Layhoon: “Goal? To be realistic, it is to work hard with the purpose of staying in First Division”
The president of Valencia , Layhoon Chan , knew from the first week of June that the sports director, Miguel Corona , and the corporate director, Javier Solís , had committed to Rubén Baraja to come out publicly after the market closed to present the objectives of the team. It was one of the three demands that the coach had made in the meetings with the two executives – the president traveled to Singapore for a family matter after the last day of the League – in the conversations and negotiations for the renewal. From then until the eve of the Orange TrophyThis matter had been put on hold. But it was at that moment when Baraja began to remember, in each appearance, that the club should come out to explain the market and set the objectives once the squad was closed.
For weeks there was speculation about repeating a press conference – like the one after the winter market – in which Layhoon , Corona and Solís would answer the questions . But the club has preferred not to expose the president – nor the other two executives – and has chosen to record an interview with questions from the communications department itself.When in June the intentions of Peter Lim , the club’s main shareholder, were still unknown , the coach intended to give him a layer of reality after a season in which Valencia was saved on the last day and with a lot of suffering. The truth is that the market has not served to increase expectations about the squad, but rather the opposite.
After twelve departures ( Cavani , Castillejo , Cömert , Marcos André , Lato , Herrerín , Kluivert , Lino , Nico , Ilaix , Racic and Koba – the last two were not in the squad last year-) the club made five reinforcements ( Cenk – which was already there – Pepelu , Canós , Amallah and Roman Yaremchuk ). The difference has been compensated by promoting players to the first team with little or very little experience inFirst division : Mosquera , Diego López , Javi Guerra , Fran Pérez and Alberto Marí .
Ask. What assessment do you make of the transfer market and why haven’t more players been signed?
Answer. There are two aspects that must be taken into account when carrying out operations in the transfer market. First, Financial Fair Play, which as we all know is very strict, and second, the economic limitations that we have at the Club. These two factors influence activity in the market. We believe we have provided the coach with the best possible tools under these difficult conditions.
At the beginning of the season, we had budget constraints until Cavani left at the end of July. Despite this, in July we signed Cenk and Pepelu . As we all know, we have a difficult economic situation at the Club and this has been influencing us for several seasons. We cannot expect this situation to be resolved instantly… Finding a balance to achieve sustainability in terms of the Club’s treasury and cash flow is not something that can be resolved overnight.
We cannot depend on the largest shareholder to cover the losses because that is not a long-term solution. This season we have experienced a significant reduction in income from television rights due to the poor results of last season, which have affected that economic distribution, and also due to the agreement with CVC (LaLiga Impulso), although this money is necessary to provide the funds that allow us to continue with the new stadium project. It is for this reason that this season we have had to reduce our costs.
“The Club’s economic losses are mainly due to high salaries of the staff and transfer paymentsThe Club’s financial losses are mainly due to high staff salaries and transfer payments. We are obliged to find a solution like the one previously mentioned to reduce costs to allow us to be a Club that can sustain itself autonomously.
In this market we have been affected by the need to have to sell players before undertaking signings. On the other hand, there have also been players who did not fit into our squad and, therefore, we had to find a solution for them to leave.
“We cannot be criticized for trying to be economically sustainable
We have signed Sergi Canós, Selim Amallah and Roman Yaremchuk after obtaining the financial conditions. In all operations we have fought until the end to achieve the best conditions for the Club. We are happy with the signings we have made, taking into account what our possibilities were.
I know there are many who criticize the way we operate, but I believe that for a club to be successful it has to be successful on the pitch and also be sustainable off it. We cannot be criticized for trying to be economically sustainable.
Q. Once the transfer market has closed, what assessment is made of the squad?
A. Working within the economic conditions we have, we have tried to make the signings in the best possible way. We have given the coach the best options in a complicated context. We have signed 5 players and 4 of them we believe have a degree of experience that, at 25-26 years old, will be able to help the team with their performance and also help the younger players grow. I think there is one thing that we have found in these operations and that is that we have confirmed how attractive Valencia CF is for the players. You can see that the players want to come here because they know that they will be able to grow and develop their careers with us.
Regarding our youngest players, this season we have had the pleasure of promoting 5 players to the first team. They deserve it. This also supports the good work that has been done at the VCF Academy. The Valencia CF youth academy is located among the best 6 academies in the five major European leagues. We have demonstrated our commitment to the talents we are developing and these types of bets show that at the right time we will give them opportunities. We are also very happy to be the only Spanish club that has three players in the Spain Under-21 team. This fact is a reward for the work of the young players.
Having learned from recent seasons, we believe that we need a team that has the right profile: a profile that the coach and the Club want, and that is recognized through our signings this season. We have complete confidence in the team and the coach. An identity is being built and we are confident that this team will be competitive and hungry to do great things.
Much has been said about the role and decision-making of ‘local management’. Has the way of working changed with respect to the initial approach to the transfer market?
At the beginning of the market, we talked about doing a ‘reset’ giving more autonomy to ‘local management’, and now we continue on that path. It’s not over. Resetting means making changes, obviously, and this season we have made changes. Obviously, there has been a big change to reset the squad, implementing the correct identity and with the aim of being competitive. We have also made changes to the way we work at the Club, making changes in different departments. We want the entire Club to be focused on the objectives.
“Resetting means making changes, obviously, and this season we have made changes. Obviously, there has been a big change to reset the squad
If we talk about ‘local management’, I think that this season we can see that the Sports Director has had full responsibility in terms of selecting and deciding on the choice of the coach. We have renewed Rubén Baraja for 2 years and we have complete confidence in him. We have also left the choice of new signings to the Sports Director. The negotiation of the new signings was completely carried out by the ‘local management’. These are the changes that, step by step, we are making at the Club.
Q. Why has it taken so long to complete different operations during this summer’s transfer market?
A. Market operations are never simple, some are quite complex . When you have limitations with Financial Fair Play and with your economy in general, things take a little longer. But I don’t think it will affect the results of our signings this season. You can see that we have managed to make the signings we wanted. The most important thing is that these new players are here with us today.
We are trying to enhance our identity as a team, and this requires time to find the specific profile and the appropriate economic conditions for each signing. In the very complicated conditions we had, when we undertake each operation we always try to get the most out of both the sporting and economic aspects. And, in the end, I think we have given our coach the best tools possible.
“I think we have given our coach the best tools possible
In short, it’s about sustainability. Financial Fair Play is one thing and economic conditions are another. We are trying to achieve a point of financial balance, in the end it is important that the Club seeks to be self-sustainable and be able to achieve a balance in terms of cash flow and our income: income versus costs.
At the Club we are self-demanding, we want everyone to work hard every day and show their best version, from the office to the playing field. It is important to work together, united and do so to achieve all the objectives set for this season.
Q. What is the objective of the Club? What have you asked the coach?
A. I don’t want to talk about a specific position on the leaderboard. To be realistic, our goal for this season is to work hard and improve in order to stay in the First Division and make sure we don’t suffer again like last season . Once we achieve this, I am sure that the team will aspire to be even better and achieve as much as possible within our possibilities. We fully trust the coach and the team. We are aligned with Rubén Baraja and we hope that he continues with the good work that he has been doing. With the hard work of the coach, the commitment of the team and the unconditional support of all our fans we will be able to achieve it together.
“We are aligned with Rubén Baraja and we hope that he continues with the good work he has been doing.”
Q Is it true that Peter Lim has blocked some signings such as Gonçalo Guedes?
A. I have seen some information about it, but this is not true. Guedes was never on the list we were working on to strengthen the team . Peter’s main concern regarding the Club is always the sustainability and financial situation of the Club. The selection and incorporation of new signings is the decision of the Sports Director.
“Peter’s main concern regarding the Club is always the sustainability and financial situation of the Club.”
Q. Message for the fans
A. First of all, I want to send my most sincere and heartfelt thanks to all our fans for their unconditional support of the Club. We would like you to continue supporting and encouraging the team, since they are an inspiration and a fundamental part of being able to achieve our goal. Once we achieve this goal, we must aspire to fight for the highest possible position within our possibilities.We need our fans at every game. The coach and the team will need your support and I believe that with the support of all the fans we will be able to achieve our goals this season.