Coach: Eduardo Berizzo
Key Signings: Iago Aspas, Daniel Wass, John Guidetti
Key Sales:Santi Mina, Joaquin Larrivey
Last Season: 8th
This Season [predicted finish]: 9th
Predicted finish is the average prediction of the Football Espana team.
Celta Vigo enjoyed an impressive 2014-15, Coach Eduardo Berizzo’s debut season, finishing eighth and narrowly missing out on the Europa League. It was a minor improvement on the previous season where they finished ninth under Luis Enrique. The challenge for Berizzo is to replicate his successes, or try to go one further and qualify for Europe, even though a Coach’s second season is harder than the first.
However, the Argentine has suffered setbacks in the transfer market this summer, as Os Celestes became a victim of their success. Losing forwards Joaquin Larrivey and Santi Mina is a hammer blow. Larrivey scored 11 League goals last season, which included the winner against Barcelona. His experience will be missed after deciding to move to Abu Dhabi this summer.
If Larrivey’s guile and know-how is a hit then the loss of Mina to Valencia will be felt more so by the club. The youngster enjoyed a dream season, scoring seven goals, four of which came against Rayo Vallecano. Unfortunately for Celta, Mina’s great run was noticed by Los Che, who duly snapped him up for €10m.
Losing Mina during his breakthrough season is a shame. Keeping him could have helped develop the youngster into a better striker – he’s more likely to play regularly at Balaidos than Mestalla – and would be much to the player and club’s benefit. Despite these losses, the Galicians have been shrewd in bringing in new players to replace those sold.
The return of Iago Aspas is a good start. His arrival, after unsuccessful spells at Liverpool and Sevilla, will please the fans who remember him fondly. In addition, acquiring Daniel Wass is smart, as the Dane has several attributes, chief of which are his deadly set pieces. Eight goals and four assists in Ligue 1 for Evian last season is decent when playing for a team relegated from the French top flight.
But signing John Guidetti from Manchester City on a free transfer could be the trump card. The Swede has been prolific when out on loan, for Feyenoord and Celtic most notably. Given the chance he can rebuild his promising career after stalling in England.
Much of this season’s hopes depends on keeping Nolito, wanted by Barcelona as a replacement for Pedro Rodriguez, it’s been reported. Last season was a real watershed moment for the 28-year-old. He was Celta’s top scorer with 13 goals and also their top assister with 13, the fourth-highest in the League and first if you discount players from Real Madrid or Barcelona.
Such was Nolito’s brilliant form it earned him a debut call up to the national team in November, when he earned his first cap for La Roja. Nolito has spoken of desire to go to Camp Nou if ever a formal bid materialised, admitting he would only leave Celta for the Catalans.
Nolito or not, this season needs to be successful for Berizzo, as he has only has 12 months left on his contract. Go one step further and qualifying for Europe could be rewarded in the shape of a new deal. Regress and he’ll be shown the door. The pressure is on.