Transfer rumours

Valencia were the team in the news this week, with boardroom shenanigans which make some of the top television soaps look tame. Club president Juan Soler had already got his "ropa interior" in a bit of a twist in recent months, with coach Ronald Koeman making himself "Mr. Unpopular" leaving players such as Cañizares, Albelda and Angulo on the sidelines. Koeman is already history and Unai Emery has been taken on to try and turn things around, but Soler decided he needed a new man higher up in the organization.

In came ex Telefonica boss Juan Villalonga as the super-CEO, but it only took him a few days to upset everyone, trying to tempt Luis Aragonés away from Fenerbahçe and bringing in old fox Javier Azkagorta as his sporting director ahead of the present incumbents. His biggest mistake though was to make public the club's huge debt and then announce that he wanted a capital increase to be able to hold on to players such as Villa and Silva, promising to bring in around €77 million in new funds in two weeks' time.

Soler had had enough and decided to fall on his own sword. He fired Villallonga (reportedly costing him a €10 million severance payout in to the bargain) and made "a pact with the devil", giving a purchase option over his shares to his old enemy, Vicente Soriano, hitherto the club's second largest shareholder. Soriano takes over as president with immediate effect, but the future of Villa, Silva and several others is once again in doubt, with the striker in Real Madrid's sights and his Spanish team mate already the subject of a bid by Atlético. Eat your heart out Dallas! (26.07.08)