Despite Malaga’s dramatic late exit from the Champions League last week their season will still be regarded as a huge success. With the doom and despair that the club found themselves surrounded by before the season commenced they have been inspired this season. One of the key members of the side has been the Frenchman Jeremy Toulalan.
The central defensive midfielder was brought to Malaga the summer before last during the club’s huge spending spree. With quite a major emphasis on attacking talent the purchase of Toulalan for €10 million has proved to be inspired. Having spent the previous five years playing for Lyon he was a player who had plenty of European experience and the hunger to compete for more honours encouraged him to take the plunge and move to Spain.
Toulalan had become very well regarded during his time in France and there had been speculation that he would join a Premier League club. He is blessed with wonderful technical ability and the skill to keep the game moving with quick and precise passing. He prefers to manoeuvre the ball with simple and direct passes, which enables his team mates to retain possession whilst also moving further towards the opponent’s goal.
What has made him such an important and influential player though is that he is so good at regaining possession. As well as being a very good tackler, a skill that seems to be scarce in the modern game, he is also blessed with great positional sense which enables him to intercept many of the opponent’s passes. Of all the pre-requisites for being a good defensive midfielder, he ticks almost every box.
His time at Malaga began well and he quickly became a fans favourite at La Rosaleda. Unfortunately for the Frenchman he sustained an injury a couple of months before the end of his first season which meant he watched from the side lines as Malaga secured a place in the Champions League. The expectation was immense as the season ended but nobody quite knew what was going to happen next.
Financial problems rocked the club last summer and many of their key players were sold for a fraction of their value. It was reported more than once that Toulalan may have to leave, but fortunately for the club they managed to retain his services. The new manager, Manuel Pellegrini, has galvanised the players this season and despite being banned from Europe next season this year should be considered a triumph.
Yet again Toulalan has struggled a little with injuries that have kept his minutes in a Malaga shirt this season much lower than it would have been. However, in their key Champions League ties he has been present and his experience and ability were crucial in the side reaching the quarter-finals.
It would be impossible to predict the future of Malaga football club at this current moment but they should ensure Toulalan is there again next season. There are already rumblings in the press that Arsenal could be preparing a bid for the talented midfielder this summer, but he must stay if Malaga are to improve again.
In his brief stay in Spain, he has proved his class and his worth to the club and with some stability the club may finally be able to show their appreciation.
Written by Andy Hunter
Follow Andy on Twitter @hunter67980
Please like O-Posts on Facebook
You can follow O-Posts on Twitter @OPosts