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Valencia name Neville as assistant and line up Bakkali on a Bosman

| 06.07.2015

It’s finally been confirmed that Valencia, 66/1 shots with Coral to win La Liga, have appointed former Manchester United player and ex-Everton captain Phil Neville as head coach Nuno Espirito Santo’s new assistant.

Neville, who served as a member of current Real Sociedad boss David Moyes’ backroom staff during his ill-fated spell at Old Trafford, replaces Ian Cathro as Mestalla number two after the Scot moved to Newcastle United to work under Steve McClaren.

“I see it as another A-level on my coaching curriculum vitae,” Neville said of his appointment. “I’ve coached at Manchester United, I’m doing my UEFA Pro-Licence and now this is like a bonus. It was a once in a lifetime phone-call.”

Bats investor Peter Lim owns a stake in Salford City FC alongside Neville and other members of Man Utd’s legendary ‘class of 1992’ that became known as Fergie’s fledglings.

It is Neville’s first coaching appointment abroad, though he has also worked with England youth teams at international tournaments.

Valencia have also been busy in the transfer market, signing Spanish starlet striker Santi Mina from Celta Vigo and are set to add Belgium cap Zakaria Bakkali on a free. The teenage talent has been released from Dutch Eredivisie champions PSV Eindhoven, and Los Che appear to have beaten La Liga rivals Sevilla to him.

Diminutive winger Bakkali, 19, was frozen out of the Lightbulbs first-team, missing out on their domestic title triumph completely under Phillip Cocu.

In other Bats business, club captain Dani Parejo, who spent time on loan at QPR in 2008, has extended his stay at the Mestalla until the summer of 2020.

Soccer - La Liga - Valencia FC v UD Almeria - Mestalla Stadium

“This is one of the happiest days of my life,” 26-year-old Parejo said. “This was what I wanted. Everybody knew this and I was always confident that we would reach an agreement. I have always said that there is no other club at which I could be happier.

“I feel very happy and I identify strongly with Valencia. All that remains is to thank the club and the fans for their faith in me.

“We have a great team and we all identify with the club. The project is more solid every day since Peter Lim has arrived and, with Nuno as manager and the squad that we have, we can be optimistic about the future.”

Provided Nuno and Neville can mastermind victory in the Champions League play-offs come August, Los Che are 50/1 chances to win Europe’s elite club competition.

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Jamie Clark

Athletics aficionado, die-hard snooker fan and Crystal Palace supporter Jamie has written for Coral since February 2014 after spells with Soccerlens and the Press Association as a digital journalist and copywriter. A former East Midlands sports correspondent and Bwin tipster, he is a graduate of both the University of York and University of Sheffield, with a Masters in web journalism from the latter.