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What Premier League Fans Can Expect From Manuel Pellegrini, Jesus Navas and Iago Aspas

welcome to england 600x405 What Premier League Fans Can Expect From Manuel Pellegrini, Jesus Navas and Iago Aspas

The worst-kept secret in football was finally revealed this week as Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini signed a three-year deal as Roberto Mancini’s replacement at Manchester City. With Sevilla midfielder Jesus Navas also arriving at the Etihad and striker Iago Aspas joining Liverpool from Celta Vigo, what can Premier League fans expect next season from the new arrivals from La Liga?

At 59 years of age, the man known as the Engineer will be the second oldest manager in England’s top flight, after Arsene Wenger.  Pellegrini is a vastly experienced coach but has never managed in England before.  After 450 games in a one-club career as a central defender with Universidad Chile, he cut his managerial teeth in Argentina before a five-year spell in Spain with Villarreal.

Moving to Real Madrid in 2009, Pellegrini brought Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso to the Bernabeu at a combined cost of around €200m, but after his expensive team crashed out of the Champions League and came second to Barcelona in La Liga, the Chilean was fired.

Replacing Jesualdo Ferreira after Malaga’s disastrous start to 2010-11, Pellegrini steered the Costa del Sol outfit to an 11th place finish before taking them to fourth in La Liga in his first full season in charge and securing a Champions League slot.  In addition to reaching the Champions League quarter-finals last season, Pellegrini guided Malaga to sixth, good enough for a Europa League place next term.

As a coach, Pellegrini is noted for his ability to mould successful teams playing attacking and entertaining football. While initial success at Malaga was built on significant investment in players, a financial crisis at the club meant last season’s achievements were achieved, contrary to the expectations of many, on a much-reduced budget. He will not face similar problems at City but, apart from handling a collection of highly-paid egos more effectively than Mancini did, Pellegrini will be expected to deliver success.

Spanish international winger Jesus Navas has joined City for a reported €17.5m. His signature was secured before Pellegrini’s arrival but the attack-minded player, who has 24 caps for his country, will fit the Chilean’s attacking style. With 336 appearances for Sevilla under his belt, he was a key figure in his club’s UEFA Cup winning run in 2005-06 and for a number of years was ever-present in the Andalusians’ line-up, scoring 31 goals and providing assists for many more.

The 27-year-old says he is excited at the prospect of linking up with Pellegrini, and believes the new coach will get the most out of his team and achieve great things at the Etihad. “Everything I know about him is positive. Every team he coaches plays well, and everyone in the city will support him,” Navas told City’s official website following the coach’s appointment. “He’s important because he will help the team and we all know the importance of a good manager and a good person who we trust.”

City fans will be looking forward to the prospect of Navas linking up with fellow Spanish international David Silva at City but, with Santi Cazorla, Nacho Monreal, Pepe Reina, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata all with Premier League sides, Navas himself is also relishing the chance to pitch his wits against his countrymen.

With 12 goals in 36 appearances last season for a struggling Celta Vigo side, and 50 in 153 games overall for the Galicians, striker Iago Aspas is no stranger to controversy, but denies his move to Liverpool is to either replace or replicate Luis Suarez. With the Anfield future of the brilliant but enigmatic Uruguayan still the subject of contention, coach Brendan Rodgers has moved quickly to bring in the lively front man from Celta, who only escaped relegation from La Liga with a 1-0 win over Espanyol on the final day of the season.  Liverpool are reported to have paid around €9m for the 25-year-old striker, who can play either in the centre or out wide.

Like Suarez, Galician-born Aspas wears his heart on his sleeve and has been known to allow his emotions to get the better of him. In March last season, in a lively and highly-charged encounter away to despised local rivals Deportivo La Coruna, and with both clubs mired in the relegation zone, the red mist descended for Aspas, who head-butted Carlos Marchena and received his marching orders. Celta were beaten and Aspas was banned for four games. No sooner had he returned, then he was booked for diving and was suspended once again.

With the English national team continuing to be exposed to criticism at senior and Under 21 levels, many will lament the arrival of yet more overseas talent, but the entertainment value of the latest batch of imports from La Liga is unlikely to be denied.

This entry was posted in Leagues: EPL, Leagues: La Liga, Liverpool, Manchester City. Bookmark the permalink.

About Michael Barnes

Based in Cambridge, UK, Michael is a freelance football writer, currently working for Football-Espana and the North American magazine Soccer 360. Previously a news and feature writer for A Different Liga, he has written for Uefa.com and Football-Italia and writes features for the matchday magazine at Cambridge United FC, where he has held a season ticket since 2003.
View all posts by Michael Barnes →

17 Responses to What Premier League Fans Can Expect From Manuel Pellegrini, Jesus Navas and Iago Aspas

  1. Blueshy says:

    Lets us all blame city for the demise of national side! It’s got nothing to do with the other 19 premiership teams! Since England failed to win a major tournament since 1966 must be down to city ay. For the record it wasn’t a fekking secret, city already had a verbal agreement with pelle ancient time ago. Just another brainless city basher wants to make a name for himself. Stop being a sheep by following the trend blindly and base your journalism on facts

  2. HeavyRiffs says:

    The players were bought at Real, long before Pellegrini agreed to come to the club and he had no input, as rarely managers there do. Likewise Sneijder and Robben were sold against his wishes.

    He didn’t first cut his teeth managing in Argentina, he was a manager for many years in Chile and Ecuador prior to that.

  3. jtm371 says:

    i think city took a step back with their selection.City will finish 3rd or 4th.

  4. Marc L says:

    In other news, Joe Kinnear appointed by Toon as director of Football!?!?!?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, Toon fans, but this doesn’t seem to me to be that great of a move for you.

  5. Richard Kujay says:

    I read elsewhere where Pellegrini will have final say on all transfers. This is laughable, since the ‘oil’ sees football as just another business pursuit. The sheik has the cash and will give Mr. Pellegrini a list of requirements for his continued employment, just as he did with Mancini.
    Sounds like wishful thinking. Or perhaps, just enough rope to hang ones self.

    • Marc L says:

      You’re probably closer to right than wrong here. I can’t see anyone rating higher than Txiki and Soriano as far as transfer decisions go.

      More of a continental than English model for that setup, really. Can’t imagine Pellegrini is troubled too much by it though.

  6. Smokey Bacon says:

    I expect he’ll be starting Milner,Roswell, Barry and Sinclair every single game, while he implements his long term goal of developing local English talent.

    Nah,he’ll just buy some overrated foreign mercenaries to go with the other mercenaries.

    • Dorian Speed says:

      “Overrated foreign mercenaries”? Wow. That has to be the worst collaboration of words – ever – to describe guys that can simply play the game better than Jackie Rodwell and Scottie Sinclair. So, if your homegrown talent crop cannot hang with the talent crop from places other than England, those guys have to be insulted and called “overrated foreign mercenaries”? For real? If the men that are going to start ahead of your precious England crop are, as you put it, “overrated”, then what does that make the England crop? Massively overrated domestic non-mercenaries? – - – I’m sure your wife has a box of tissues laying around that you can use to dry those puffy eyes of yours. Get over yourself, Bacon. Get over whining about dudes that just happened to be born in the same spot as you not playing as much as you think they should because of some lame shadow conspiracy. “They must not be playing because they’re English! That has to be the reason!” B a r f. Scott Sinclair proved himself an awesome bench-warmer. He’s a 2nd division (at best) good player. That’s it. Jack Rod(not ever)well proved that if you blink hard enough his hamstring (or whatever is wrong this week) will simply blow-out. James Milner should (and will) start often. Nothing wrong with him in my book. Barry simply = reaching his expire date. Simple math. In footballing terms, he’s getting old. Is old. He’s 32. Glory days are in the past for him. So, where does one turn? Oh wait, you already nailed it. One turns to your coined phrase of “overrated foreign mercenaries”. Yup. They win. They’re younger. BETTER. Faster. More heart. More to prove. More passion. More merciless.. Milner = only exception w/ the four you mentioned. I can’t wait to chill in front of the tube and watch Fernandino, Navas, Silva, Toure, Aguero, Kompany, Clichy, Tevez, Cavani, Isco, etcetera etcetera… all those **m e r c e n a r i e s** – – – But usually I just call them “excellent professional footballers” …maybe you should too.

      • Smokey Bacon says:

        I’m not going to apologize for fighting for the future of English football. And you should do less Red Bull. Lets just agree to disagree.

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