Examining Europe’s Overperforming Clubs: Girona

Girona, known for their limited resources, have defied all odds with their impressive performance this season. Despite their modest budget, they have managed to compete against La Liga’s biggest teams and have their eyes set on qualifying for European competitions for the first time in the club’s history. Led by coach Míchel, the team is a mix of young talents, experienced professionals, and players who were overlooked by other clubs.

One of the standout signings for Girona is striker Artem Dovbyk, who joined the club last summer for a transfer fee of €7.5 million. While this may seem like a significant amount for Girona, it pales significantly, in comparison to the fees paid by clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona for their record signings.

However, Dovbyk is one of the exceptions in Girona’s squad. Many of their regular starters arrived on free transfers or joined on loan for the season. This shows the club’s shrewd recruitment strategy and talent identification, as they have managed to build a competitive team without splashing out large sums of money.

Girona’s rise is a testament to the excellent coaching and player development at the club. Coach Michel, known for his ability to guide teams out of the second division, successfully led Girona to a promotion to La Liga and a top-10 finish last season. This time around, with the team’s current form, they have their sights set on a qualification for the Champions League, and maybe even the La Liga title.

The architect of this success is Miguel Angel Sanchez Munoz, better known as Michel, the 47-year-old coach from Madrid who is catching the eye with his entertaining brand of attacking football. Michel was a prolific goalscorer during his own playing career, which he spent mostly at Rayo Vallecano, where he became the club’s all-time top scorer.

One of the advantages Girona has is their affiliation with the City Football Group (CFG), which gives them access to a wider pool of players for recruitment. While their annual budget ranks 14th in the league, they have managed to borrow players from other CFG clubs and target experienced professionals who are out of contract.

The versatility of Girona’s players has also been a key factor in their success. With so much player rotation and shape-shifting within matches, it is impossible to pin down one formation for the team. Certain players can seamlessly switch between different systems depending on the game’s needs.

Girona plays a 3-4-3 system, but only when they are not in possession. However, all that changes when they get the ball to Daley Blind, who plays as the left centre-back,  stepping into the midfield.

This changes the formation to 2-5-3. With Blind in the midfield, Girona now has one of the best passers of the ball, controlling the game. And the stats back it up. Daley Blind has an Expected Threat (xT) rating of 1.49, the best in the Spanish league.

Blind’s impeccable passing has been one of the reasons why Girona have managed to create so many chances this season. Blind is also among the top five passers in the league, along with teammate Aleix Garcia.

And if Blind is controlling the midfield, the onus in the attack is on a 19-year-old Savio. Signed on loan from sister club Troyes, the teenager has taken no time to adapt to the demands of the new league.

Girona’s success stories include goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga, who was signed on a free transfer. The 6-foot-5 Argentine has been a backup keeper most of his career, but this season, he has proven to be much more than that and has become a key player for the team. Another notable signing is Eric Garcia, who joined on loan from Barcelona after falling out of favour at the club. His versatility and performances this season have earned him high praise from top coaches.

Girona’s rise in La Liga is a true underdog story. With their limited resources and smart recruitment, they have managed to compete against the big spenders and make a name for themselves in the league. If their form continues, we may see Girona achieving even greater things in the near future. 

Goodness Abisoye


Related Articles

1 thought on “Examining Europe’s Overperforming Clubs: Girona”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also