Football Season Guide



Toni Moya (mid) Atletico Madrid; Taichi Hara (att) NK Istra; Manu Garcia (mid) Sporting Gijon; Ivan Martin (mid) Villarreal; Mamadou Loum (mid) Porto; Fabrice Ondoa (gk) NS Istra – end of loan; Carlos Isaac (def) Albacete – end of loan; Saúl García (def) Sporting Gijon


Deyverson (sp) (att) Palmeiras – end of loan; Ismael Gutiérrez (mid) Real Betis – end of loan; Manu Garcia (sp) (mid) Released; Jota (sp) (mid) Released; Rodrigo Ely (sp) (def) Released; Jorge Burgui (mid) Released

Alaves really struggled in 2020/21 and looked to be on course for relegation with two months of the season to go. That was when they brought in Javi Calleja as coach, after poor runs with Pablo Machin and Abelardo in charge, and Calleja turned it around, taking 15 points from nine matches to keep Alaves up. Unsurprisingly, Calleja was then given the chance to stay on as coach. Alaves have a history of churning through managers, so his job security remains fragile, but he’ll lead the team into the new season and will have had a full pre-season to work with the team. There have been several arrivals and departures at the club this season, including that of club captain Manu Garcia. He wasn’t always a starter last year, but replacing his personality and leadership will be difficult. They’ve looked to do so by signing another player named Manu Garcia, a 23-year-old. That’s symbolic of the shift Alaves are aiming for, as they’ve looked to get younger this off-season. Alaves are likely to be defensively solid, as they usually are. Their goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco also had one of his best seasons ever last year, so scoring against Alaves will be tough. The big question is whether Alaves can score enough goals of their own to stay up. They’ll also hope to avoid dressing room in-fighting, which was a problem last season. They’ll simply hope to avoid relegation and to have a less turbulent year than last year.


Avoiding relegation. This is the goal for Alaves every season and 2021/22 is no different, especially after they came close to going down last term.