Feghouli: I always wanted to stay
Valencia midfielder Sofiane Feghouli says he had other offers but was always keen to sign the new long-term contract that ties him to the club until 2016.
Feghouli, 23, joined Valencia from Grenoble in 2010, and has since established himself as a key member of the Los Che squad, with six goals in 22 appearances so far this season. He ended months of speculation of a move to big-spending Paris Saint-Germain by putting pen to paper on Thursday.
The France-born Algeria international told a press conference on Friday morning that he had never seriously considered leaving a club and league which suited his own style of play.
“There was interest from another club, but my concern has always been with Valencia,” Feghouli said. “At no moment did I want to leave Valencia - I am at one of the best clubs in the world, the third in La Liga. The football in this league fits perfectly with my style, and I have everything here to grow at Valencia. I am very happy here.”
Feghouli, who revealed he had tried to postpone his departure for the African Nations Cup in order to play in Saturday’s Primera Division visit to Granada, said he had always been fully committed to Valencia.
“I have enough problems on the pitch, so I leave the rest to my agent,” he said. “I work for the present and to improve. I do not see myself away from Valencia. I do the most I can to help the club.”
With Feghouli’s contract situation sorted, attention has turned in Valencia to the future of Fernando Gago, whose former club Boca Juniors are reportedly keen on bringing the midfielder back to Argentina.
Gago, who did not comment on the speculation while he spent Christmas in Buenos Aires, has not been named in Valencia’s squad for the clash with Granada as he continues to be troubled by a thigh muscle problem.
Valencia coach Ernesto Valverde told reporters on Friday that he had hoped to have the deep-lying playmaker available this weekend but his future was not up for discussion.
“I thought he would be a bit better, but he is within the expected recovery time,” Valverde said. “I notice that since I arrived there have been many questions about Gago in every press conference, not questions about football. I speak to him about football and what he can bring to us. He is our player and I am counting on him.”
Valverde, who was appointed last month on a short-term deal to see out the current season, said he did not expect much business at Mestalla this January.
“We have to get the most out of the squad that we have,” he said. “I do not believe it is good for the coach to go asking for reinforcements.”
Asked about a tough opening to 2013 that sees Los Che face both Real Madrid and Barcelona in the coming weeks, Valverde said he was presently more concerned with the Granada trip and then the Copa del Rey last-16 second leg at home to Osasuna next Tuesday evening.
"It is true that we are soon taking on some very powerful opponents, but before that we have Granada and Osasuna," he said. “Three points would be marvellous.”