are that he'll head to Barcelona in the summer to take on the problematic pivot role.

His 20-million-euro buy-out is even within the reach of the cash-strapped Catalans but they have bargaining chips on the table already.

Eric García and Pablo Torres are currently on-loan from Barça, who would be looking for the favour to be repaid. They could also return Oriol Romeu who switched between the two clubs last summer and promise the loan of further fringe players in the future.

So the historic football game is just a distraction from decisions in the boardroom which will truly shape the history of Girona FC.

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