Everyone at Valencia, in the stands and in the boardroom, agrees on one thing: Eliaquim Mangala has been one of the few great successes of a terrible season for Los Che.
26-year-old Mangala joined the La Liga club on loan from Manchester City on deadline day last summer thanks to the intervention of his agent, Jorge Mendes, and that included an option to buy for £15 miillion – which would mean a considerable loss for City, who invested heavily to sign the French international from FC Porto in 2014.
Valencia would love Mangala to make a permanent switch to the Mestalla Stadium, but Financial Fair Play restrictions are going to make it impossible, according to Marca. The club are walking a tightrope already with FFP and paying the £15 million for Mangala, with his hefty pay packet on top, would undoubtedly lead to a breach.
For that reason, Mangala will return to the Etihad next summer – unless Manchester City agree to a second loan term. This is an option being explored by Valencia, but even then taking on his full €5 million-a-year salary (City currently cover half of it) could be impossible because of FFP.
For City, Valencia not being able to take up their option might not be a bad thing, even if Pep Guardiola has no plans for the centre-back. He has been showing the sort of form that led to City paying so much for him, something that will have caught the attention of scouts across Europe, potentially meaning he could fetch more than the £15 million Valencia initially agreed to pay.