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Marc Roca and Wu Lei were relegated from La Liga with Espanyol on Wednesday night, with the reported Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers targets failing to inspire a remarkable result in the Catalan derby.

In truth, The Parakeets had their wings clipped long before that make-or-break clash at the Camp Nou.

The 2019/20 campaign has been an unmitigated disaster from start to finish.

Espanyol qualified for the Europa League via a seventh-place finish last year but, after accumulating five wins and four managers over the last 11 months, they had been hanging onto their top-flight status by their fingernails for a while now.

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Thanks to a Luis Suarez strike in a game that was far more hard-fought than anyone might have anticipated, Espanyol have now been condemned to second division football for the first time since 1994.

As a result, any hopes they had of keeping two of their key players at the RCDE Stadium have surely gone up in smoke.

Sport claimed in June that Roca, a classy, deep-lying midfielder in the Sergio Busquetts mould, has an offer on the table from Arsenal.

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With AC Milan, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich also linked with the £36 million Spain U21 star, it seems that he has managed to survive a nightmare campaign with his reputation completely intact.

Declan Rice, another overworked ‘number six’ who is battling against the drop despite some fine individual displays, must know exactly how Roca feels.

Wolves, meanwhile, may be tempted to firm up their interest in long-standing transfer target Wu Lei, after Marca reported in May that the China international still has admirers at Molineux.

However, speaking to Xinhuanet recently, Wu Lei suggested that he would not be so quick to jump from a sinking ship.

“To avoid relegation, we have to give it all, which will put immense mental and physical pressure on us,” he says.

“If Espanyol needs me, and I’m capable of making contributions to the team, I will choose to stay.”

Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

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