Planes reaffirms Espanyol’s focus on youth development amid financial pressure

Sporting director Ramon Planes has reiterated his faith in Espanyol being able to rely on its youth policy for another season amid continued financial pains.

Speaking to Mundo Deportivo, the 44-year-old reflected on where the team are currently focusing matters, and the efforts being made to support that whole-heartedly.

“We have a young team. If last year we were the third youngest team, we are now the youngest [This is confirmed, with the average age at 23.72 years]. That’s good because it means we are betting on the youth team and players with a very specific profile.

“It is not so good for inexperience, but one thing is clear: the focus is the same, the team has an identity. That is reflected in the field, beyond the results.

“Espanyol has installed a working style, from the youth team to the first team, the same coaching, same language, a coordination of training. All this has value, it helps us grow as an entity.”

Planes confirms it is likely to be what the club rely upon after a difficult summer in the transfer market.

“Where [Pablo Daniel] Osvaldo and [Jose] Callejon have left, the club’s economic situation being what it is meant there were no players brought in to replace them. Some [players] were able to come, but…[for the finances].

“[Nelson] Valdez, [Mounir] El Hamdaoui and some others. They had the ok at a sporting level, but you have 15 clubs before you that are paying more than you.

“Espanyol are on the path they must follow. And the project must be adhered to firmly, right to the end.; people from within, firm decisions, strictness. And with respect to the sports side of things, which will what we will eventually be judged on, we are trying to change it.

“And if somebody does it for three games, good or bad, it is because they don’t understand the work involved in this sporting project.”

The team currently find themselves in 15th place with six points on the board from six played. However, concern is at the club are weaker than they were a year ago, in light of notable summer departures and limited reinforcements.

“It is too early to draw conclusions. Reinforcements? The competition will be marking the needs that the team may have, but we are prepared for anything. I repeat that we have full confidence in the coaching staff.

“This is what we have, we will support it until the death. The best situation is to get to the transfer market and not need to sign anyone.”

However, Planes is pushed about whether the team will enter the market.

“Be patient. The team will grow for sure. El Hamdaoui? In the summer the deal was not done because of economic differences. We are interested, as are others. Our obligation is to be attentive to the market, scout and track.

“If [a player] is deemed approproate to the sporting project and to us as a club, then we can take the decision and act: forward, defender or midfielder. But today, we support the group we have.”

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