Valencia tick key box in Lim masterplan

Singapore billionaire Lim bought a majority stake in Valencia last year and while financial rules prevent him from splurging cash the club appear to have made some astute signings to lay the foundations for long-term success.


Lim’s faith in Portuguese coach Nuno also looks to be paying off, although Valencia cut it fine in the playoff second leg at Monaco, losing 2-1 having won 3-1 at the Mestalla last week.

Beaten finalists in Europe’s top club competition in 2000 and 2001, Valencia are back in the group stage for the first time since they reached the last 16 in 2012-13.

The defeat in the principality served as a reminder that a top-class centre back is needed to replace Argentina international Nicolas Otamendi, who joined English Premier League side Manchester City last week.

German World Cup winner Shkodran Mustafi is up to the task but doubts remain over whether 21-year-old Portuguese Ruben Vezo has the necessary pedigree and Valencia have until the transfer window closes at the end of the month to add to their ranks.

“After this match decisions must be made,” Nuno told a news conference.

“It’s time to talk, to sit down and calmly analyse the market, what is on offer, who you can sign while adhering to Financial Fair Play rules,” he added.

“Otamendi’s exit means we have to review the situation but if we do bring someone in they will have to contribute.”

If they manage to shore up the defence, Valencia look to have the talent in attack to help them make a decent run in Europe and possibly challenge for the La Liga title.

The experienced Alvaro Negredo, who gave Valencia an early lead with an exquisite chip on Tuesday, will compete for a place with youngsters like Paco Alcacer and Rodrigo Moreno, while 19-year-old Santi Mina, who joined from Celta Vigo in the close season, is full of promise.

“This is hugely exciting for the players and the fans,” Negredo, who has returned to Spain after a disappointing stint at City, told reporters.

“Now we have to enjoy it, work hard and keep growing as a team,” the 30-year-old former Spain forward added.

(Reporting by Iain Rogers; Editing by John O’Brien)