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Ranking the Top 20 La Liga Transfers in the January Window

Paul WilkesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2014

Ranking the Top 20 La Liga Transfers in the January Window

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    Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

    The economic crisis within Spain is just as prevalent with their football clubs as it is the rest of the country.

    Outside Real Madrid and Barcelona, no one in La Liga has any money, and they have mountains of debt to service.

    The "big two" don't tend to do much business in January, with the Galactico signings saved for the summer months and for maximum exposure.

    As a consequence, there have been no arrivals or departures at the Camp Nou or the Bernabeu this month.

    Any transfers at the other clubs will usually be offset by a large sale of a star player. Loans are especially important for the progress of young players and to fill gaps in squads with a minimum budget.

    Here is a list of the 20 top transfers this winter, including both loans and permanent deals.

     

    Unless stated otherwise, additional information was sourced from Wikipedia.

20. Philippe Senderos (Fulham to Valencia)

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    Sang Tan/Associated Press

    Philippe Senderos was getting regular starts for London club Fulham, so this move on a free transfer came as a bit of a surprise.

    The Swiss centre-back was highly rated as a youngster and has featured for a number of top sides including Arsenal, AC Milan and Everton.

    He is not the quickest and could get caught out in a high defensive line, but the change of scenery might do him some good.

19. Mohamed Sissoko (Unemployed to Levante)

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    FERNANDO BUSTAMANTE/Associated Press

    The former Liverpool midfielder hasn't been the same player since he suffered an eye injury in a match against Benfica.

    In addition to the Anfield club, Sissoko has also played for Juventus, PSG and Fiorentina.

    He returns to east Spain after a successful spell at Valencia under Rafa Benitez, where he won the league title.

18. Antonio Adan (Cagliari to Real Betis)

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    Peter Dejong/Associated Press

    The former Real Madrid No. 2 has seen his career nose dive since Jose Mourinho put him on the same pedestal as Iker Casillas.

    Adan lasted just six months in Italy, and a return to La Liga was best for all parties concerned.

    At 26, he needs regular appearances, and he will certainly get that at struggling Real Betis.

17. Nordin Amrabat (Galatasaray to Malaga)

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    The Morocco international has joined on loan until the end of the season.

    Amrabat did spend time as a youngster at Ajax before injury problems saw him move on.

    The Galatasaray winger has not featured much under Roberto Mancini, and he is still to show the form that saw him score regularly when at smaller sides.

16. Javi Acuna (Watford to Osasuna)

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    Alvaro Barrientos/Associated Press

    The Paraguayan first moved to Spain at the age of 16 to play in Cadiz's youth ranks.

    Javi Acuna spent five years at Real Madrid, but he never got to pull on the famous white shirt in a first-team match.

    Signed by Udinese, he left after only a few weeks to sister club Watford on a three-year contract.

15. Pablo Perez (Newell's Old Boys to Malaga)

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    Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press

    Malaga shop in a different market than a couple of years ago, but they are very astute with their purchases.

    The Argentine midfielder is another from the Rosario production line.

    Pablo Perez has already won over the fans, providing the assist after coming on as a substitute in the derby win over Sevilla.

14. Joan Roman (Barcelona B to Villarreal)

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    The winger returned to Catalonia 18 months ago, after a three-year spell with Manchester City.

    This is a good opportunity for Joan Roman to get first-team football in the top flight, with a club that has European aspirations.

    Capable of playing anywhere behind a striker, his clever movement and tricks are a joy to watch.

13. Borja Lopez (Monaco to Rayo Vallecano)

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    Lionel Cironneau/Associated Press

    The Spanish centre-back left Sporting Gijon last summer to join big-spending Monaco.

    At 20, Borja Lopez should get some valuable minutes on the pitch and enable another young loan star, Saul Niguez, the opportunity to move back into midfield.

    Lopez will be aware that, playing in his home country, he will attract the attention of the big guns should he not fancy a return to France.

12. Tiago Ilori (Liverpool to Granada)

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    Gero Breloer/Associated Press

    The Portuguese defender joined Liverpool last summer as they fended off interest from Tottenham Hotspur, as reported by the Daily Mail.

    Born in London, the English FA has held talks with Tiago Ilori over switching nationality according to the Telegraph's Chris Bascombe.

    As a left-sided centre-back, a loan move was for the best with Daniel Agger and Mamadou Sakho both blocking his path on Merseyside.

11. Samuele Longo (Inter to Rayo Vallecano)

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    Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

    One of the stars on the Next Generation Series, the striker has spent his career moving around on loan.

    Scoring goals has been a problem for Rayo Vallecano, so the youngster will add something different.

    Longo's best form to date was at Espanyol, when Mauricio Pochettino was in charge, making him familiar with Paco Jemez's style.

10. Ruben Rochina (Blackburn to Rayo Vallecano)

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    Sang Tan/Associated Press

    The former Barcelona starlet joined Blackburn Rovers on transfer deadline day in January 2011.

    Rochina may only be 22, but he has already been relegated twice, once with the Lancashire club and the other time with Real Zaragoza.

    That's not a good omen for Rayo, but his versatility in attacking areas will be important during the run-in.

9. Welliton (Spartak Moscow to Celta Vigo)

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    Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press

    Welliton has been at Spartak for six-and-a-half years, though the Brazilian forward has spent time on loan back in his native country.

    In both 2009 and 2010, he was top scorer in Russia and averages better than a goal every two matches.

    Injuries have caused his problems, but he could be a pivotal player for Luis Enrique's team.

8. Eduardo Vargas (Napoli to Valencia)

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    Salvatore Laporta/Associated Press

    The Chilean has huge potential, but he is yet to demonstrate this inside Europe.

    In Spain, the adaptation should be easier off the pitch, where he can speak his native language, while his silky skills on the wing could be a huge boost to Valencia.

    Vargas is 24 years old, and a run in the team will give him a chance to show he is ready for the big time.

7. Oliver Torres (Atletico Madrid to Villarreal)

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    Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

    The floppy-haired playmaker has made a number of appearances for Atletico in the past two years.

    It's a good move by Diego Simeone to send Torres out on loan so he can develop as a player without the pressure of a mistake costing title-chasing Atletico a trophy.

    A future international, a number of Europe's finest clubs were keeping tabs on the 19-year-old according to the Daily Mail's Simon Jones in the summer.

6. Leo Baptistao (Atletico Madrid to Real Betis)

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    The striker hasn't featured much this campaign due to the impressive form of Diego Costa and David Villa.

    With injuries this season, Real Betis are in need of goals, and the youngster could be the man to provide them.

5. Sergio Canales (Valencia to Real Sociedad)

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    Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

    It's easy to forget that Sergio Canales is only 22, as he made his debut five-and-a-half years ago.

    The youngster has been very unlucky with injuries, and, providing he can stay fit, he will be a great asset to La Real.

    Signed to a four-year contract, the Basques will be hoping he makes more than the 53 appearances he compiled in the past four years.

4. Jose Sosa (Metalist to Atletico Madrid)

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    The much-travelled Argentine is now in his fifth country as a player.

    Having played for Bayern Munich, Napoli and with 19 caps for his nation, Sosa has plenty of experience.

    Simeone has already thrown his fellow countryman into some matches, and he will be a useful resource between now and May.

3. Sammir (Dinamo Zagreb to Getafe)

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    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    Jorge Sammir Cruz Campos, a.k.a. Sammir, was born in Brazil but plays his international football for Croatia.

    He has spent the past seven years at Dinamo Zagreb and was an integral part of the team that won the league every season in that time.

    A regular goalscorer, the attacking midfielder played in all his side's Champions League games last term.

2. Seydou Keita (Dalian Aerbin to Valencia)

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    MANU FERNANDEZ/Associated Press

    The former Barcelona midfielder provided much-needed power for Pep Guardiola in the middle of the park when tiki-taka proved fruitless.

    As a box-to-box midfielder, Keita adds drive and verve to proceedings.

    After a year in China, he returns to La Liga on a six-month contract with the option for a further year.

1. Diego (Wolfsburg to Atletico Madrid)

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    Daniel Ochoa de Olza/Associated Press

    The Brazilian has failed to settle anywhere since leaving Werder Bremen in 2009, apart from his year previously on loan in Madrid.

    Operating as a No. 10, Diego already knows the club, manager, system, league and the majority of his teammates.

    He will add extra strength in depth and experience as Atletico chase trophies on three fronts.

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