When Rayo Vallecano were relegated at the end of last season, La Liga fans the world over were crestfallen, and understandably so. Under their Coach of four years, Paco Jemez, Rayo became most people’s second favourite team, playing daring and audacious football against a higher calibre of opposition.
Rather unsurprisingly given his achievements with limited resources in Vallecas, it wasn’t long before Jemez made his return to the top division. It is now time for Granada fans to strap themselves in for a campaign that is sure to be one hell of a rollercoaster ride.
The 46-year-old’s first season at Rayo was when he reached the zenith of his time coaching the club he once played for, with an eight placed finish. From there, two mid-table positions and an unfortunately-inevitable relegation followed. Yet it was inevitable not for Jemez’s fault, but due to the club relying on free transfers and loan deals in order to keep afloat, with investment in an NASL team diminishing the amounts of money available even further.
Now, the former goalkeeper has a chance to build a team at Granada, to a certain extent, and aim to progress season upon season, as a Coach of his calibre should be doing. The Chinese investors who purchased the club from the Pozzo family in May would like ‘Europe in three years,’ which seems unrealistic given the club’s recent instability.
Moreover, despite promises of signings coming in for Jemez to work with after the departures of key players Adalberto Penaranda, Isaac Success, Youssef El-Arabi and Ruben Rochina and the termination of various loan deals, new faces have been few and far between. There have been five loans - Jeremie Boga, Victorien Angban, Jon Toral, Gabriel Silva and Guillermo Ochoa have joined and Tito has followed his former Coach from Rayo permanently.
The former Cordoba trainer has spoken about the lack of reinforcements so far, but has faith in those at Granada working to get players in. “The club is doing everything they can and more,” Jemez said, reports AS. “Now, the longer it takes, the worse it is for everyone, there will be less time for the adaptation period and we will start the League without the sufficient work needed to compete.”
However, he seems optimistic with the way in which his players are adjusting to his style before the campaign commences. “There is a lot to improve and we need to do things because our way of playing is not easy to assimilate,” he admitted. “I’m starting to see things that I like. Every day we are more of a team for the first game, which is the goal.”
Granada definitely need more signings before their first game at home to Villarreal after being stripped of their main attacking threats from last season. Whether or not Jemez gets what he wants remains to be seen, and despite a more positive outlook since the Pozzo family left Andalusia, there are still misgivings about Jiang Lizhang owning the club.
What we do know, though, is that under Jemez, Los Nazaries will not shy away from any game they play in, and their new Coach must overcome the problems he is encountering early in his tenure to move the team forward.