3 More New Signings

As far as pre-seasons go, this will go down as smooth by Betis’ standards. The club have now played seven matches and remain unbeaten with their only non-win coming via a 1-1 draw with Everton. Since my last post they have beaten Fulham, Werder Bremen and Sporting Portugal and have won the Dresden Cup.

Foto_copa_dresden

Dresden Cup winners

There is definitely a buzz around the place and an excitement for La Liga to start, even if our first fixture is the hardest of the lot – away to Barcelona. Things just don’t run this smoothly for Betis going off past experience, but perhaps now is the time for a change in fortune?

One thing that certainly is changing, is the squad personnel. A few weeks ago I brought you a run down of the six new faces that will be appearing in green and white next season (if you’ve forgotten about or would like to take another look at Rizi Durmisi, Jonas Martin, Charly Musonda, Nahuel, Felipe Gutiérrez or Aissa Mandi then venture back here.)

Continue reading

Advertisements

Friendly season so far so good

The friendly season is in full swing and it’s so far so good for Real Betis.

They’ve played three games and won all three comfortably. The first two games were against much lesser Spanish opposition where Betis scored a total of nine without reply, but the latest game was against Aitor Karanka’s newly promoted Middlesborough who would provide a much tougher challenge.

By the sounds of it Betis were the much better side and ran out 2-1 winners in Marbella with goals from Dani Ceballos and Rubén Castro with one of the most Rubén Castro type goals you will see; superb first time arrowing finish into the bottom corner.

Continue reading

Sanabria – who he is and what he’s about

Paraguayan forward Tonny Sanabria jetted into Sevilla last night to prepare for his move to Real Betis and become the 7th signing of the pre-season. He was met at San Pablo airport by Miguel Torrecilla and shortly after photographed with a verdiblanco scarf to put any doubters at bay and give fans a real sense of anticipation.

On Wednesday he successfully completed his medical and will sign for Betis in the evening before joining his new teammates in Marbella.

Obviously Betis have made a large number of signings the past couple of seasons but this one seems different. More significant. As mentioned in my previous blog, we’ve already made six very good signings but this almost seems like a steppe change for the club. Last summer, yes, we had the likes of Joaquín and Van der Vaart join the club but these players are in the twilight of their career (VdV more towards midnight) – Sanabria isn’t though.

Continue reading

Sanabria – Who Is He & What’s He About?

Paraguayan forward Tonny Sanabria jetted into Sevilla last night to prepare for his move to Real Betis and become the 7th signing of the pre-season. He was met at San Pablo airport by Miguel Torrecilla and shortly after photographed with a verdiblanco scarf to put any doubters at bay and give fans a real sense of anticipation.

On Wednesday he successfully completed his medical and will sign for Betis in the evening before joining his new teammates in Marbella.

Obviously Betis have made a large number of signings the past couple of seasons but this one seems different. More significant. As mentioned in my previous blog, we’ve already made six very good signings but this almost seems like a steppe change for the club. Last summer, yes, we had the likes of Joaquín and Van der Vaart join the club but these players are in the twilight of their career (VdV more towards midnight) – Sanabria isn’t though.

Continue reading

News update – signings, money and Euro 2016

It doesn’t seem like five minutes since the season finished, but Real Betis are already a club on the move. With Gus Poyet at the helm and new Sporting Director Miguel Torrecilla hitting the ground running, things are moving quickly again at the club.

Signings and potentials

First signing of the season was Riza Durmisi. He’s a very promising 22 year old Danish full back who likes to get forward. He’s already played 10 times for the national team including the other day against Bosnia where it’s reported he had a very good game, helping to set up two goals. Last season the left-footer was making a good name for himself and attracting attention all over Europe, including from Everton. In 2015 he won Brondy Player of the Year which inclined Betis to activate his €2m release clause and sign a 5 year deal.

Continue reading

Mixed bag of results to end the friendlies

There we have it, all the pre-season friendlies have been played. Betis finished proceedings with a mini-tournament for the Trofeo Carranza.

They took on Granada on Friday, which (I apologise for using an overused cliche) certainly was a game of two halves. First half was terrible and ended with Granada leading 1-0. Second half was much better and saw Betis run out 2-1 winners thanks to goals from the deadly duo of Molina and Rubén Castro.

I am still worried that these two are pretty much the only players who look likely to score more than a handful of goals. 

A win on Friday meant that they were through to the final to be played against Atlético Madrid. For some reason Pepe Mel but a second string line-up out, when really it would have been more beneficial to player a team that may realistically start the season, considering it is only a week away. 

Betis didn’t play great and lost 3-0. They certainly deserved to lose but Pepe Mel said his team were better than the scoreline suggested. That may be true but the jury is out.

How will Betis perform next week againsg Villarreal? My guess is that only the higher beings will know. Ever since I have started watching Betis, every time they have been in La Liga, they have been predictable unpredictable. 

Looks like we could be in for another highly entertain, if not a little frustrating, season. One thing is clear though, it is fantastic to say we’re a La Liga team once more and kick off is less than a week away!

More news to come midweek. 

Vargas joins the ‘Project’ as pre-season rolls on

vargas

Juan Manuel Vargas (image from eldesmarque.com)

Juan Manuel Vargas rolled into Santa Justa train station on Monday evening to become Betis’ 8th summer signing.

The 31 year old Peru international is set to sign, subject to completing a medical tomorrow, for two years with an optional third year. He was a free agent after his contract at Fiorentina ran out. It seems obvious that former Fiorentina sporting director, Eduardo Macià, was key in getting the player onto the Betis books.

Vargas can play anywhere down the left hand side, but has developed more as an left sided attacking midfielder renowned for a superb cross. He’s nickname is ‘El Loco’ – the mad one.

Now, Betis really do need to offload some first team players.

Pre-Season Continues

Since returning from Germany, the level of performance on the field has been raised. Pepe Mel says the team ‘va a mejorando’ – it’s getting better, but there is still a lot of improvement to be made.

On Friday los verdiblancos took on Recreativo de Huelva and ran out 2-1 winners. Betis were 1-0 down at half time after conceding a poor goal from a simple free kick from the right hand side. The second half performance improved and Betis were dominant. Two goals from Jorge Molina ensured Betis went home winners, and he could have had a hat-trick but skied a penalty in the closing stages.

On Sunday evening, Pepe Mel and his men took on La Liga outfit Espanyol in Catalonia. They faced up to a couple of familiar faces in the shape of Jose Cañas and the silver fox, Salva Sevilla. It was a decent showing with Dani Ceballos showing a lot of people what he is about with some terrific moments of skill and incision.

Rubén Castro gave Betis the lead before Felipe Caicedo evened things up. As the game was for Trofeo Ciudad de Barcelona, a draw was no good, so the game went straight to penalties. It was perfect scoring for both sides with nine penalties scored out of nine before Ceballos stepped up for Betis.

In a example of ‘he’s still got a lot to learn’, Ceballos tried to be too clever and chip the goal into the goal. However, he was made to look a bit stupid as the goalkeeper literally stood there and caught the goal in front of his face. That is not to taint what was a good performance from the youngster, showing his capability of performing on a higher level.

Next up for Betis in what will be their final friendly, is Granada on 14th August before the season kicks off properly against Villarreal.

Passion of 40,000 needs to be matched but Betis won’t spend anymore

Not everything is going swimmingly at el Benito Villamarín during the pre-season.

The astounding finish to last season by the team to earn promotion back to La Liga seems to be a distant memory now. The buzz around the club, particularly on-field, seems to have slipped away slightly.

40,000 signed up! Queues outside the stadium (image from sevilla.abc.es - Raúl Doblado)

40,000 signed up! Queues outside the stadium (image from sevilla.abc.es – Raúl Doblado)

Pre-season is a time to experiment with players and formations, a time to get a few minutes under the belt and increase fitness in preparation to the all-important first game. Results don’t matter and nobody gets any points under the jornada 1. All that is a given, but as a fan you are still craving for a little glimmer, a little something to whet your appetite.

The fantastic form since Christmas has been dashed away, with a rather unimpressive one win in six. Betis’ poor performances against the likes of San Roque de Lepe, Vitoria Setúbal and Darmstadt 98, thankfully, have not put the fans off.

Off-field things have been looking extremely rosy. An unbelievable 40,000 fans have purchased a season-ticket for the new season. El Benito Villamarín is a 52,000 seater stadium, which means at least 77% will be sold out each home game.

Betis have signed a fantastic kit deal with Adidas, upgrading from Macron and also have the benefit of more incoming money from the TV rights of being in La Liga.

Despite all this, the club still insists it has ‘no dinero‘. This no money stance has meant the signing of lesser known players, such as Petros and Pezzella. These players could turn out to be amazing signings and everybody might be frothing at the mouth over the vision and insight of the scouting system.

The club have no doubt done some very good business; Van der Vaart on a free is brilliant. Yet, it is obvious the club need two, three, possible even four more players to make them fighting fit for La Liga. However, the club isn’t willing to spend any more money, only free or loan players.

Little and Large: Molina y Rubén Castro

Reliance on Rubén can’t last forever

The lack of goals and velocity is a bit scary. Rubén Castro is an absolutely superb player, but if he doesn’t pop it in the back of the net, who will? I have always highlighted the uneasy reliance on Castro as something that Betis need to address. Another striker is key. There is no chance of Osvaldo joining now, hopefully Maciá has someone else in line.

Betis have released three players – Kadir, Lolo Reyes and Alvaro Vadillo.

vadillo

Vadillo: Huge talent lost (image from marca.com)

Vadillo is a sad loss. Still at the age of 20, it seems like he has been around for a good while. Vadillo was, and still is, a huge, huge talent and it is a shame to see him go. Since 2011 he has played 46 intermittent games for Betis, mainly due to two cruciate knee ligament injuries.

This terrible luck has undoubtedly stunted his potential, meaning when he has been in the team he has been unable to truly impress like he did when he first appeared in the team becoming the second ever youngest player to appear in La Liga.

The start of the proper campaign is three weeks around the corner, enough time to sort out these teething problems, but not enough time to flounder about. The team and management need to start now.

Tschüß to an unsuccessful German trip

I hoped a change was to come in Betis’ pre-season performances when they jetted off to Germany last week, however, there was much left to be desired.

Betis faced two Bundesliga opposition on Friday and Saturday and did not covert themselves in glory or show us much to get excited about.

On Friday they fell by 3 goals to 1 to recently promoted Darmstadt 98 and the following day were completely out-performed by Borussia Dortmund. After the Dortmund game the team didn’t hang around too long, heading straight to Düsseldorf to catch a plane to Seville. Pepe Mel has given the players two days of rest before they start training again on Tuesday, in what will be a double session.

More details and news surrounding the club to follow later on.

Second half of pre-season continues in Germany

The second half of Betis’ pre-season continued today as the team touched down in Germany. I think it is fair to say that Betis have been much more successful off the pitch so far, than they have on it.

Let’s start with the positives:

  • 39,055 – the number of season-ticket holders that have joined during the sign up period. 9,000 more than last season! Superb return.
  • Golden boy Dani Ceballos has signed his first professional contract with the first team till June 2016 with the option to renew for a year. The club will be hoping to tie him down on a longer term contract before the end of the year.
  • The squad has been strengthened with a number of decent signings: Van der Vaart, Tarek, Digard, Petros and Pezzella, with two or three more likely to come in.

Not so good news:

  • The football on the pitch has been inconsistent to say the least. Two losses in four games – to San Roque de Lepe and Vitória de Setúbal – have hardly set the world alight. They have also drawn against Athletic Bilbao, which isn’t too bad, and beat Coria CF as expected.
osvaldo

Osvaldo: may be joining Betis on their pre-season tour (image via estadiodeportivo.com)

With their arrival in Germany, Betis have finished the ‘first stage’ of their pre-season, which consisted of the usual training camp in Montecastillo (near Jerez) where they are put through their paces. They have taken the same players over to Germany who started the pre-season (+ Ceballos), but have left a few of the youngsters at home to join back up with Juan Merino’s B team. They have also left a few first team players away – Vadillo, Kakir, Lolo Reyes (who is in Chile looking for a club) and Pacheco (who is going to sign for Alavés).

Betis have arrived in Germany to: 1) get away from the Seville heat, and 2) face slightly different opposition. They will play two games in Angela Merkel’s kingdom: Darmstadt 98 (Friday 31st July) and Borussia Dortmund the day after (Saturday 1st August) – and no I’m not sure which bright spark planned that one. The Borussia Dortmund friendly will certainly be the most testing opposition that Betis will face during the pre-season.

Pepe Mel is still looking for a forward and has been heavily linked with former Southhampton player Dani Osvaldo in recent times, although he is proving difficult to pin down. To complete the ‘project’, brain child of Mel and Macià, Betis still need a defender and a fast winger. Recently linked to the club has been Werder Bremen player, Izet Hajrovic. The Bosnian international is 23 years old and player at the World Cup last year in Brazil.

The other name that keeps cropping up in regards to Real Betis is Marco Asensio. Asensio is an employee of Real Madrid who played for Mallorca last season on loan. He is going to be loaned out again this season with Madrid wanting the Spanish youngster to get some minutes under his belt. Asensio is a good talent and recently starred during Spain’s u19 European championship victory earlier in the month where he played alongside his new mate, Dani Ceballos. Despite this, he won’t be going anywhere until 15th August as he is competing in Real Madrid’s pre-season tour.