8 La Liga bargains who'd make smart Premier League signings
1. Pablo Fornals (Malaga)
Fornals is a well balanced, mobile central midfielder capable of shining at both ends of the field
With a release clause of just €12m and a sensational breakthrough season behind him, Fornals is a young star to keep an eye on. The young Spaniard emerged as a key member of Malaga’s squad last year and has since attracted interest from several teams including Arsenal, who reportedly view the player as an ideal replacement for the perennially injured Santi Cazorla.
Fornals is a well balanced, mobile central midfielder capable of shining at both ends of the field. The 21-year-old added hard work and defensive contribution to his array of attacking capabilities last term, while he has the technical ability to link midfield with attack, be it by dribbling or playing a defence-splitting pass.
2. Dani Ceballos (Real Betis)
Ceballos is without doubt one of Spain’s brightest young talents - and that's something given the sheer volume of them around at the moment. The extraordinarily talented central midfielder is the type of player who managers can build a team around – and that's exactly what Real Betis have done despite his tender years, making Ceballos a key figure in the centre of the park.
The extraordinarily talented central midfielder is the type of player who managers can build a team around
Though just 20, his talent and ability justify that decision. Ceballos is a driving force in midfield who always looks to initiate attacks and spots gaps that few other players can. He’s able to run with the ball purposefully, but also retain and recycle possession while dictating in the engine room. Despite his age he boasts fine leadership skills, and the confidence to take games to opponents.
Although he's one of the most exciting young players in Spain, the clause in Ceballos’s contract remains at just €12m. Top teams are circling, including Real Madrid, so others had better move quick if they want this potential world beater.
3. Florian Lejeune (Eibar)
Having announced himself as one of the strongest centre-backs in Spain’s second tier, Lejeune shone after making the step up to Spain’s top flight last year.
The Frenchman is a no-nonsense centre-back who pulls off the basics superbly: heading, tackling, intercepting and good positioning. As well as all this, he’s competent with the ball at his feet and is never guilty of overplaying in dangerous areas. His focus is very much on defending; you can therefore expect strong aerial ability and physical prowess from the 26-year-old.
The Frenchman is a no-nonsense centre-back who does the basics superbly: heading, tackling, intercepting, positioning
Lejeune was once on Manchester City’s books and spent time on loan at Girona as part of their partnership deal, but never ended up kicking a ball for the Citizens. Given the reported Premier League interest from several teams, however – newly promoted Newcastle look to be leading the chase – he could be lining up against them very soon. Eibar will likely see the €10m clause in Lejeune’s contract triggered.
4. Sandro Ramirez (Malaga)
With 16 goals in 31 games for Malaga last season, Sandro showed there is indeed life after Barcelona. After being cast out by the Catalans as collateral damage in the big-money move for Paco Alcacer, the young striker has been a revelation at La Rosaleda.
Sandro is a high-intensity striker, able to play through the middle or start from wide areas. He’s quick, skilful and always looks to drive into the penalty area and cause chaos. Since joining Malaga, the 21-year-old has bulked up and become more of an explosive, pocket-rocket figure in attack. He now looks destined for the top level in Europe, having added to his game and demonstrated a real eye for goal in one of the best leagues around.
Sandro is a high-intensity striker, able to play through the middle or start from wide areas
Barça may well live to regret letting the striker go, as he would have been the perfect back-up to their star-studded forward line. Their loss could be the Premier League's gain, though, especially as a mooted move to Atletico Madrid has been shelved due to the capital club's transfer ban.
The best part? He’s available for just €6m. Tottenham have been linked for a while, but Everton appear to be most keen on securing his signature.