El Centrocampista

SD Eibar stengthen ahead of debut La Liga season

Fresh from promotion and subsequent financial battles, SD Eibar hope to have made moves in the transfer window that ensure that they at least give themselves a fighting chance of making sure that their stay in the top tier isn’t a brief one.

One of the major needs in the squad, according to fans, has been met with the loan signing of forward Manu del Moral from Sevilla. In the current 4-5-1 system, Eibar would have been expected to rely on seasoned veteran Mikel Arruabarrena and ex-Levante man Ángel Rodríguez, however, the former is more suited to an attacking midfield role and netted less than 10 goals last term, while the latter only scored twice in his 280 minutes in a Levante shirt in the 2013-14 campaign.

In Manu del Moral, Eibar have brought in another face with La Liga experience and more importantly, La Liga goals.

At the other end of the pitch, centre half Borja Ekiza, formerly of Athletic Bilbao, has been brought in to strengthen their defence for their maiden La Liga campaign.

26-year-old Ekiza turned out in the white and red of Athletic on 80 occasions during his three-year stint at San Mamés but with his playing time looking limited this year with Laporte, Gurpegi and San Jose all preferred to the Pampolona native, he moves to Eibar with something to prove.

However, he brings La Liga experience to Eibar and could well find himself as one of the first names on SD Eibar managers Gaizka Garitano’s team sheet, owing to the fact that despite a stellar season for captain Txema Añibarro and his central defensive deputies Raúl Navas and Albentosa, they are inexperienced at the highest level.

The two other players captured by the Basque side are Dani Nieto from Barcelona B and Abraham Minero who joins The Gunners on loan from Zaragoza.

The 2013-14 season saw Dani Nieto, 23, net six goals in his 34 appearances for Barcelona B and Eibar will be hoping he can somehow fill the huge void that the departure of Jota Peleteiro leaves on the left wing. Peleteiro was instrumental in the team’s efforts to secure the Liga Adelante title and not having a player of his caliber could harm the team in its bid to survive instant relegation.

Linking up with Nieto on the left-hand side in La Liga will be Zaragoza’s Abraham Minero, who comes into the club on loan to replace Real Sociedad’s Yuri. Real Zaragoza can recall Minero during his loan spell, but it is hoped he will be a solid backup for full backs Boveda and Kijera.

The process of building a squad capable to compete at this level is underway, but it is by no means over.

(photo courtesy of SD Eibar)

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