The Bargains Left in La Liga

Guillem BalagueFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2013

The Bargains Left in La Liga

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    With a whole host of Spain’s most talented footballers plying their trade in it (25 so far, maybe more to come), the Spanish invasion of the Premiership, exacerbated by a severe downturn in the country’s economy, continues unabated. And it’s not just the departure of stellar performers like Spanish internationals Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo from Sevilla to Manchester City and Roberto Soldado from Valencia to Spurs that have grabbed all the headlines.

    Last year saw a tall Asturian from Oviedo named Miguel Perez Cuesta slip quietly into Swansea, en route from Rayo Vallecano, for a giveaway £2 million. Michu, as he is known, then proceeded to take the Premier League by storm and in the process raise eyebrows at every club from top to bottom.

    The penny—or rather, the Euro—dropped. With many Spanish clubs in financial disarray, it was quite clear that there were some bargains to be had in the land of the costas, that wouldn’t cost a packet.

    And now with just 13 shopping days left in this transfer window, some of the clubs from about sixth downwards in the Premiership could do a lot worse than look at some of the potential bargain buys available in Iberia (Vicente Guaita, at £17, is not necessarily a bargain, is it?). There are not many leftmost are either too young and risky, or do not fit the Premier League. 

    Here’s a list of my seven potential bargains.

Denis Cheryshev

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    At just 22 years old, the Russian-born son of former Sporting Gijon player Dmitri Cheryshev is a product of the Real Madrid academy and has played no fewer than 104 games for the Real Madrid B side, scoring 22 goals.

    A fast winger, many also believe he could have potential as a fast left-back. Real rate him very highly but he is unlikely to get a chance in the first team. He could, however, be a valuable investment and a regular starter for a mid-to-bottom Premiership club. In fact, €3 million could see him tempted away from the Santiago Bernabeu.

Pablo Piatti

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    A product of the Estudiantes youth scheme, this smart, fast, diminutive Argentinian winger can play on either flank or behind the striker—and he could also do a job for any mid-to-bottom Premiership side.

    He is presently at Valencia, where he hasn’t really made an impact since his €7.5 million move from Almeria, where he played 101 games and scored 20 goals. At just 24 years old, there’s still plenty left in the tank and an offer somewhere in the €3-4 million range could see him on his way. 

Alvaro Vázquez

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    At just 22 years old, this Catalan model centre-forward has bags of potential for any club in the Premiership from sixth down to last. He came through with Barcelona-based club Espanyol, with whom he made 60 first-team appearances and scored 10 goals, before moving to Getafe in 2012 where he has featured 29 times and scored four goals.

    He’s strong in the box, a good finisher and excellent at holding the ball up. The Madrid side has Dani Guiza and Adrian Colunga available up front, and therefore might consider offers for the player.

    With Getafe somewhat optimistically rumoured to be sniffing around Real striker Alvaro Morata, somewhere in the order of €5 million could see him on his way.

Jesús Gámez

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    Andalusian born and bred, this former Malaga captain could be a great buy for any club outside the top four in the Premiership.

    Born in Fuengirola, this right-sided defender has been at Malaga since he was 15, playing no fewer than 238 games since he made the first team in 2005.

    With this present Malaga in total disarray and seemingly everything up for sale, the 28-year-old offensive defender could be a snip at €4 million. 

Sergio Sánchez

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    Barcelona-born Sergio Sanchez is another Malaga defender who could well find himself the target of a number of Premiership club.

    The tall 27-year-old defender has played 37 times for a Malaga side he joined from Sevilla in 2011 for €2.8 million, and there’s nothing to suggest that an offer of similar proportions wouldn’t tempt the cash-strapped club to release him to a Premiership club in a mid-to-bottom position.

Francisco Casilla

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    Francisco Casilla, more commonly known as Kiko, has faced a constant battle for the starting goalkeeper’s jersey with Cristian Alvarez. He got a run in the first team for about a year when Alvarez was injured.

    A tall keeper with great reflexes, he could do a great job for any Premiership side, including Arsenal. A sum of €5 million could well be enough to persuade the powers that be to release him.

Wakaso Mubarak

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    The occasionally wayward, short-fused, but extremely talented 23-year-old Ghanain Wakaso Mubarak, currently playing at Espanyol, could be a tremendous buy for many Premiership clubs.

    With rumours of Rubin Kazan sniffing around him, they might do well to act sooner rather than later.

    Already established as a Ghanain international, he has played for his country 11 times, scoring seven goals. Wakaso has played in Spain since he was 18, starting with Elche before being released by the club in January 2011 for breaches of club discipline.

    Villarreal took him into their B side and then the first team where he made 17 appearances before moving to Espanyol. At €6 million, he could be a talent worth taking a chance on.