Valencia president holds clear-the-air talks with first team captains

Valencia president Anil Murthy holds clear-the-air talks with first team captains in bid to build ‘togetherness’ and ‘unity’ following sale of Geoffrey Kondogbia… who accused club chief of ‘destroying an ambitious project’

  • Valencia’s first team captains sat down with president Anil Murthy on Thursday 
  • The four players had a ‘relaxed’ chat as they cleared the air with the club chief
  • Murthy has been keen to establish a togetherness before facing Real Madrid
  • Geoffrey Kondogbia accused Murthy of ‘destroying an ambitious project’
  • Mass sales, due to impact of the pandemic, saw established players leave

Valencia president Anil Murthy offered the four first team captains to speak their mind in a clear-the-air meeting ahead of facing Real Madrid.

Javi Gracia’s side has seen a number of established players depart this summer as the LaLiga side adapt to the financial implications of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Geoffrey Kondogbia was the latest high-profile exit this week, leaving to join Atletico Madrid, and Murthy, who was accused by Kondogbia of ‘destroying an ambitious project’, has looked to wipe the slate clean ahead of a visit from Zinedine Zidane’s side. 

Valencia captains José Luis Gayà (middle) and Jaume Domènech were among four players to sit down with president Anil Murthy on Thursday (seen with ambassador Miguel Tendillo)

Valencia president Anil Murthy (centre right) wanted to forge ‘unity’ with the playing squad

Gracia’s side have four players as a captain’s committee: José Luis Gayà, Jaume Domènech, Carlos Soler and Gabriel Paulista. 

All four met with Murthy on Thursday prior to training to discuss their feelings about the change and the mood in the squad.  

Sportsmail understands Murthy was complimentary about the group’s determination against Getafe, where a penalty by Soler in the 100th minute salvaged a point in a frantic 2-2 draw. 

Carlos Soler (right) has emerged from the academy and was a key part of talks on Thursday

Former Arsenal defender Gabriel (right) is one of the four captains for manager Javi Gracia

Along with a sit down alongside Murthy, the four captains also took time to discuss the current squad and what the club means with ambassadors Ricardo Arias, Miguel Tendillo and Miguel Ángel Bossio. 

Valencia are 13th in LaLiga currently, level on points with Barcelona, with eight points from eight games.

Three wins in their last four games caused concern for such a young squad but Murthy reiterated in the meeting that he has every faith in the players moving forward for the remainder of the season.

Frustration grew this summer with four big sales bringing in just £54million. 

Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin went to Villarreal, Rodrigo Moreno moved to Leeds and Ferran Torres joined Manchester City. 

Kondogbia went public with his annoyance and was subsequently sold after meetings with the captains and Gracia failed to convince the midfielder to stay.  

‘Having already destroyed an ambitious project, you had to deceive your coach and, finally, me. Thank you, Anil Murthy,’ the former Inter and Monaco midfielder posted to his Instagram stories. 

Geoffrey Kondogbia was frustrated that Valencia have failed to provide any reinforcements

Atletico Madrid announced the arrival of Kondogbia after his Valencia exit was sanctioned

Last month, Gracia, who arrived in the summer but has already held crisis talks with his president, said: ‘I can see the squad just as everybody else can. It’s been weakened because of the departures. 

‘I have the hope that the reinforcements that were promised to me will come, but no one has arrived.’ 

But after the draw with Getafe, coupled with the impressive performances of players from the academy, there is growing optimism at the Mestalla that they can be successful with a tight-knit group in 2019-20.

The purpose of Thursday’s meetings was to reinforce the togetherness that Gracia and Murthy are looking to forge with so much change on and off the pitch this year.

Gracia’s side now prepare to face Real Madrid at the Mestalla on Sunday evening.  

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