Sinking submarine?

Spain's small-timers become latest side to strive beyond their means

Last updated: 10th March 2010  

Sinking submarine?

Lopez: Up for sale

They are going to have to sell players, that's the only viability at the moment

Guillem Balague
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As the Premier League sees its first club plunge into administration, Revista takes a look at a Spanish counterpart that may well be heading down the same path.

A year ago this week, Villarreal had just clinched their passage through to a Champions League quarter-final date with Arsenal. It was yet another chapter in an unimaginable success story for the club, taken from lower league obscurity to the pinnacle of the European stage.

But a year on, and the whilst the club are still hoping to qualify for European competition next year, huge debts now mean that the Yellow Submarine might just as easily be facing relegation to the second division, as Guillem Balgue explained to Revista.

"Basically what they have is a chairman who cannot help the club and a limit to what they can do, so they are going to have to sell players, that's the only viability at the moment," revealed Balague.

"Some say they have 168 million euros of debt and this is for a side who don't have any possibility of bringing in much money, unless the owners pay, but they have a company that has been affected by the financial crisis.

"That means Rossi may go to the Premier League or Serie A, Diego Lopez is for sale as well - everybody is really."

Falling apart

Despite a fire-sale on the horizon, few would have suspected such dire financial straits at the club when Villarreal unveiled their reported club-record signing Nilmar last summer.

With a fee believed to be around 11 million euros, Nilmar was supposed fill the void at the club left by departed manager Manuel Pellegrini, but instead the young Brazilian has become a symbol of the club's unsustainable spending.

Moreover, this failure to make up for the inevitable loss of Pellegrini is something that guest Terry Gibson feels has worsened the situation at El Madrigal.

"It seems a shame that since Pellegrini has gone it all seems to be slowly but surely falling apart," Gibson added.

"They're a small club who have come from nowhere and really exceeded all expectations."

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