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Founded in 1923, Elche became a part of the Spanish football league system in 1929 and is yet to win a major trophy. The club’s most significant accomplishments are becoming Copa del Rey runner-ups in 1969 and winning the Segunda Division on two occasions – in 1959 and 2013. Nicknamed Los Franjiverdes have spent 22 seasons playing in La Liga, with 17 of them being during their’ most glamorous period – the ‘60s and ‘70s. Elche’s best league finish in any of those 22 Primera Division campaigns is 5th spot.
At the beginning of the last season, Elche won promotion to its country's top flight in the most incredible fashion. Despite finishing 6th in the Segunda with just a point above, Rayo Vallecano and Fuenlabrada Los Ilicitanos won the promotion playoffs and were awarded the opportunity to play in La Liga.
Elche Transfers and rumours
Nino from Real Madrid U19 on a free transfer in 1997 – Being deemed not at Los Blancos' level, Nino moved to Elche in search of playtime and helped the club get promoted from the Tercera Division. He came under the spotlight in the campaign of 2004/2005 with 20 scored goals and later in 2006 finished a move to top-flight side Levante for £1.5 Million. At this point, Nino had already amassed over 270 appearances for Elche's senior squad and B-team. He went on to play for several Spanish sides before returning in 2016. Nino’s scored the late goal that won the Segunda Division promotion playoffs in 2020, becoming a hero for Elche.
Willy Caballero from Boca Juniors for £700.000 in 2004 – Los Ilicitanos are credited with shining light on the Argentinian goalkeeping prospect back at the beginning of the 21st century. Caballero had spent three years with Boca Juniors but struggled to earn his starting spot. Joining Elche in 2004, another season was required to pass before Caballero became the first-choice goalkeeper. The Argentinian made five short of 200 appearances for the Spanish side before being bought by Malaga in 2011. Unfortunately, Elche couldn't make a serious profit from selling the keeper as the sum agreed upon was £900,000. Caballero went on to play for Malaga for four years before moving on to the Premier League with Manchester City and Chelsea.
Jonathas from Pescara for £1.5 Million in 2015 – Jonathas made his debut for Elche a year before he was bought by them – in 2014 when he was on a season-long loan with the Spanish side. In his first year, he totaled 34 appearances and netted 14 times. For Elche, the transfer of Jonathas was a business done right. Los Franjiverdes bought the striker on July 1st, 2015, following the end of his loan with them. He didn't last in the club for even a month, though. Real Sociedad were bitter that they lost the race for the Brazilian's signature to Elche, and kept on pursuing him. Elche finally agreed to let him go on July 27th, the same year, for the sum of £7.20. The Spanish side's investment grew by nearly 500% in less than four weeks.
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