Monday, July 7, 2008

Reflecting on Player Movements in the Calderon-Mijatovic Era Part 7

Promoted from the Youth Team – Jordi Codina
I haven’t seen him play… but there’s been quite a bit of positive feedback about him. He’s 3rd in the pecking order though, rightfully behind Casillas but debatably behind Dudek. As a Castilla graduate, he’d definitely make a fan favorite. But given his age, he and Madrid are at that crossroads now: he should either be moved up as the 2nd choice keeper over Dudek, or be sold / loaned out to another club.
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Arrival – Jerzy Dudek

A Champions League-winning, Penalty Kick-saving hero as your second string GK… not bad at all. Dudek is however at that age when he must move on to clear the way for Castilla’s younger ‘keepers who are moving up. He was a great and clever acquisition though. He’s played decently in the few games that I’ve seen him. But maybe it’s time for him to make a move…
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Arrival – Javier Saviola
Let’s all admit it. Saviola was a trophy acquisition. But even for a trophy acquisition, he was a good quality acquisition. He has a history of being able to score goals as proven in his stints in Barcelona (early days) Sevilla and Monaco. But once again, he’s like Baptista. If he wants to stay in Madrid, it’s clear that he will have to accept a role in the bench: playing the local cup matches and appearing as a sub here and there to compensate for injuries or suspensions, but mostly as a ploy to waste time or a reliever when a match’s result has been guaranteed. Garbage minutes in other words.

Nevertheless, he’s scored some important goals and made some energetic appearances this past season. Where many have been happy to dismiss him as a bad signing or a flop, I prefer to look at Saviola as a man who is just unlucky to have landed in Madrid during a season when Raul has regained some of his old form. I haven’t read anyone write about it, but imagine this: what if along with RVN’s absence due to injury, Raul was unable to regain his old form or had gotten hurt? One of Saviola, Soldado or Baptista would have played that spot much more often…. And who knows what we might’ve gotten out of them?

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