José Bordalás took over a Getafe side languishing in the lower half of Segunda B, Spain’s third tier in 2016/17. Just three years later Bordalás has his side in fourth place in La Liga and in the last 16 of the Europa League. The club from south Madrid welcome Inter Milan to town on March 19 and are having one of their best seasons since they were founded in 1983.
When you go to Getafe’s Coliseum Alfonso Pérez stadium you know what you’re in for; some say it’s like going to the dentist, you really don’t want to go. High pressing, organisation, a compact 4-4-2 system and Marc Cucurella. On loan from Barcelona, Cucurella has been vital to Los Azulones’ success this season, operating in a left-midfield role. Quick, direct, and not afraid to help out defensively, the 21-year-old is a youth product of Barcelona’s La Masia. Those defensive duties come naturally. Until getting loaned to Primera Division side Eibar last season, the long, curly-haired Spaniard was a left-back.
Eibar head coach Jose Luis Mendilibar transformed the player into a left midfielder. “He’s very clever, he chooses well, he’s a great footballer,” Mendilibar said. Bordalás, who turned 56 on Thursday has kept Cucurella on the left of a four-man midfield. Five assists and one goal in La Liga is an improvement on last season’s statistics. A consistent run of form across 25 La Liga appearances and seven European games thus far this season has seen several top clubs across Europe become interested.
Arsenal, Atlético Madrid and Sevilla are among those keeping tabs. Getafe have a plan in place with Barcelona to sign the player on a four-year deal for €6m in the summer for 60% of the players’ rights. Barca will maintain 40% of the rights to maintain a future buy-back clause. It has been reported that Manchester City were interested when Mikel Arteta worked alongside Pep Guardiola. Arteta and Arsenal fans would be getting a different player to what they currently have at the club, bringing versatility down the left side of the pitch. Cucurella can play left-back, left-wing-back and left midfield. Workrate and a left foot that the player himself trusts in, are also strengths.
This season has been instrumental in adding much-needed experience at a crucial stage in his development. Many Barcelona fans would argue he would be a better backup left-back for Jordi Alba than Junior Firpo. Cucurella is going about his business quietly, helping Getafe stay within the Champions League places as well as performing consistently in the league.
Capped for Spain from u16 to u21 level and European experience this season, together with almost two years of regular La Liga action will stand the exciting talent in good stead. With Inter coming to town in March, eyes from around Europe will be on the man from Catalunya making a name for himself in Madrid. From Spain’s third division to the San Siro in just three years has been a wonderful ride for all connected to the club, a ride José Bordalás will be hoping continues with Marc Cucurella.