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.

Trigoleador Chuli habla

Chuli talks post match

The video above is hat-trick man Chuli talking about the game post match. I’m thankful for the transcription because he talks about as fast as he runs, rápidamente!

General feelings

He said that he was very happy with the confidence the manager showed in him in that he gave him the full 90 minutes. He said he found [the game] very good and that he is getting better every time he plays with the team, which was demonstrated on the pitch. He said he wants to work the maximum minutes. His job is what he did today, score goals and help the team as much as he can.

Position on the pitch

He said that out wide he is further away from the goal, but the boss knows what he’s doing and what he wants from me. In the two positions [out wide and centre forward] I feel comfortable. I’ve got the two goals playing as a forward but it’s true that [Huddersfield] were more tired.

Clearly, he’s very modest as well.

For those who don’t know much about Chuli, he is a 22 year old from Huelva in Andalucía. He started off his professional career at Espanyol B before moving back to his home club Recreativo de Huelva – who at 123 years old, are the oldest club in Spain. He spent two seasons at Recre, first of all appearing for the B side before moving up to the senior side. He scored 37 goals in 70 games whilst at Recre. Betis then snapped him up for around €600,000 in May 2013. He has been given the number 9 shirt and he looks like a younger Rubén Castro, in looks and the way he plays. I think he will be able to come on leaps and bounds at Betis under the tutelage of Pepe Mel and Castro; I wait in joyful hope.