Just a few months ago Valencia fans were excitedly looking forward to the summer of 2016, but most are now desperate for it to be over.
When Gary Neville’s humiliating tenure came to an end in March, it was hoped that the club could wipe the slate clean in the summer and start afresh ahead of the 2016-17 campaign. Yet, rather than make a high-profile managerial hiring, the club instead opted to hand the job to the Englishman’s assistant Pako Ayestaran, which was hardly the bold step forward that most were looking for.
To make matters worse, a whole host of stars have departed Mestalla since the transfer window opened, with Andre Gomes, Alvaro Negredo, Rodrigo De Paul, Sofiane Feghouli, Antonio Barragan, Pablo Piatti and Yoel Rodriguez all passing through the exit door, while Diego Alves and Shkodran Mustafi are reportedly not far behind. Having missed out on European football, there was obviously going to be a need to sell, but few believed there would be such a major clear out.
Now, the latest embarrassment has arisen precisely because Valencia have, for once, refused to sell one of their players, reportedly turning down Sevilla’s €10m bid for midfielder Dani Parejo because they did not want to sell to a direct rival for fourth place. That should have been the end of it, but the player’s reaction has caused Los Che yet another headache. This sums up life at Valencia right now, as it’s a mess when players are sold and even when they aren’t.
In response to the club’s rejection of the proposed move to Andalusia, Parejo unleashed his inner Carlos Tevez by refusing to warm up during the pre-season friendly against FC Ilves on three separate occasions, before giving a notably passive performance once he eventually did limber up and take to the field. A Pako Ayestaran then made him train separately from the rest of the team the following day, while he was also excluded from official team photos. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the 27-year-old was also reportedly ordered to leave a team meeting because of his poor attitude.
“He’s disrespecting the Valencia fans and the club. We’ve told Monchi he’s not going to Sevilla. I’ve never seen a player behave like Parejo,” the club’s sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch fumed in response to his behaviour. Former Valencia goalkeeper and club legend Santiago Canizares also condemned Parejo’s actions, saying that the fact he is so well paid by Valencia makes it all the more unfortunate.
However, while Parejo’s behaviour has certainly been disrespectful, it’s not too hard to feel sorry for him, given that he was stripped of the captaincy during Neville’s ill-fated spell in charge and that he is being denied a move at the same time as several other starters have been dealt away. The fact that the only summer arrivals have been Luis Nani, Martin Montoya and Alvaro Medran is hardly an inspiring sign, so it is only logical that Parejo would want to grasp this opportunity to escape a club that has become a circus under the ownership of Peter Lim.