La Liga Loca's Tim Stannard puts on his corduroy jacket, polishes his leather couch, cranks up some soothing Kenny G and assesses the mental wellbeing of the fans of all twenty clubs in la Primera, with most teams now back in pre-season training....
Athletic BilbaoMood Ã¢ÂÂ mildly optimistic
Unless Kun AgÃÂ¼ero uncovers some Basque heritage and Athletic find Ã¢ÂÂ¬45 million stuffed down the back of the sofa, supporters are unlikely to be feeling any excitement at all about further signings this summer. But thatÃ¢ÂÂs pretty much the case every year, with as many shopping options open to Athletic Bilbao as an East German in 1983.
The clubÃ¢ÂÂs splurge on Ander Herrera looks like being a good Ã¢ÂÂun though, after the Zaragoza midfielderÃ¢ÂÂs tremendous showings for SpainÃ¢ÂÂs U-21 team in the European Championships. The only rumblings of disquiet in the Athletic camp could come from the 44% of club members who took part in the recent presidential election who did not vote for the new regime who have since appointed Marcelo Ã¢ÂÂEl LocoÃ¢ÂÂ Biesla to be the new coach, ousting JoaquÃÂn CaparrÃÂ³s in the process.
The 54% who did choose him will be hopeful of a footballing approach that is a little less, shall we say, direct in the coming season. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂd say IÃ¢ÂÂd like to play passing football, playing in the oppositionÃ¢ÂÂs half,Ã¢ÂÂ said Bielsa in his first press conference at the club.
AtlÃÂ©tico MadridMood Ã¢ÂÂ Lost, confused, bewildered
The Rojiblancos returned to training a good few weeks back now, with the first of the clubÃ¢ÂÂs pre pre pre pre pre pre-qualifying Europa League clashes with Norwegian side, Stromsgodset, coming up on July 28th at the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n. Somewhat worryingly, the stadium still doesnÃ¢ÂÂt have its new pitch sorted after the arena was turned into a race track and then suffered the horrors of hosting the Black Eyed Peas.
As it stands, there is no confirmed first choice goalkeeper following the departure of David De Gea, there are too many non-EU internationals in the squad, nobody is sure what will happen to Kun AgÃÂ¼ero, Diego ForlÃÂ¡n has decided he wants to stay at the club after all meaning a rapid supporter-mood U-turn and AtlÃÂ©tico now have a centre-back called Miranda. Oh, and RaÃÂºl GarcÃÂa has not been flogged yet.
BarcelonaMood Ã¢ÂÂ A tad nervous, leg twitching, smug
Although BarÃÂ§a fans wonÃ¢ÂÂt dare to admit it, there may be a few jealous looks towards Madrid. Not necessarily due to the quality of the players Mourinho has brought to the Santiago Bernabeu, as much as the quantity, which has giving Madrid two very strong players for each position. Barcelona returned to training on Monday without a single new addition to the squad aside from the promotion of a couple of Ã¢ÂÂBÃ¢ÂÂ team players Ã¢ÂÂ although that does include Thiago, to be fair.
The purchases of Cesc Fabregas and Alexis SÃÂ¡nchez will certainly steady a few trembling knees in the Catalan capital, but until those deals are completed Ã¢ÂÂ and Bojan is sold Ã¢ÂÂ then nerves will remain slightly on edge for fans of PepÃ¢ÂÂs Dream Boys.
BetisMood Ã¢ÂÂ Drunk
Betis fans are wasted during bad times and blasted during the good. And itÃ¢ÂÂs in between those two stools that the green-and-white support find themselves this summer. Betis are back in la Primera Ã¢ÂÂ which is a very good thing, but there is still institutional confusion as to who actually owns the club and how on earth it is going to claw itself out of administration before the end of the century.
As for transfer activity, things have been speeding along steadily with the loan signing of VillarrealÃ¢ÂÂs Jefferson Montero looking the best of the bunch. However, the Seville sideÃ¢ÂÂs squad was already decent enough to stay up in the new season, anyway. The main hope for Beticos is that midfielder, Emana, stays with the club Ã¢ÂÂ however the constant transfer stories surrounding the Cameroon international midfielder suggest this may not be a dream that comes true...
EspanyolMood Ã¢ÂÂ Uncertain, slightly frowning, not too stressed though
Espanyol fans had a good start to the summer when discovering that Real Madrid were going to take JosÃÂ© CallejÃÂ³n off their hands for Ã¢ÂÂ¬5 million and that GetafeÃ¢ÂÂs Juan AlbÃÂn would be coming into to replace him, with the club making a tidy profit along the way. But since then it has been fairly slow stuff in El-Prat land, with the only other big signing of the summer so far being Mexican international centre-back HÃÂ©ctor Moreno, who joined from AZ Alkmaar for a reported Ã¢ÂÂ¬4 million.
Pericos will probably be happy enough if the squad makes it through the summer without star striker, Osvaldo, being sold and if someone comes in to take Luis GarcÃÂa off their hands, too.
The mood of the La Liga nation:Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Betis, Espanyol Granada, Getafe, Levante, Malaga, MallorcaOsasuna, Racing Santander, Rayo Vallecano, Real Madrid, Real SociedadSevilla, Sporting, Valencia, Villarreal, Zaragoza