Football

Published on July 16th, 2017 | by Paco Polit

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Top 5: Hottest La Liga deals of the summer

La Liga clubs will never have the multi-millions of the Premier League, which means every cent counts in bringing in the right stuff to Spain

It’s been a pretty slow summer in La Liga, especially on the transfer side of things. Clubs are cash-strapped and most of the signings are low-cost, simple switches and/or loans between teams, which need to keep an eye on the feared Financial Fair Play (FFP) while trying to enhance their squads.

Therefore, most transfers aren’t earth-shattering nowadays, although a deeper dive into the market permits us to ponder a couple of gems amongst a grey-ish summer. Here they are, from least to most hyped.

Nelson Semedo (FC Barcelona – up to €55 million)

Barça’s summer has been absolutely awful on all fronts, as we have thoroughly dissected. They haven’t been able to bring in their first choices (Héctor Bellerin, Marco Verratti, Ousmane Dembelé), incoming manager Ernesto Valverde has few signings to try and change his squad’s dynamic (only Gerard Doulofeu) and the club keeps playing catch-up with a much more focused Real Madrid.

Maybe that’s why sports director Robert Fernandez caught a plane to Lisbon in order to reduce Nelson Semedo’s price… and came back paying a cool €30 million, plus a €5 million bonus every time the right-back plays 50 games throughout the next five seasons. Yep, the cost could skyrocket up to €55 million – an exorbitant tag for a defender.

Sergio León (Real Betis – €3,5 million)

I’ve been a fan of striker Sergio Leon throughout the 2016-2017 season, wondering where the Andalusian player would land after Atlético Osasuna was ultimately relegated at the end of the competition.

In a fierce bidding war with many sides interested in the player, Real Betis got the upper hand and signed the promising forward to strengthen the side up front. It is a rare case of a late breakthrough, but Leon (now 28) seems to be in top shape and will add to an increasingly-impressive roster of players this summer, with the likes of Andrés Guardado, Víctor Camaras, Cristian Tello amongst others.

Vitolo Machín (Las Palmas – loaned for six months)

All the drama surrounding Vitolo Machín’s “treason” and his move to Atlético de Madrid via a six-month stop in Las Palmas maybe makes fans forget a key aspect: we’re talking about an amazing, huge player for any side. Vitolo is possibly one of the best 1v1 players in Spain nowadays, a current international winger for Spain and with plenty of physical and tactical expertise in his backpack.

Let’s not forget his incredible impact at the top of the pitch because of some petty (albeit highly addictive) drama in the sidelines. His spectacular link-up with Canarian midfielder Jonathan Viera marveled fans almost a decade ago when they were youngsters; now, both players are once again ready to deliver half-a-year of excitement on the island.

Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid – €16,5 million)

Hands down, the steal of the summer. When Barça wanted to react, Real Madrid was running away from the bank, laughing as hard as ever and having bagged one of the players with the biggest potential in La Liga.

After his sensational performance in the European U21 Championship, both titans pursued interest in the Andalusian midfielder, but Los Blancos manager to get to him earlier and seduce both him and his family. An impressive feat, taking into consideration that the player publicly showed his love for Barça colours when he was younger and that his girlfriend (!) had bragged about the couple’s ‘antimadridista’ antics. Guess playing for the current Champions League champions makes the pill easier to swallow, uh?

Luis Muriel (Sevilla FC – €20 million)

Sevilla has been hit hard this summer with a string of bad news: coach Jorge Sampaoli’s disappointing final games, Vitolo’s escape, sport director Ramón Rodriguez ‘Monchi’ leaving for AC Roma, selling captain Vicente Iborra to Leicester City… The new people in charge needed some kind of ‘coup’ to regain both credibility with fans and also increase their own morale.

Enter Luis Muriel, a €20-million Colombian attacking beast who has signed a five-year contract and become Sevilla’s most expensive signing ever. Sampdoria even managed to retain 20% of his rights in case he gets sold later in his career. His arrival at the Sanchez Pizjuán should provide some excitement to a season where Sevilla, once again, has to rebuild and keep its traditional edge and competitiveness at the same time.

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About the Author

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Paco Polit is a Valencia-based journalist with over ten years experience reporting La Liga, covering both Valencia CF and Levante's news, signings, ups and downs. Madrid and Barcelona are huge, indeed, but the Spanish La Liga is much, much more: regarded as the top football competition in the world, he enjoys explaining why to every reader from abroad.



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