La LigaÃ¢ÂÂs Transfer Tales: Athletic to Espanyol
Part one of Tim Stannard's analysis of the summer transfer activity in Spain's top flight...
Athletic BilbaoBof! A horribly disruptive summer for the Basque side due to want-away players, hovering clubs, as well as their own dithering. Javi MartÃÂnez bought out his own contract to go to Bayern Munich. His position can be sort of covered. The one player they really couldnÃ¢ÂÂt afford to lose in football terms is Fernando Llorente, who is set to stay one more year in Bilbao but then go for free out of contract. However, transfer activity is not over yet for Athletic, who have a couple of weeks to find a replacement for MartÃÂnez because of a clause involving Ã¢ÂÂhostileÃ¢ÂÂ departures from clubs. Best Signing: As usual, Athletic had to pay over the odds - Ã¢ÂÂ¬2.5m in this case - but 31-year-old forward Aritz Aduriz returning to his home club gives the team at least some kind of alternative to the willing but limited Gaizka Toquero.
AtlÃÂ©tico MadridIt was a good window on paper for the Rojiblancos, with the club hanging on to Falcao, but perhaps not so well received in the accounting department. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs what Director General, Miguel ÃÂngel Gil, reckons with the claim that Ã¢ÂÂ¬33m net was needed to be raised this summer to pay the bills. Instead, itÃ¢ÂÂs just Ã¢ÂÂ¬17m after the flogging of Alvaro DomÃÂnguez and Eduardo Salvio. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs why only Ã¢ÂÂ¬1m was spent in purchases with defender, Cata DÃÂaz, joining from Getafe and why the club have not been able to afford to re-recruit the massively successful Diego Ribas.Best signing: Free transfer Cristian RodrÃÂguez will give a little bit of balance to the attack on the left-wing.
Barcelona Three players were brought up from the youth team for BarÃÂ§a this summer, but Ã¢ÂÂ¬32m was also splashed on Jordi Alba and Alex Song. Although both handy editions, the Catalan club failed to plug a rather leaky hole at the back with a new central defender. However, finding the ideal player at the right price is clearly not easy so perhaps it was right not to have another Dmytro Chygrynskiy moment.Best signing: Jordi Alba had already shown at Euro 2012 that he can build fine relationship with AndrÃÂ©s Iniesta. Nice and small, as well, so he'll fit in well.
BetisOne of many clubs in la Primera where it was more to do with who stayed than who left or came in. The wonderfully exciting midfielder, BeÃÂ±at EtxeberrÃÂa, is still in Seville despite interest from the Bundesliga, to help continue make Betis one of the most watchable teams in la Liga on their day. Best signing: ArsenalÃ¢ÂÂs on loan Costa Rican youngster Joel Campbell has already debuted. Looks quite raw but flashes of something good about to happen, Utah Saints-style.
Celta VigoDespite having spent five years in la Segunda, Celta have been fairly active in the transfer market with nearly four million blown to strengthen the squad to ensure another year in la Primera. ArsenalÃ¢ÂÂs Chu-Young Park arrived late in the day on loan from Arsenal to help out in attack whilst former Sevilla keeper, Javi Varas, was brought in early doors to give experience in goal. Best signing: An assist in CeltaÃ¢ÂÂs win against Osasuna over the weekend suggests thereÃ¢ÂÂs enough sauce in Argentinean Augusto FernÃÂ¡ndez's boots to justify the Ã¢ÂÂ¬1.5m spent on the winger.
DeportivoItÃ¢ÂÂs a Portugal party in la CoruÃÂ±a at the moment - LLL senses a Jorge Mendes hand somewhere - with a whole bunch arrive on loan from Sporting, Benfica and Braga to boost Daring DeporÃ¢ÂÂs chances of staying up. ThereÃ¢ÂÂs also an old school signing too, with Carlos Marchena joining from free after a fun spell at Villarreal. Best signing: Striker Nelson Oliveira already has one goal to his name since joining Depor on loan from Benfica - and a beauty at that.
EspanyolÃ¢ÂÂ¬5.3m in sales sums up a tough story for Espanyol at the moment - the drip, drip, drip departure of talent to pay the bills and the arrival of hit-and-hopes from around the world to replace them. Javi Marquez went to Mallorca and AlvarÃÂ³ VÃÂ¡squez to Getafe, hardly clubs that can consider themselves prettier and perkier than the Pericos. A horrible year awaits for Mauricio Pochettino and co, which is a great shame. Best signing: He's probably eating up the teamÃ¢ÂÂs entire wage budget, but Simao may still have enough juice in the tank to help out.