While many of Europe’s top clubs are in an ongoing scramble to meet the requirements of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play initiative, for several big La Liga names, reorganising the books to meet imminent threats is a more pressing priority.
Valencia are among the latest big Spanish clubs to feel the wrath of their bank manager, with the club being saved by their local government.
That means Valencia will, more than ever, need to keep the revenues of Champions League football next season.
Ricardo Costa’s stoppage-time header that pinched a 3-2 win for Valencia at Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday brought them closer to that goal, moving Los Che to within two points of fourth place in the midst of a packed field in the race for a Champions League spot.
Valencia are now 5/2 to finish the season in the top four.
Given that there are no signs of losing the ever-dependable strike threat of Roberto Soldado or midfield talent Sergio Canales in this transfer window, Ernesto Valverde’s team should have the ability to finish in behind Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.
The return of Canales after seven months out with a ligament problem is a huge boost for a side that is already in good form. Four wins in their last five La Liga matches makes the recent 5-0 thrashing they were given by Real Madrid look an aberration.
Malaga moved back into fourth place in a separate 3-2 thriller, holding on in Mallorca to seal their first league triumph of 2013.
The south-coast club have suffered their own financial hardships of late, but they were boosted this week by much-coveted young playmaker Isco extending his contract with the club and, perhaps more significantly, boosting his release clause to 35 million euros.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men are 11/5 shouts to still be in the top four at the start of June when the Spanish season closes.
Pending an appeal, that may not be enough to see them into next season’s Champions League though, as a one-year European ban has been levied on the club for past financial breaches.