LaLiga 2018/2019 Preview: Villarreal
After the early struggles of last season which led to the sacking of former manager, Fran Escribá, the appointment of Javier Calleja helped the team stabilize and a strong finish to the season saw the team get 6th place and a spot in the Europa League for this season.
Led by charismatic president Fernando Roig, the team embarked on a spending spree and recruitment that has significantly strengthened the side considerably.
In has come £68.31m worth of talent with the addition of Spanish striker Gerard Moreno (£18m from Espanyol) and the return of old favourite Santi Cazorla the standout additions.
Given that the Spanish window does not close until August 31st, the club may still be active in the market with the expected sale of exciting winger Samu Castillejo to AC Milan (loan with an option to buy plus Carlos Bacca seems to be the prevalent opinion) meaning the club may need to get in another winger.
Troubled Portuguese centre-back Ruben Semedo has joined SD Huesca on loan while Russian World Cup star, Dennis Cheryshev has also gone out on loan to Valencia.
Here is an analysis of the team and what to expect once hostilities kick off on Friday:
Spanish international Sergio Asenjo is expected to continue in goal and recreate his best form. The former Atletico Madrid player is well aware of the transfer moves made by rival national team goalies; Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea) and Sergio Rico (Fulham) and will want to prove himself to new La Furia Roja manager Luis Enrique.
The 27-year-old has been an inspired presence in goal for the Yellow Submarines since he was ousted from Los Rojiblancos team by the emergence of David De Gea.
Victor Fernandez deputized ably when Asenjo was injured last season and will be expected to continue in the same capacity.