Heavy artillery for the ascent Keita Baldé Fran Garagarza

Keita Baldé (Arbúcies, 1995) was 16 years old when he left Barcelona.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
04 September 2023 Monday 11:10
3 Reads
Heavy artillery for the ascent Keita Baldé Fran Garagarza

Keita Baldé (Arbúcies, 1995) was 16 years old when he left Barcelona. Barça had loaned him to Cornellà for bad behaviour. Some ice cubes in a colleague's bed were to blame. That young adventurer and eminently rebellious never wanted to return to the Masia and left for Lazio. There he exploded and became the star he promised, but later that brilliance faded until he signed for Monaco for 30 million euros. There he began a journey through four different teams until he landed again in Cornellà this same week, but this time in Espanyol.

"I am very happy to be here, to help the team. I wanted to go home and be with my people," said the winger, who can also play as an offensive reference, in his presentation. "It is also the feeling of my family. I left here at the age of 16 and never had the concrete possibility to return. I had it this year and I took advantage of it. Now you have to think about the field and play football. To fight to achieve the goal we want", assured the striker of Senegalese origin.

He has only been at the club for a week, arriving on loan with an option to buy, but Baldé is clear that he wants to continue for a long time. "I will do everything possible to stay. Espanyol is a First Division club and this (being in the Second Division) will be temporary. I came because I believe that this is where I can find my best version, it is a perfect project for me and I hope to achieve stability there".

Baldé arrived at the club after an express negotiation in which he put a lot on his part to be able to dress in white-and-blue. "Negotiations are never easy. We started a week or a week and a half ago. Espanyol wanted it and I wanted it even more. My only goal was to come here. Many great things can be done", he wished.

Along with him, Ramón Ramos was introduced, a Brazilian left back who also arrives on loan, but without an option to buy from Olympiakos. In his debut against Amorebieta at the weekend, Ramos made a fantastic impression in the stands, going so far as to whistle at a teammate who didn't give him the ball. "I saw up close the heat of the fans, I know they were chanting my name and it did surprise me. But I want to continue working." Also in the case of Ramos, it was his interest in wearing the shirt that led him to play at the Stage Front Stadium. "When I heard about the club's interest, I jumped and told my agent 'when am I going there?' Last year I asked Vini Souza about it and he explained to me that it was a great club. They all speak very well of Espanyol", he assured.

After them, Fran Garagarza, sporting director, and Mao Ye, general manager, took stock of the transfer market, in which Espanyol made more than 35 million in six sales: César Montes (14), Darder (8 ), Simo Keddari (4.5), Luca Koleosho (3), Vilhena (3), Víctor Gómez (2), Dimata (1.5). And he has added four players for just over three million, two of them owned: Pere Milla (2.5) and Salvi Sánchez (700,000).

The sporting director said he was "satisfied" after a "demanding, long and satisfying" market. "We believe we have everything we need to achieve the goal. We are proud of the staff and their involvement. We achieved what we set out to do from day one." In addition, he congratulated himself on having achieved "six very good sales, because they have generated very good capital gains for the club, which were very necessary". Finally, faced with the possibility of incorporating another player in the center of the field, Garagarza did not deny the possibility, although he made it clear that there were no "profiles to strengthen. It's a top-level squad," he concluded.