El Centrocampista


By Alex Bromley

Following Part one earlier today, we now discover what part Udinese play in the Granada story…

Granada CF were in financial difficulty and in serious danger of also dissolving. Again using his links through being an agent, Quique Pina negotiated a deal with Udinese’s president, Giampaulo Pozzo, who bought Granada CF and covered the club’s debts for the foreseeable future and in doing so, set up a parent/feeder partnership with the Andalucian team.

It ended up being a fabulous arrangement for both clubs, but is deemed somewhat controversial by a lot of both Italian and Spanish football clubs. The point being that Udinese hold the contracts of around 110 players, which they loan out to other teams in order to fund themselves and to give the loanees valuable experience.

Udinese don’t have a reserve or ‘B’ Team which they would have to fund themselves – instead they dissolve their reserves across the globe and reap the money in return. Thus, Granada CF took a whole flock of youngsters off Udinese’s hands meaning that the  Italians’ pool of young but very experienced players in the coming seasons will be better equipped to enter the first team and quite a few will have La Liga experience.

Many Italian teams see this as unfair, but Udinese see it as simply giving their youngsters a chance in the best league in the world. In gaining this experience and off the back of the success which Granada have had recently, the value of many of the loanees will have escalated and Udinese could make an absolute killing in flogging them all off – you can’t have a squad of 110 after all.

Back in Spain, the whispers in the higher leagues are that it’s also unfair for Granada CF, a lowly and once almost extinct team, to have such a massive helping hand in getting to La Liga; a move which will see their income increase by around €20 million, most of which comes from TV revenue, and of course they won’t have a long bill of wages as all of the players are contracted to a club in a different country.

The folk of Granada couldn’t care less though. Not only are their team approaching financial stability, but they get to see the likes of Messi, CR7 and co. at Los Carmenes in the coming months and it is likely that many of the on-loan players will stick about for the coming season as it benefits both Granada CF for now, and also Udinese in the future.

But here’s the point; the squad at Grenada is full of loanees and youngsters. The consensus is that they will not last in La Liga and will soon be heading back down to the Segunda Division and when they do, all of their best and youngest players will depart back to Italy.

They will have a taste for top flight football, and many will be good enough for it. Clubs will come sniffing about and Udinese will be more than happy to sell them on. Should Granada CF remain in La Liga, the onus is there that for a relatively minor club, it could be very cost-effective to pack up in order to sell the club and relocate at a huge profit; they would have a Primera Division position after all.

Meanwhile, Pina has already taken over at Cadiz B and placed his dad at the helm, but whether he decided to jump a potentially sinking ship also remains to be seen.


  1. “But here’s the point; the squad at Grenada is full of loanees and youngsters. The consensus is that they will not last in La Liga and will soon be heading back down to the Segunda Division and when they do, all of their best and youngest players will depart back to Italy.”

    Although Granada retains several loan players from Udinese, the bulk of the squad is contracted to Granada. Of the new signings so far, only Jaime Romero has been loaned from Udinese. All others are contracted to Granada, including probably their biggest signing so far, Yohan Mollo – a bargain at 1m€ from AS Monaco. Left-back Guillerme Siquera has also terminated his contract with Udinese and signed directly with Granada CF.

    Granada CF are actually in a much better position financially than a good number of other clubs in Liga BBVA. They’ve retained the core of the team that gained promotion, which provides a stable base for the season ahead. The new signings are sensible, no outlandish fees or wages are being spent and I think the approach being taken by Quique Pina and sporting director Juan Carlos Cordero, is very wise.

    Quique Pina’s interest in Cádiz CF is a mirror of the initial deal between Udinese and Granada CF.

    “Should Granada CF remain in La Liga, the onus is there that for a relatively minor club, it could be very cost-effective to pack up in order to sell the club and relocate at a huge profit; they would have a Primera Division position after all.”

    You are aware that following what happened with Ciudad de Murcia/Granada 74, LFP passed a ruling that would ensure such a situation would never happen again?

    No doubt that the transition of Granada CF to S.A.D. status will mean that Quique Pina can indeed sell the club in the future, should he choose to do so. However, the club cannot be sold as a franchise and relocated elsewhere. Granada CF will remain in Granada, at whatever level they’re playing.

    I’m afraid you’ve skimmed the surface of what has happened at the club, what is happening now and in the future.

    Whilst living in Granada and following the team, I have witnessed first-hand a remarkable transformation.

    Of course the arrival of Quique Pina and the deal with Udinese was the catalyst for a club which in the summer of 2009, was literally two weeks away from extinction. The objective since then has always been to get the club to the highest level.

    Later this year, the club will complete training facilities in the suburb of Otura which will compare favourably to many of the top clubs in Europe. This will also increase their already strong focus on their youth system, especially now the Juvenil A side have reached the Division de Honor. Should they survive in Liga BBVA, the mayor of Granada has even promised a new 40,000 seater stadium in the north of the city.

    Far from being a club with an uncertain future, this is a club that has laid very strong foundations and contrary to the spend-thrift mentality which has seen countless clubs suffering very uncertain futures on and off the field, Granada head into their first season back in the top flight on a much firmer footing.

  2. alexjbromley

    3 August, 2011 at 17:40

    Hi Heath,

    Indeed you are correct that Pina has been somewhat of a revelation at the club and taking over Cadiz B has essentially allowed him to build on his already successful footballing prowess in Spain and in Italy. The article wasn’t intended to bring him across as a ‘Swiss Tony’, rather as an important part of the club as he did genuinely save it.

    You are also correct that I have skimmed the surface of the details and I apologise for such, however the post was simply a way of getting some of the information across to readers who are unsure of anything that has happened at Granada recently.
    The post did not look into the long-term future, as to do so would be difficult. Take Charlton (my team) for example. We were stable, happy and plodding along in the premier league, but when we lost Curbishley, wewent down and our infrastructure took a massive knock; we ended up selling our best outfit – the ladies side – before catastrophically plummeting to League 1. And there I was with egg on my face just a couple of years after saying that premiership mid-table mediocrity was our way of life. It’s simply a case of not getting ahead of myself. Granada are building a great prospect, but should Pina put all of his efforts into Cadiz, anything could happen. It’s a long-shot that he’ll abandon the club, but this is football and as the cliche goes, anything could happen. Believe me though when I say I hope it doesn’t!

    That being said, I’m very thankful that you took the time to post such a comprehensive reply (the first comment i’ve ever had on any of my online work – and the fact that I know that just makes me sad!). I can certainly put my hands up and say that I have learnt more about the club than I previously knew but, as I said, it was not meant as a thorough review of the history of Granada CF but rather a few bullet points of the recent years.

    I’d be grateful if you could continue to have a read through my Granada posts as the season unfolds, so as to iron out any creases that I mistakenly slip in (as you did here).

    Feel free to add us on twitter/facebook too – your comments are welcome whatever they are and whatever form of media they come through.


    I think we have a facebook site, but like the site it is in its infancy so please be patient.

    Thanks again, and let me know your views on anything else Granada, or indeed anything La Liga.


  3. Interesting you mentioned Charlton Athletic – Quique Pina & Gino Pozzo also had talks during the summer with them about an affiliate relationship. Their obvious and admitted attraction to English football and the prospect of “doing a Granada” with Charlton, was the financial wealth of the Premier League. Little has been mentioned though, since that story first appeared in June.

    When it comes to Quique Pina, I’m under no illusions. First and foremost he’s a businessman… and a very astute one at that! Through his own comments and those of his right-hand-man, Juan Carlos Cordero, it’s been made clear that when looking for players, aside from older players they can sign for free, they’re looking at “investments”.

    Very much a similar model as that of Udinese, especially following his acquisition of Cádiz CF. Only the next couple of years will reveal his true intentions, be it with Granada CF, Cádiz CF, or elsewhere. I suspect that if Granada CF can establish themselves in Liga BBVA, it’s a base he won’t want to relinquish so easily.

    Then again, you can never rule anything out these days in football – and Spanish football often throws up some of the biggest surprises.

  4. alexjbromley

    4 August, 2011 at 09:59

    Too true, alhough as we both mentioned in the other post, I’d prefer to be in Spain rather than Turkish or Greek football right now!

    Spanish football is huge at the moment, so for Pina to have his fingers in as many pies as possible will more than likely make him a big name in the coming years. If he can branch out into England and essentially harvest players in the same way that Udinese do, then he will be a force in the near future.

  5. Heath Chesters

    4 August, 2011 at 19:48

    After his involvement with the Alexis Sánchez negotiations between Udinese and Barcelona, the rise of Granada CF, his direct involvement with Cádiz CF and indirect involvement with Tenerife, some sections of the media and football establishment are already regarding Quique Pina as one of the most influential men in Spanish football at the moment.

    Obviously to English eyes, we wonder at the potential conflicts of interest, which wouldn’t be allowed in English football… at least as far as League rules are apparently concerned.

    That doesn’t seem to be such a problem here though and the establishment is probably more appreciative that he appears to have turned one struggling club around dramatically, whilst is now arguably keeping two other struggling clubs alive. After the uncertainty of the futures of numerous clubs in Spain recently (notably in Segunda B), it’s no wonder that during the summer, he was contacted by countless clubs for help and advice.

    He certainly will be an interesting “character” to follow over the next few years.

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