Simon Harrison looks at Spain's newly transferred players, highlighting the ones you'll want to keep eyes on in the new campaign
With a new television deal potentially levelling up La Liga's financial playing field somewhat, there have been plenty of deals to get excited about this summer. Real Betis, Malaga and Atletico Madrid have been busy in the transfer market, but they're not alone.
From young talent to ex-starlets who've wandered astray, the Spanish top flight is going to be blessed with some very interesting talents and characters as we head into the 2016/17 season.
1. Pione Sisto (FC Midtjylland to Celta Vigo, €5m)
Versatile and full of youthful verve, 21-year-old Sisto could be the replacement for Nolito that La Celeste so desperately require
In the wake of Nolito’s departure to Manchester City, Celta needed a vibrant soul to try to replace their key man of the last few seasons. The chosen one is Pione Sisto, a young Danish wideman who many may remember from FC Midtjylland’s sinking of Manchester United in the Europa League last season.
After impressing both domestically and in the youth categories for his country, as well as being voted the Danish FA's 2014 Player of the Year, a €5m fee looks a snip for Eduardo Berizzo's team. Versatile and full of youthful verve, 21-year-old Sisto could be the Nolito replacement that la Celeste so desperately require.
2. Ganso (Sao Paulo to Sevilla, €9.5m)
For many, the transfer of Brazilian maestro Ganso to Europe has been a long-awaited possibility.
Jorge Sampaoli’s hiring as Sevilla coach preceded a stockpiling of attacking midfielders, and ex-Sao Paulo man Ganso is technically gifted enough to stand tall above most of them. From Sampaoli's perspective he could surpass the achievements of Chilean ‘El Mago’ Jorge Valdivia, who was given the relative freedom to show his talents under the new Rojiblancos boss for his national team.
Supremely talented and able to beat men while making the whole process look easy, Ganso is definitely one to keep an eye on.
3. Marlos Moreno (Manchester City to Deportivo, loan)
The teenager lifted the title with his domestic club, before showcasing both his goalscoring and playmaking talents at the Copa Libertadores
It's been a rollercoaster year for this 19-year-old Colombian, who got his first international call-up back in February following impressive form for Atletico Nacional. The teenager lifted the title with his domestic club, before showcasing both his goalscoring and playmaking talents at the Copa Libertadores (which his team won). Add some exciting performances and a goal at his first ever Copa America, and you have a talent coming to Europe who has the potential to grow into a real star.
Manchester City took the gamble in paying for his services, with Deportivo La Coruna having the chance to benefit from a starlet with a point to prove. He could be Colombia’s next big thing.
4. Sime Vrsaljko (Sassuolo to Atletico Madrid, €16m)
Juanfran is now unable to rest on his first-team laurels at the Vicente Calderon, with Diego Simeone’s latest defensive acquisition a huge upgrade on the outgoing Jesus Gamez.
After enjoying regular football with Sassuolo in Serie A for a few years, Vrsaljko hasn't come to the Spanish capital to play second fiddle.
Tenacious and diligent in his defensive work, while also keen to burst upfield to support attacks down the right, Atleti may have just picked up a new stalwart.
5. Kevin-Prince Boateng (Las Palmas, free)
With a one-year-deal in hand, the once hotly tipped 29-year-old is out to prove his doubters wrong under Quique Setien
In one of the stranger deals of the summer, Las Palmas now can call upon the maverick talents of Boateng.
After a three-year spell with Milan, Schalke were prepared to pay a rather sizeable €10 million fee to tie down the former Ghana international in 2013, but disciplinary issues lead to the Bundesliga club terminating his contract.
Now, with a one-year-deal in hand, the once-hotly tipped 29-year-old is out to prove his doubters wrong under Quique Setien. How this deal might work bearing in mind the midfielder’s well-documented temperament, however, is anyone’s guess.
6. Franco Vazquez (Palermo to Sevilla, €15m)
The Argentine is no stranger to La Liga, after a fairly disappointing loan spell with Rayo Vallecano back in the 2012/2013 campaign. But he returns to Spain with a wealth of top-flight experience under his belt.
Twenty-two goals in 105 games for Palermo is no mean feat, especially for a club that has struggled with long-term managerial appointments, but the Argentina-born Italy forward is perhaps best known for complementing former team-mate Paulo Dybala up front. Now, 'El Mudo' (The Mute) is in Seville to carve out a name in his own right.
7. Kevin Gameiro (Sevilla to Atletico Madrid, €32m)
After 16 goals in the league last season and another eight in the Europa League, Diego Simeone has secured the signature of a striker in his prime
The only in-house La Liga transfer on this shortlist is potentially the biggest of the country’s transfer window, with Atleti paying a fee that could hit €35m for the services of Sevilla man Gameiro.
With 16 goals in the league last season and another eight in the Europa League, Diego Simeone has secured the signature of a striker in his prime.
After unfortunately missing out on a place in Didier Deschamps’ France squad, the ex-Lorient man still has a point to prove and looks to be targeting a Champions League trophy. After knowing the feeling of lifting the Europa League for the last three years, few defenders will be up for stopping him experiencing that winning feeling once again.
8. Alexandre Pato (Corinthians to Villarreal, €3m)
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A young Pato managed 63 goals in five years with Milan between 2007 and 2012, before a resurgence at with Sao Paulo encouraged Chelsea to take a loan gamble on the Brazilian last season to improve their squad depth (so goes the official line, anyway).
A €3m fee is modest, but Pato’s insistence on turning down lucrative offers from China demonstrates that he still wants to prove his worth in one of Europe’s top divisions.