5 Transfers Which Could Shift the La Liga Power Balance Next Season
Neymar. Gareth Bale. We've heard all about them haven't we? The Brazilian's signed for Barcelona seven times already and Tottenham's Welsh international has representatives dining with Florentino Perez most weeks these days.
Even Neymar's fed up of the questions (via Marca).
But away from the circus surrounding those two transfers, are there any other potential moves which could shift the balance of power in Spain next season?
The following slides will take a look at five transfers which at some point have been mentioned, speculated or rumored in the press.
Some of these have a lot more substance to them than others, so don't get too angry. I'm thinking of one in particular...
1. Mats Hummels to Barcelona
Borussia Dormund and Germany's center-back Mats Hummels is the latest defender to be linked with a move to Camp Nou (via Marca).
Reports this week suggested he was in talks with the Catalan club, but his father denied that any move was that far advanced.
Barca fans cite examples in house—Marc Bartra, Marc Muniesa, Andreu Fontas and Sergi Gomez—but the truth is to maintain strength in defense next season they will have to outsource.
Hummels adds top-level experience and would likely forge a partnership with Gerard Pique which would add the defensive wow factor to a team where it has often lacked this season.
If it's not to be Hummels, a list drawn up by Barcelona-based newspaper Mundo Deportivo suggests Vincent Kompany, Marquinhos and Inigo Martinez are among the alternatives:
Barcelona centre back options: Hummels, Kompany, David Luiz, Vertonghen, Vermaelen, Agger, Inigo Martinez, Marquinhos, Rakitskiy [md]— barcastuff (@barcastuff) March 28, 2013
2. Radamel Falcao to England
Believe it or not, any potential exit for Radamel Falcao this summer could lead to Atletico Madrid becoming stronger.
It's unknown how much money they would get—due to the Colombian's third-party ownership—but the early rumors suggest it would be enough to still be a force next season; perhaps even closing the gap on the apex predators further.
The exciting young Brazilian Leo Baptistao from Rayo Vallecano is supposedly already a done deal, according to AS (via SoccerNews.com), but there is no official word from either club.
Another Brazilian, Diego Costa, is already emerging as a major player at the Vicente Calderon. Meanwhile, Valencia's Roberto Soldado—a proven goalscorer in La Liga—is also rumored to interest Diego Simeone. Tottenham are also interested, though (via Metro).
Los Rojiblancos have a history of losing forwards—Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero, Diego Forlan. It doesn't have to be the end of the world.
3. Sergio Busquets to Real Madrid
Don't take this one too seriously guys, but wow, if this ever happened it wouldn't just shift the balance but completely confuse it.
Marca have also run stories in the past of how Los Blancos would be prepared to break the bank for the defensive midfielder.
The major sticking point, of course, is perhaps Busquets' obvious reluctance to leave Barca—especially for their fiercest rivals.
Perhaps Ramos to Camp Nou makes more sense? He could get some advice from Luis Enrique...
4. Iago Aspas to Valencia
Valencia are in no position to throw their money about despite having seemingly fallen behind Atletico Madrid in Spain's "other league."
But if they invest wisely, especially if they get some cash for Roberto Soldado this summer, then they could recapture their crown.
Iago Aspas is their No. 1 target and Los Che would appear intent on getting him through the door at the Mestalla.
There's something about the Celta Vigo forward that suggests he would be a success, like David Villa was, but with more attitude.
Throw him alongside a blossoming Sofiane Feghouli and Valencia could have the makings of a forward line to bring back the days of Villa and David Silva.
5. Edinson Cavani to Real Madrid
If Real Madrid were a girl in a bar, Edinson Cavani would not have taken his eyes off her. Not once.
Barely a week goes by when he doesn't flutter his eyelashes at Los Blancos, offering a backhanded comment somewhere in the midst of a rejection of a move to England.
Madrid look set to lose the title they fought so hard to win back last season, and it is suggested a lick of paint is needed to shift the power back again.
It is speculated that neither Karim Benzema nor Gonzalo Higuain are safe from the chop and Cavani's goals could help them cut the lead Barcelona have established this season.