Not just Santi Cazorla anymore – He’s probably on his way to Arsenal anyway, but with Malaga’s owners unable or unwilling to pay wages, it seems that entire roster is up for grabs, possibly at a good price, and especially the players of high caliber that made quite a splash when arriving to the rising club last season.
How did the project go last season? Extremely well. Malaga didn’t move Barcelona or Real Madrid from their usual 1-2 placing at the end of the season, but they did manage to finish 4th, earning a spot in the Champions League qualifying stages for the first time in club history. The €52 million spent on revamping the squad completely was working.
But Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani has either run out of money or patience with the club. The word is that he’s struggling to pay off his own debts, so the club is suffering, desperately trying to cut on the enormous wage bill and get ready for the FIFA Fair play regulations coming in. Without a really impressive source of income except for TV money, it’s hard to see how keeping this squad had a chance, unless they make the Champions League. Not a risk worth taking, apparently.
So who’s leaving? Venezuelan striker Jose Salomon Rondon, scoring 25 goals for the club over the last couple of seasons, is probably the hottest commodity after Cazorla, who seems on his way to Arsenal with only personal terms to agree upon. Rondon has been followed by half the clubs in Europe if rumors are to be believed, but it seems the interest for him is strongest in the Premier League.
At 22, Rondon seems like one of the more promising young strikers in Europe at the moment. Tottenham and Juventus are the most prominent suitors, with Malaga likely to fetch £7 million for the player.
Jeremy Toulalan, who arrived one year ago for £10 million from Lyon is also someone very likely to leave. Anyone with an impressive wage bill is. Toulalan, a 36 time international for France, has already been linked to Barcelona, reportedly looking for a midfielder who can play in more than one position to replace Seydou Keita, although they might be more interested in Alex Song of Arsenal. Toulalan’s camp have denied the Barca link, but agreed that the French player is on his way out.
Every prominent player is – Joris Mathijsen has already begun contacting clubs in the Netherlands, with Feyenoord looking like a good destination to return to. Joaquin, who had a disappointing first season with the club might also be among the leavers, and so will Nacho Monreal and Isco, the latter returning for a disappointing Olympic campaign. Head coach Manuel Pellegrini might also be on his way out.
Remember, there’s no need to panic – It’s only financial restructuring.