La Liga spenders go the extra mile to highlight importance of planning

Almeria seemed to have challenged their tag as perennial underachievers in recent years, when they survived in La Liga with Rubi at the helm. The former Espanyol and Real Betis had bought some stability to the role after getting them promoted, but since the Andalusians have gone on to prove that spending is little guarantee of success in spectacular fashion.

Perhaps Rubi saw what was coming. Even those who are experts in football betting would have steered well clear of predicting Almeria to go down this season. Yet with six games to go in the La Liga season, Almeria have just a single win to their name, and a single point more than the worst side in La Liga history (14). The experienced coach quit on the final day of last season, feeling his cycle was over.

Including caretaker manager Alberto Granados, Almeria have cycled through four managers this season, including Vicente Moreno, Gaizka Garitano and Pepe Mel. It should be mentioned that all three are veterans of the scene who have had success in the past, but have managed that lone win. Technically, they are not yet relegated, but would require six straight wins, plus six straight defeats or a single draw from one of Cadiz or Celta Vigo.

This all comes after Almeria spent €52m last summer, the most outside of Real Madrid in La Liga. It is true that their net spend was only around €8m, but far from a fire sale last summer, most of their income came from a €30m sale of El Bilal Toure to Atalanta.

Cesar Montes cost €14m, while Luis Suarez, Ibrahima Kone, Dion Lopy, Sergio Arribas, Marc Pubill and Edgar Gonzalez all cost between €4.5m and €8m. That’s without couting goalkeeper Luis Maximiano, one of the better ones in Spain.

Yet after just months in charge, there was already talk of Moreno not getting the players he had requested in, while Suarez and Kone both struggled for goals, despite Almeria having a scoring record better than five other sides. It’s impossible to know what would’ve happened with Moreno still in charge – dismissed after just 7 matches – but it surely couldn’t have been much worse.

Taking nearly a month to appoint Garitano, things did not improve. That fact and the early dismissal proved the lack of project or planning from the top down though. Together with high turnover, it rendered their spending – and the many quality players in their side – close to useless in the table. Almeria have already started preparing for Segunda again – fans at the Juegos Mediterraneo will be hoping they have learnt their lesson, it could scarcely have been more emphatic.


La Liga - Club News