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20 Best Signings of the 2013/14 La Liga Season

Paul WilkesFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2014

20 Best Signings of the 2013/14 La Liga Season

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    The summer transfer market is a time for supporters to get excited over the new names that could be wearing their club's colours in the new season.

    For Barcelona and Real Madrid, it's about signing the best players the world has to offer, whilst simultaneously fitting into a particular playing style.

    The new ownership model at Valencia should mean that they can look to strengthen their squad rather than having to sell.

    For the rest of the sides, it's still about balancing the books and finding the next big thing.

    Here are the 20 best signings of the 2013/14 season which also includes loans.

    All statistics were gained from WhoScored.com.

20. Yacine Brahimi (Rennes to Granada)

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    Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

    The French-born Algerian international arrived at Granada a year earlier from Rennes, but the deal was only made permanent last summer.

    His silky dribbling skills have entertained the fans, and this year he has even got on the scoresheet.

    The 24-year-old has a clear talent which has attracted interest from the Premier League previously; this was emphasised when he grabbed the winner against Barcelona.

19. Piti (Rayo Vallecano to Granada)

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    The attacking midfielder was superb in the 2012/13 season, scoring goals for fun at Rayo Vallecano.

    He filled the gap left by Michu who departed for Swansea City, and his own scoring form then saw him make the switch to Granada.

    Within a different structure he hasn't had the same impact, but he has still contributed in important matches. As the 32-year-old was a free transfer, the Andalusians can be content.

18. Andreu Fontas (Barcelona to Celta Vigo)

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    The former Barcelona centre-back has excelled under the tutelage of Luis Enrique once more.

    His positional sense, interpretation of the game and his ability on the ball are pivotal to Enrique's style.

    With his boss now tasked as the main man at the Camp Nou, it will be interesting to see how his game develops at Celta Vigo.

    As there is a buy-back clause in his contract, he could still make the step up and return to his former club.

17. Mikel Rico (Real Betis to Athletic Bilbao)

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    When Athletic Bilbao made midfield reinforcements last August, it was Real Betis' creative playmaker Benat who was expected to shine the most.

    But the energy and physicality of former Granada midfielder Mikel Rico has helped give the Basques a solid base to work from.

    With Champions League football next season at the new San Mames, the extra strength within the squad will be even more important in central areas.

16. Kevin Gameiro (Paris Saint-Germain to Sevilla)

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    The French striker had a fantastic scoring rate at Lorient; his opportunities were restricted slightly at PSG due to the financial clout of the club.

    He nearly came to Spain earlier in his career as he was heavily linked with Valencia, but that move never materialised.

    At Sevilla, he has shared the forward duties with Carlos Bacca and has even outscored the Columbian.

15. Suso (Liverpool to Almeria)

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    Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

    The Spanish youngster returned to his home country to gain more playing experience and has been a key performer in Almeria's relegation battle.

    Starting 26 matches, Suso scored three goals and provided seven assists. He fell out of favour towards the end of the campaign and his disciplinary record let him down a little.

    However, he will arrive back at Anfield a more complete player and will be a valuable squad member as Liverpool fight on four fronts next term.

14. Daniel Carrico (Reading to Sevilla)

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    The utility player arrived last summer on a season-long loan from Reading with the view to a permanent deal.

    He had joined Reading in January 2013 and spent six months in the Championship.

    The Portuguese has been an important part of Unai Emery's successful Sevilla team.

    Capable of playing both as a centre-back and as a holding midfielder, his strengths are in his tenacious tackling rather than ball distribution.

13. Gabriel Paulista (Esporte Clube Vitoria to Villarreal)

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    Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

    The Brazilian centre-back has had a great debut season in La Liga.

    At only 20 years old, he has adapted quickly and will grow into a future star in the coming years.

    Villarreal have been exceptional in their first year back in the top flight, and it's the combination of youngsters such as Gabriel and the more established players that has aided their recovery.

12. Stephane Mbia (Queens Park Rangers to Sevilla)

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Sevilla's use of the loan system last year was exemplary, as they lost numerous personnel and replaced them with five temporary deals.

    Stephane Mbia's form has been barely recognisable from the midfielder who left London last summer.

    His physical attributes and excellent reading of the game have made him a valuable squad member in Sevilla's pursuit of the Europa League trophy and fifth place.

11. Dani Carvajal (Bayer Leverkusen to Real Madrid)

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    The Real Madrid right-back only spent a year in Germany, but great credit should be given to the Madrid hierarchy for bringing him back.

    They could have lost sight of their youth product, but monitoring the progress of Carvajal saved them money.

    Carvajal has returned to the Bernabeu and replaced Alvaro Arbeloa as first choice. He is also in the initial 30-man national team squad for Brazil.

10. Rafinha (Barcelona to Celta Vigo)

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    Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

    Thiago Alcantara's younger brother looks to be progressing at a similar rate to the Bayern Munich midfielder.

    His time at Celta Vigo has given him the opportunity to gain regular playing minutes.

    He will be back at the Camp Nou for the next campaign, and with Luis Enrique now in charge, he will fancy his chances in the future.

    With numerous changes expected in the midfield area, Rafinha could be among the ones to take advantage.

9. Neymar (Santos to Barcelona)

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    The second part of his season has been overshadowed by injury and controversy, but we have seen enough of the winger to see his natural talent.

    He has only started 19 league matches, as he scored nine goals and made eight assists.

    Neymar has had little rest due to the Brazilian league's structure and his international commitments.

    The weight of expectation will be on his young shoulders this summer, which is unfortunate given that he isn't currently fully fit.

8. Giovani Dos Santos (Real Mallorca to Villarreal)

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    The much-travelled Mexican looks to be happy with his return to La Liga.

    His opportunities at Barcelona and Tottenham probably came too soon for him, but his maturity has shown recently.

    An impressive year with Real Mallorca couldn't stop them from relegation.

    He has continued this form at El Madrigal and provided the flair that led them to a comfortable finish.

7. Mikel Balenziaga (Real Valladolid to Athletic Bilbao)

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    The Basque came back last summer after an impressive couple of years at Valladolid.

    Mikel Balenziaga has made the left-back slot his own and excelled with Ernesto Valverde guiding him.

    Only Ander Herrera completed more tackles per game than the defender.

    At 26, he is now approaching his peak years and should continue his progression at the club.

6. Charles (Almeria to Celta Vigo)

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    It's hard to believe that this was the Brazilian's first season in the top flight.

    Signed as a replacement for Iago Aspas, Charles has spent his entire career in the lower echelons of Spanish football.

    His finishing ability helped Almeria to promotion last season and he continued to show his finishing ability with Celta Vigo this year.

5. David Villa (Barcelona to Atletico Madrid)

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    Spain's top goalscorer has now won consecutive league titles after his move from Barcelona to Atletico Madrid.

    His performances on the pitch aren't at the level of his prime, but his experience and 13 goals this campaign has been of great assistance during the run-in.

    In recent years, he has had to adapt from his leading position to a more supporting role, though his contribution shouldn't be understated.

4. Beto (Braga to Sevilla)

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    The 32-year-old was the hero in Lisbon as he saved the penalties to give Sevilla another Europa League trophy.

    He has been brilliant throughout the season but has gradually become one of the best in Spain over the last 18 months.

    Unai Emery's rotation policy means that only the goalkeeper made more than 30 league starts for his side.

3. Carlos Bacca (Club Brugge to Sevilla)

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    If Radamel Falcao fails to recover from injury in time for the World Cup, then the pressure of the Colombian nation will fall on Sevilla's Carlos Bacca.

    The striker is a natural finisher and his goals have been a huge help to the new-look Andalusians.

    With the club's precarious financial position, they will struggle to hold on to the forward should he excel in Brazil.

2. Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid)

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    The longest transfer saga of last year was Florentino Perez's pursuit of the Welshman.

    Gareth Bale never had a pre-season and wasn't really fit enough to start against Villarreal on his debut.

    The former Southampton man was used poorly in his opening few months, but he continued to provide.

    After a run of matches, he began to reach somewhere close to his best and produce impressive statistics along the way.

1. Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea to Atletico Madrid)

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    The goalkeeper may have been at Atletico for the past three seasons, but it's still only been on a year-to -year basis.

    Selling David De Gea to Manchester United and replacing him with Thibaut Courtois was a master stroke the first time round; to be able to repeat the process has been phenomenal.

    Chelsea will surely want to make him their No. 1 sooner rather than later.

    He has been superb as Los Colchoneros became La Liga champions.

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