The end of season report cards for both Valencia and Levante do not read very flatteringly, as both tanked in their respective primarily goals of European football and returning to La Liga. One of the bright spots, in what was an otherwise frustrating campaign for Valencia, was the performances of the first choice goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili.

The Georgian-born stopper came of age this year and upgraded his stock with some strong performances. His qualities have not gone unnoticed and the vultures from the Premier League and Serie A are already showing a marked interest in him.

It is highly unlikely he will remain at the Mestalla and a good Euros in Germany with his national team could add even more funds to the Valencia coffers should Lim decide to sell.

The club have already covered this base by acquiring the services of the Rayo goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski. The North Macedonian international joins up with his new club on July 1st, by which time Mamardshvilli may have moved on to pastures new.

Jaume remains an inspirational figure and he has never let Valencia down when called upon, and the youngster Cristian Rivero looked impressive enough in the recent post-season friendly with David Villa’s Benidorm to suggest that he would be unfazed by La Liga action should the opportunity arise.

In defence, the decision for José Gayà to play out the season after getting injured on Saint Patrick’s Day against Villarreal seems to have backfired. He recently had surgery that arguably cost him a place with Spain for Euro 2024. With Hugo Guillamón not making the squad either Spain will be “Valencia-less” in Germany.

The long-term injury to Diakhaby and the debatable sale of Paulista to Atlético Madrid in the January transfer window left Valencia without real leaders at the back. Thierry Correia took the captain’s armband at times but was never guaranteed the right back spot, with Foulquier often being preferred because of his versatility.

Cenk continues to worry as he usually as one or two mistakes lurking in a game and Yarek and Jesús Vázquez have shown promise and progress, but are not yet the finished article.

Unquestionably, the find of the season has been Cristhian Mosquera. His conversion to the centre of defence has been a revelation, something the club itself recognised, by extending and offering him an improved contract in March of this year.

In midfield, Pepelu has been a steady performer and a reliable number one go to penalty taker when called upon. Almeida and Fran Perez have had injury prone seasons that seriously impacted the team and their personal contributions to the team.

Valencia born Sergi Canós shows flashes of brilliance in most games but has failed to command a regular first team place since signing from Brentford, and Javi Guerra seems to have not kicked up a notch since his great start and wonder goal against Sevilla in April of last year.

Up front the loan signings of Selim Amallah and Roman Yaremchuk have not really worked out and both will be returning, respectively, to Valladolid and Club Bruges as a consequence.

Another loanee is Peter Federico. He has shown an interest in staying and signing on a permanent deal from Real Madrid. His talent is unquestionable, but the team from the capital may look to hold on to him a bit longer to see if he blossoms into challenging for a starting place in the Champion League winners line up next time round. If this does prove to be the case, then another inquiry into the availability of Bryan Gil would please many of the Valencia faithful.

Diego López and Alberto Marí will probably consider next season a make or break one for them in Valencia colours. Hugo Duro will hopefully remain the striking talisman, and the one out of López and Mori duo who is a better foil for the Getafe born striker is likely to nudge ahead in the pecking order if Baraja adopts a 4-4-2 formation.

Summer games for Valencia are already taking shape with friendlies away against PSV and Leeds United already confirmed.

The squad have been requested to start returning for medicals on July 5th and they play their first friendly against newly promoted CD Castellón at the Antonio Puchades stadium on July 20th. Four days later they play Deportivo Alavés at the same venue before setting off on their travels.

The next port of call is the Phillips stadium in Eindhoven on July 27th when PSV will be the competition. A return to the Puchades stadium for a match up with Levante UD on the last day of July then lies in waiting, before Valencia fly to England for a match with Leeds United on August 3rd.

The Trofeo Naranja will take place exactly a week later when the 52nd edition of the event graces the Mestalla. The West German outfit Eintracht Frankfurt will be the opponents for Valencia that evening.

Levante UD, meanwhile, are licking their wounds after missing out on the play offs and promotion. A very mediocre end to the season that saw the team draw their last four league matches proved to be the downfall for the “Granotas.” As a consequence, another season in the Segunda Division awaits.

With at least six players out of contract it could be a very new look team for the club from the North of the city when they play their first league game of the 2024/25 season in August.

The last chance the city has of European Football next season lies with Levante Women. With two games remaining, they lie in fourth place three points behind Atletico Madrid.

Spain only receive three Champions League places so the Levante ladies will have to swap positions with them by the end of Liga F in order to make the competition.

Levante visit Granada ladies and a home fixture with Madrid CCC, whilst Las Colchoneras have a tough game away at Sevilla on the horizon, before entertaining Villarreal in their last match.

Maximum points from their last two games could just be enough to snatch the spot from Atlético and ensure that Champions League football returns to Levante for the second consecutive year.


 Report by John Howden

Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’

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