Espanyol manager Luis Garcia hoping to hang onto three stars including Real Madrid target

Espanyol are facing once again starting a new project after a second relegation in four years. Having retained much of their side during their first relegation, it remains to be seen whether they will be able to so again.

The two names that stand out above all others are those of Joselu Mato and Sergi Darder. The former has been linked with a return to Real Madrid this summer, and it looks more likely that he will depart. Reportedly nursing an injury, Joselu did not appear in their final game of the season against Almeria, and neither did he warm up despite being on the bench. Diario AS report that Joselu’s salary drops by half in Segunda, which makes an exit more than likely.

Meanwhile Darder is a different case. The Espanyol captain was taken off in the second half of their 3-3 draw with Almeria, and immediately was greeted by chants of ‘Sergi, stay’. Speaking after the game to MD, Darder said he would need time to take a decision on his future.

“Everybody knows that this is my home. It has been a very hard season and now is the time to take a few days and disconnect. Any decision in the heat of the moment after such frustrating weeks would not work. We all need to clear our heads to make the right decision.”

The Barcelona paper go on to highlight that one condition for his continuity is that Sporting Director Domingo Catoira departs, in whom both Darder and the fans have lost faith. If Darder does consider an exit, then he will have no shortage of options, with four La Liga sides interested already, although Atletico Madrid are not said to be one of them, as per Matteo Moretto.

Manager Luis Garcia, who only arrived for the final seven games looks as if he will continue on his contract until 2024. He told Diario AS that he wants both to remain, as well as midfielder Nico Melamed.

“All three have contracts. Only Darder and Joselu have that clause. From Nico I am convinced that he will be there. The way and how we want to face the games, the three of them I like very much. I look forward to seeing them next year.”

Whether the players will see things the same way is another matter. Darder is committed to Espanyol, and has now been there several years. Aged 29 though, a move now may well be his last shot at European football. Meanwhile Joselu only arrived last summer, so his ties are fewer, and he moved on from Alaves in order to avoid the drop. Meanwhile Melamed is only 22, so there is less hurry for him, but it may depend on the offers he has.


Image via David Ramos/Getty Images

Tags Espanyol Joselu Mato Luis Garcia Nico Melamed Real Madrid Real Mallorca Sergi Darder Sevilla Valencia Villarreal
La Liga - Club News