All but two La Liga teams are penniless and are sniffing abound for freebies and loan deals for their new signings. This sees selecting gold-plated, stomach-tingling summer transfers being a bit of a tough affair. However there are four standout candidates from the close season so far that have been ranked in order of genius using a complex formula of bias, quality, potential impact and most importantly of all, value.
If Madrid did not activate a buy-back clause on the former youth teamer who spent a glorious year in the Bundesliga, then club president Florentino Perez would have had a serious pitchfork-waving revolt on his hands. The right-back berth was the weak spot for the Spanish side for the whole of the past season. First choice player, Alvaro Arbeloa is solid but limited in terms of offensive play. Sergio Ramos is best left in the centre of defence. Even Michael Essien, Fabio Coentrao and Jose Callejon got a go on the flank last year. And that really cannot be a good thing.
In bringing Carvajal back from Germany, Madrid have brought in a potential fixture in the full-back position for the next ten years—a 21-year-old defender who is not the tallest but who possesses speed, attacking ability and boundless energy to run up and down the touchline all day. It’s a move that could turn out to be a bargain in a decade’s time for Real Madrid.
The Brazilian youngster is by no means a replacement for the departed Falcao and the forward’s billions of goals. However, the purchase sees a touch of flair and quality being added to the Atletico squad. Whilst Diego Costa and a big name striker to come will lead the line, Baptistao will offer much needed goalscoring assistance to the club in a long campaign that sees the return of Champions League football to the Vicente Calderón.
The twenty-year-old is not exactly prolific with just seven league goals scored last season, and recently broke a collarbone. Nevertheless, the former has sublime skills when required and the ability to pull off the remarkable against hardened defenses.
There are those who may declare this to be the swoop of the summer and that absolute madness has been written. After all, this is the most in-demand footballer on the planet who will add even more attacking magic to an already outstanding forward line for Barcelona. But, this grump goat of a column is very much in the wait-and-see camp with the Zlatan Ibrahimovic disaster still fresh in the memory.
The open questions of a very expensive deal for Barcelona have already been much mulled over. Will La Liga be too aggressive for the Brazilian? Is Neymar merely a YouTube footballer? Can the forward ever fit into to Barcelona’s passing scheme and can the incoming upstart and Leo Messi ever be friends. For these reasons, Neymar is certainly the most spectacular signing not just in La Liga but the world this summer, but this jury is still out on whether it is the best.
4 - Javi Fuego: Rayo Vallecano to Valencia (free transfer)
Whilst Rayo Vallecano’s successful survival bids have been lead by the goals of Michu, Diego Costa and Piti over the past two seasons, the Madrid club would have been sunk without Javi Fuego. The 29-year-old Asturian has spent three years in the Republic of Vallecas doing the dirty work for the team, by sniffing out any danger coming from midfield and dealing with the peril in a no-nonsense fashion. It is no wonder that Valencia have moved for the midfielder who was out of contract with Rayo as the replacement for David Albelda and a potential candidate to anchor the Mestalla midfield.
Sevilla have picked up a good deal with signing the previously on-loan goalkeeper, Beto, for €2 million to replace the departing veteran Andres Palop. Nelson Valdez is a handy squad filler up front for Valencia at the cost of €3 million. Betis have also made an intriguing signing in recruiting Cedric from Numancia for the very specific value of €1.21.