Having been considered as the best of the ‘other League’ in the Primera Division for many years, Valencia seem to have become a sinking ship. Having missed out on Champions League football last season amongst managerial changes, financial crisis of recent years now looks to have taken its toll on the field. With player and fan unrest rising at Mestalla, the hierarchy have moved this month to appoint club legend Rufete as the new general manager of the club. A move designed to alleviate pressure, it has posed more questions than answers.
Having consistently finished in the top four and in the not too distant past, challenged and won titles in the League and European competition, the deterioration of the club is clear for all to see. The collapse started following the departure of Coach Unai Emery in June 2012, who, despite not being popular with everyone, guided them to consistent Champions League qualification finishes. Mauricio Pellegrino took charge but didn't even make Christmas, whilst Ernesto Valverde steadied matters but was unable to finish in the top four. Djukic was appointed in the summer and given the task of getting the club back into Europe's top competition, but he has made an underwhelming start.
After 13 games of the new season, they lie ninth in the table, 10 points off fourth. Defeats to all three promoted clubs have deflated everyone at the club and leave them with a mammoth task ahead if they are to achieve their goal this season. The Coach’s future could well be decided before the weekend is out, which is also the same weekend that Pellegrino was dismissed last season. The club face two matches this week that ask for two wins to reportedly prolong the Serbian's future a little longer, before they face Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid soon after.
First up is their top of the group clash in the Europa League with Swansea at the Liberty Stadium. The side have a point to prove having being turned over 3-0 by the Welsh club in their own back yard. Perhaps more importantly though, is their fixture at the weekend, as they look to get back on track in domestic action. They couldn't ask for a better opponent, facing a relegation threatened Osasuna side not renowned for travelling well, and who have not won at Mestalla since 2004. Should they not pick up maximum points from that fixture, you would think that would spell the end of Djukic's time in charge.
If the pressure of bad results wasn't enough for the former Real Valladolid man to worry about, the arrival of club legend Rufete as the new general manager poses more questions than answers. The position will see Rufete have a say in the planning and restructuring of the entire sporting aspect of the club. The 37-year-old will oversee every single member of playing and coaching staff from top to bottom within the club, and will be in charge of all recruitment, a role that surely questions the authority of the manager of the football club.
Djukic's time is certainly running out, with his President Amadeo Salvo having now passed all responsibility on decision making to new man Rufete, a move that will hardly fill the manager with confidence. Rufete is yet to comment on Djukic’s future and has merely said that he will assess every part of the club from top to bottom before making any decisions. Interesting times at the club as they embark on a new project to restore them to the top end of the table, but Djukic being part of that project looks increasingly unlikely.