New Espanyol manager David Gallego could find himself faced with a particularly unpopular decision to make ahead of the 2019-20 La Liga season.
Despite securing a dramatic last-day-of-the-season Europa League qualification, the Catalan side are likely to be be pursuing European football again, but without the budget to match their ambitions.
With that in mind, Gallego is likely to have to sell one of the club’s big names, in order to bring fresh faces through the door at the RCDE Stadium.
The two players attracting major interest are centre back Mario Hermoso, who has reportedly already agreed a €40m move to Atletico Madrid, after Diego Simeone’s side activated his release clause.
The other is 20-goal hero from last season, Borja Iglesias, with Everton, Valencia and Sevilla all interested in the 26-year old following an impressive debut campaign in the Spanish top flight.
Of the pair, Hermoso looks the more likely to leave, due the firmness of Atletico’s pursuit of the player dubbed as Gerard Pique’s heir in the national team.
Gallego will be disappointed to see his best defender leave, however holding onto a goal scorer at a mid table side is never easy, and retaining Iglesias could generate more points for the side next season.
However, the opposite could be just as true if Gallego fails to get his methods across quickly, and Iglesias finds it tough going in only his second ever La Liga season.
He has already made the decision to release veteran striker, and fans favourite Sergio Garcia, after his contract expired, with right back Roberto Rosales returning to Malaga following a season long loan.
Gallego has not indicated that he will push for a permanent deal for Rosales, despite Malaga’s willingness to sell, after they missed out on promotion.
A new central defender will be top of his list of priorities, when Hermoso leaves, and Gallego will also need to find a way to inject some life back into players that under performed under Rubi in 2018-19.
Brazilian attacker Leo Baptistao is the main question mark, after injury and a shocking dip in form saw his season derailed, after glimpses of real promise in 2017-18.
Matched with the aerial power of Iglesias, and the speed and creativity of Wu Lei, the former Villarreal man has the potential to hit the ground running – and offer Gallego a potent front three.
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