Lift for Las Palmas

It has been a very good start to the week for Las Palmas. The day after beating Valencia 3-1 at the Estadio Gran Canaria, they pulled off the coup of all coups by beating wealthier competition from the Premier League and Serie A to bring former Real Madrid forward Jese Rodriguez back to his place of birth. To put the scale of the loan deal into consideration, the 23-year-old cost Paris Saint-Germain a reported €25m last summer – more money than the entire Las Palmas squad earn in a year.

The news that Jese had chosen Gran Canaria comes at a very good time for Los Amarillos. After an exceptional start to the season, Quique Setien’s side have widely become known as probably the most entertaining team to watch in La Liga, playing at times outrageous football and scoring from majestic moves as Kevin Prince-Boating did against Villarreal back in October.

They were top of the Spanish top flight for the first time in September and remained in the European places for a period, but often the entertainment factor has masked the results. The win over Valencia on Monday night was only their second in two months. On the other hand, they are still punching above their weight taking into account their budget – they sit comfortably in mid-table and still have a chance of European football.

The situation with striker Sergio Araujo has certainly not helped matters at the club – the Argentine recently being charged with drink-driving less than ten months after he had refused to take a breathalyser test. It is a pity because this is a player who was crucial in earning Los Amarillos promotion back to La Liga in 2015 but has never seemed to possess the correct mindset to be a top-level player.

Credit must go to Setien, who has done everything he can to reinvigorate the team to give the side the best possible chance for the remainder of the campaign. Araujo has been loaned to AEK Athens, and the loans of young, talented and hungry players Alen Halilovic and Jese have been completed, deals which seem a good fit for all parties involved.

Halilovic is a player who has struggled for minutes since signing for Hamburg and definitely fits in with the style of play at Las Palmas having spent part of his youth career at Barcelona, although it may take him a few weeks to get back into the swing of things after not playing for a while. The Croat impressed intermittently at Sporting Gijon last season and will be looking to prove his worth once again.    

Meanwhile, it has been a bit of a disaster for Jese in Paris too, starting only one Ligue 1 game in his time at the club. He needs to be somewhere where he feels loved again, somewhere where he can play with the freedom to get back to standards that saw him become one of the best young Spaniards around. There is no place better for him then, than Gran Canaria, and the prospect of him pulling on the yellow shirt for Las Palmas is an exciting prospect that could see the club make a push for Europe.