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.

Van der Vaart deal to Betis to be finalised soon

Van der Vaart

Van der Vaart

The rumour has been floating around for a little while, but it looks like it is now finally materialising: Rafael Van der Vaart will officially be a Betis player within days.

Club chairman, Ollero, announced today that talks were at a ‘advanced stage’.

The Dutchman will sign from German side Hamburg on a three-year deal, which is a deal well negotiated for the 32 year old. The former Real Madrid and Tottenham midfielder has made 22 starts for Hamburg this season, scoring four times.

If the signing is confirmed, it could be the start of something great for Betis. It is a statement signing of intent for los verdiblancos, telling La Liga that Betis are here to stay. Although the signing will stretch Betis’ budget, it is a brilliant signing as it is likely to attract a higher calibre of players to the club.

Van der Vaart wants to move back to Andalucía to be close to his family when his contract runs out at Hamburg at the end of June. His parents still live in beautiful town of Chiclana de la Frontera in the province of Cadíz, around an hours drive from Seville.