How far can Malaga go?

The club with oil money to spend

Prior to the 2010/11 season, Malaga CF were seen as an average club with average ambitions. Survival in the top flight of Spanish football was always the target, until Qatari Investor, Abdullah bin Nasser bin Abdullah Al Ahmed Al Thani bought the Andalusian based club in June 2010 from Lorenzo Sanz (former Real Madrid President).

Jesualdo Ferreira was appointed as head coach and just like the purchase of the club, which was done quietly, transfer activities at La Rosaleda wasn’t any different, with the acquisition of  unknown Salomon Rondon and Sebastein Fernandez. Bad results on the pitch did not help Ferreira as he was fired in November after nine La Liga games.

Erstwhile Real Madrid and Villarreal coach, Manuel Pellegrini was appointed to the helms of affairs. He oversaw a revival at the club – thanks to five consecutive wins in the latter part of the season; a historic first for the club. With several new signings, which included Enzo Maresca who arrived on a free, Martin Demichelis on loan from Bayern Munich, Julio Baptista an outcast from AS Roma and the Spanish duo of Ignacio Camacho and Sergio Asenjo (on loan) from Atletico Madrid, the club managed to finish in 11th place.

The activities and ambition of the South coast club during this summer transfer window has made me beam a search light on them.

The acquisition of the club by a member of a  Royal family from the oil-rich Middle-East is similar to that done by the Abu Dhabi United Group at Manchester City.
Malaga have surprisingly signed quality players like Jeremy Toulalan from Lyon, Joaquin Sanchez from Valencia, Santiago Cazorla from Villareal and old war horse Ruud Van Nistelrooy on a free transfer.
With further speculation of Lassana Diarra teaming up with his old boss, an audacious swoop for Inter’s Wesley Sneijder it seems more quality names are likely to swell up the ranks at the club.

One of the many eye-catching additions to the squad

Malaga recently appointed yet another ex-Real Madrid man , Fernando Hierro as Sporting Director to help Los Boquerones in their new project.
With several changes in the playing personnel, the club’s ambition has changed with fans beginning to think of the impossible (Playing in Europe again, UCL and possibly challenging the duo of Real Madrid and Barcelona for La Liga).
The management and fans have to exercise patience as the new look team needs time to galvanize for the expected results to be achieved.

A top eight finish is a realistic target for The Anchovies while it is possible they grab the last Europa league spot if they finish seventh. It would serve as a platform for future success.
Sheikh Abdullah, Hierro and Pellegrini are building a good side and have been witty in their transfer activities.
It is great to see another club become relevant in La Liga and increase the competitiveness in the league that has been sorely lacking for years now.
The comparism of Malaga as the Manchester City of La Liga is pleasing as we look forward to the coming season.

They would be hoping to qualify for one of these competitions..

What do you think? Will the Qatari Investment have an effect or you think they would continue to be an average team?

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