Another Qatari-backed club, this one seems to be the black sheep of the family after it was reported by Sky Sports that four members of the club filed complaints about wages not being paid.
Of note, the list included Jose Salomon Rondon and Santi Cazorla—two members of Malaga’s squad that seemingly have run afoul on the owners.
While the club itself made a statement—picked up by FIFA—that states the complaints were withdrawn, that does not mean that they are very happy about having this story out in the open.
Players and clubs have broken up for lesser offenses than this, and one wonders how much damage has been done between the two sides.
This is not insignificant, considering that Malaga are a Champions League playoff round away from making the group stage.
Cazorla was one of the hottest men in La Liga last campaign, roaming all over the flanks as Malaga—on the backs of their new found riches—finished fourth.
Able to play from either flank, Cazorla was an impressive player who covered seemingly the entire midfield space every match.
ZonalMarking described Cazorla as such:
Possibly the signing of the season, despite the significant transfer fee. Cazorla swapped Villarreal for Malaga – and as Villarreal went from fourth to 18th, Malaga went from 11th to fourth. He’s not the only reason, of course, as Malaga have shelled out other star names, but his consistency over the course of the season has been highly commendable. He’s not particularly fast and doesn’t score many goals from open play, but his positioning and movement marks him out as one of the most intelligent players around—he’s selfless and precise with his passing, and also one of the best free-kick takers in Europe.
While Cazorla might be older than the typical player the Spurs have been linked to, a player of Cazorla’s caliber is not one that appears on the market often.
If it is reasoned that Malaga would take back what they paid for him, it would be a steal of a deal for Tottenham.
Rondon, meanwhile, was the backup to Ruud Van Nistelrooy for much of the 2011 portion of the campaign.
His production picked up in the 2012 half, scoring nine of his 11 goals in the campaign from late January to the end of the term.
Rondon certainly fits the bill of something that Tottenham need (a forward), and falls more favorably into the Levy model of an up-and-coming player that could be turned later for profit if need be.
The biggest challenge, even with the possibility that relations are strained over the issue of wage payments, is whether or not both would forgo Champions League football.
Malaga are—as Tottenham once were—in the playoff round, so there is no guarantee that they would be in the group stages.
What makes it more difficult for the Spanish outfit is that they will be placed in the non-seeded pool.
All of this speculation, of course, is around the idea that Luka Modric will be sold at some point this summer.
If Modric is not sold, then most of what has already been detailed is a pipe dream, though the odds on Rondon may still be decent even without a sale.
While most of the above has so far been speculated amongst the media, there is yet another player in the Malaga ranks that might just be more valuable than either player mentioned.
Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez—better known as Isco—might be the player that Tottenham really actually need in the chase as a replacement for a departing Luka Modric.
Isco was purchased from Valencia for €6 million last summer and was a mainstay in the starting lineup by October.
Playing primarily as central attacking midfielder, Isco might be a better fit within Andre Villas-Boas’ system.
None of the current club’s players, with possibly the exception of Gylfi Sigurdsson, really play the particular attacking midfield slot that Villas-Boas wants filled.
A transfer under €15 million might be a bargain, depending on how Isco looks at the Olympics in London.
Given Malaga’s rather unnerving inability to get players paid on time, money coming into the club might ease the pressure on the Andalucían outfit.
Whether or not Tottenham can help alleviate their burden (and help themselves to some quality players) remains to be seen.