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Claramunt exclusive: Valencia right to sell Parejo for Soler to become new leader

Valencia legend Pep Claramunt has backed Dani Parejo's exit from club, believing it could allow Carlos Soler to prosper at the Mestalla.

Los Che captain Parejo and Francis Coquelin were controversially sold to nearby Villarreal a fortnight ago.

The move was part of clear-out from owner Peter Lim, who is looking to reduce his wage bill this summer.

It was a bitter end to a nine-year stint at Valencia for Parejo, who admitted after the move that he was forced out against his will, stating: "I've felt hurt and sad by the situation for two days. I've always said that my intention was to retire at Valencia."

But at 31 years of age, club hero Claramunt believes the Spaniard was declining in his output for Los Che, especially after Marcelino was replaced by Albert Celades as manager late last year.

"Parejo had some great years at Valencia under Marcelino. He was a manager who just knew how to get the best of Parejo as a footballer," the former Spain international told

"Dani Parejo was the director of the team with his effective pause on the ball, special vision and intelligent passing.

"However, under the new manager Celades, Parejo's style didn't really fit the aims of the manager and Parejo's leadership waned as the team went off the boil and Valencia's midfield lacked the speed and intensity needed as the season progressed and vital points were lost.

"As he got older, Parejo's level went down and the style of the team changed too. Change is not always a bad thing in football, especially when a team needs a different style of playing football to get the right results on the pitch."

The benefit of moving on Parejo belongs to Carlos Soler, according to Claramunt.

Soler, 23, is one of the club's prized assets after coming through the academy, with the likes of Arsenal linked with his signature.

And the Spain U21 international - who has been likened to Claramunt, a star midfielder for Valencia in the 1960's and 1970's - in Parejo's absence will now become a lynchpin for new boss Javi Garcia.

"Carlos Soler is another player with an extraordinary amount of promise," Claramunt added.

"With Parejo in midfield, Soler wasn't really playing in his ideal position as they had him out on the wing. Now that Parejo has gone, I'm hoping that Carlos Soler will have the courage to show more personality and become more of a leader in midfield.

"He has a great shot from outside the box and is a great passer, playing behind the forwards. He is strong on the counter-attack and is good at getting back to defend too and has great vision and is also good with possession. Let's see if he is capable of assuming his new responsibility, which will be to lead the team.

"A change of style from last season could be good for Valencia…with a return to the more traditional values of Valencia CF of being strong in defence and more counter-attacking style of football.

"Over the years, Valencia CF and Atlético Madrid have never been bothered about trying to imitate playing at the level of Real Madrid or Barcelona, which is just not possible. So… they use "their weapons" that they have, to get the result they need against those giants of Spanish and World football, which includes swift counter-attacks and having a really solid defence."

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Will McCarthy

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