A great first week in England for Betis

Hola Béticos y los aficionados de fútbol. Today will be my last post for two weeks as I jet off on holiday tomorrow, therefore missing the last 3 friendlies against Fulham, Hull and Everton. Despite this let’s have a look at what’s being happening en el mundo del Betis.

Rubén, Lolo and Juanfran in the gym (from Beticismo.net)

Rubén, Lolo and Juanfran in the gym (from Beticismo.net)

Betis have now been in England for just short of a week and what a great week it has been. They have played 3 games (Huddersfield, Bolton and Wolves) and won all 3! I managed to get to the first two of those games and I was impressed with what I saw. As Pepe Mel commented, it’s great to get the team accustomed to winning. It was also very nice to meet Béticos from both Spain and England. The team are playing some very nice football, scoring goals without Rubén Castro and defending much better. This is all the more impressive considering that there are 13 new faces in the Betis camp – that is half the squad! More that half in England when you consider that Alvaro Vadillo and Eder Vilarchao are not currently with the squad.

The squad yesterday got their first (and well deserved) day off; all apart from new arrivals Dídac and Braian (which is a pain to type) who had to stay and train with coach David Gómez. The players could either stay at the hotel or spend the day in Chester.

Good news on the injury front as Rubén Castro is expected to return to training tomorrow after being out with a right abductor muscle problem. Antonio Amaya, who has not featured yet in England, is also back in training as is Cedrick. Juan Carlos is not far away from returning. Lolo Reyes, Betis’ only first team defensive midfielder, also returned to the grass this morning, which is a great bonus. He has been out with a right knee ligament problem. Slight concern however, Chuli had to retire from training this morning with an injury to his right knee. We will know more on this when it has been examined by the doctor.

On the transfer front – the club are still after a central/defensive midfielder to replace the hole that has been vacated by the departures of Cañas/Beñat/Rubén Pérez. The club are willing to invest ‘two or three’ million euros to create that much needed solid spine running straight through the team. There has been lots of names banded about – Digard, Iborra, Kvist – but nothing more than that. In fact Digard has just renewed with Nice so we know it definitely won’t be him. Vlada Stosic is working overtime to plug this hole and I expect a signing to be made soon.

All in all, a great first week for Betis. The next 3 games will be much harder though as they will be up against Premier League opposition. It will be provide a good yard stick to see how well Betis get on and also provide some good preparation for the class of teams they are likely to play against in the Europa League.

In the meantime I will point you in the direction of some other Bético outlets to bring you the latest news.

The best English-based Betis site around brought to you by Adam Boyle, a season ticket holder Bético who lives in Seville www.foreverbetis.com 

Mateo González and the rest of the writers at www.alfinaldelapalmera.com  – Mateo is in the UK and currently following Betis around the country and doing an absolutely fantastic job of bringing Betis news all day long.

Another one of my favourites is www.beticismo.net – where José Mariá García is doing a sterling job.

Viva el Betis and see you in two weeks!

Alejandro Pozuelo: the one that got away

pozuelo

Pozuelo scoring against Athletic Bilbao in a 5-3 away victory.

So it is official, Alejandro Pozuelo is a Swansea City player; joining former Real Betis teammate, Jose Cañas, in the process. In my view, Pozuelo has the talent to become established as a full Spanish international in a few years time, once he has played regularly at the top level. For those that are unfamiliar with Pozuelo, he is an attacking midfielder with a great touch and quick brain who sits off the front man.

As for Betis, he is the one that got away.

Let’s talk stellar evolution. From a bit of dust and gas we get a nice nebulae, also known as molecular clouds (talent and potential). After millions of years (training and luck) these protostars may settle down and form a main sequence star (professional footballer). Pozuelo is at this stage. He has however got lots of hydrogen atoms wanting to fuse together but only if he puts the effort in. This will eventually lead to the creation of a helium core, thus powering the star (Pozuelo) on to the next level: subgiant. Once he is here he can then naturally progress onto the red giant phase (career pinnacle), before he fizzles out and collapses into a white dwarf.

Now, at Betis he has not been given the chance to move onto that next level. This hasn’t been Betis’ fault per se, he has had injuries and ineffective spells and in short it just hasn’t really happened. At the start of the season he was my ‘one to watch’ – this was a pre-season article I did last summer for Inside Spanish Football highlighting his talent. I thought he could stamp his mark on the season just gone but he never had a sustained run in the first team, which was due to inconsistent performances and injury. A move to Swansea may provide that extra kick he needs, especially with Michael Laudrup at the helm.

He was contracted to Betis until 2015 but was threatening the club with legal action because he felt this contract was ‘forced’ upon him. Rubbish in my view as other players have received the same contract and are absolutely fine. Swansea will need to keep tabs on this diva-ishness.

Despite this unsavouriness, at around €500,000, Swansea have got an absolute steal. It was not long ago that Pozuelo was being linked to Manchester United and ratings such as £4.5 million were being banded around (by The Sun).

Although we have lost a possible star, it will be exciting to see him ply his trade in the Premier League next season and see whether he can fulfil that potential that he undoubtedly has. I say buena suerte to this young Sevillista.

The-Sun-Pozuelo

United linked with Pozuelo (image from The Sun)