El Centrocampista

GOING FOR GOALS – Espanyol are on the hunt

Despite off-field problems, Espanyol found themselves in eighth place going into La Liga’s  winter break – just six points off a UEFA Champions League spot.

Mauricio Pochettino has got big plans for January as well – with a new centre forward is top of the list. From 16 games, Espanyol have scored just 17 goals, the lowest total in the top half of the La Liga table. Since selling star strikers Jose Maria Callejon and Pablo Osvaldo Espanyol have struggled to replace them.

‘El Rifle’ Walter Pandiani was brought back to the club having left Osasuna, but just two goals have arrived from the 35-year-old and with fitness concerns surrounding the Uruguayan, Espanyol need to hit the transfer market.

Here are the main candidates to take the goalscoring mantle at the Cornella el-Prat;

Mounir El-Hamdoui, Ajax:

Moroccan forward was in Barcelona on deadline day but just ran out of time to complete his move having fallen out favour in Amsterdam. His availability has triggered the interest of Atletico Madrid, Blackburn and Fulham, but El-Hamdaoui has recently met with Espanyol representatives to discuss a January switch instead.

Teofilo Gutierrez, Racing Club de Avellaneda:

Heavily linked with Espanyol after impressing in Argentina with an average of better than a goal every other game. The Colombian international prefers a move to Porto and Espanyol want to send Jesus Datolo in exchange, so this deal looks to be unlikely right now.

Marouane Chamakh, Arsenal:

Another Moroccan international, Chamakh is finding life in London tough with Arsenal, permanently playing 2nd fiddle to the sensational Robin van Persie. Chamakh would be one of the more expensive targets for Espanyol, so a loan move would be more likely if they pursued him, but Pochettino has played with Chamakh at Bordeaux so could use this to his advantage.

Mevlut Erding, Paris Saint-Germain:

Turkish international plays for Pochettino’s former club PSG, but is finding games hard to come by since the French giants were taken over by the Qatar Investment Authority. Erding knows that it will be hard to get back in the team and that a move to Espanyol could be beneficial for his career.

Lucas Barrios, Borussia Dortmund:

Probably the least realistic target of the transfer window. Barrios has recently complained at a lack of game time at the German champions and would look for a move away – but whilst being linked with AC Milan and Chelsea, Espanyol were credited with an interest, however the Paraguayan hitman probably falls out of Espanyol’s price range.

Felipe Caicedo, Lokomotiv Moscow:

Former Levante powerhouse has been a success in Russia but Catalan media claim Espanyol are making an audacious move to try and bring him back to La Liga. But with just a few months over in Russia, it’s unlikely that Caicedo will up sticks again.


Other names such as Aritz Aduriz and Pippo Inzaghi have been linked too but the main targets will be Erding and El Hamdaoui – both of these players would be significant improvements on Pandiani, Alvaro Vasquez and Sergio Garcia as Espanyol look to break into at least the Top 6.

If Pochettino can add a right back and sell Carlos Kameni then it should make the team much stronger and equipped for success on a tight budget. The inconsistency of sides like Athletic Bilbao, Malaga, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid mean that if Espanyol can string together a run after New Year then they could find themselves in that 4th Champions League spot.

After losing so many players in the summer, who could have predicted that one?

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