La Liga's Transfer Tales: Real Madrid to Zaragoza
Tim Stannard completes his summary of the summer transfer window in Spain...
Due to the sales of a couple of Castilla players to the Bundesliga and the shipping out of Sergio Canales and Lassana Diarra among others, Real Madrid came away from the summer transfer window Ã¢ÂÂ¬10m in profit. A profit! Real Madrid! Imagine that!
Also contributing to this freakiest of fiscal events is Jose Mourinho bringing in just the single footballer in return for actual money, not counting the late recruitment of Chelsea loanee Michael Essien.
Best signing: Luka Modric. Not that hard a choice really, considering itÃ¢ÂÂs the only player that Real Madrid spent money on. Already looks like being a good option both in central midfield and in filling Mesut ÃÂzilÃ¢ÂÂs hole behind the striker, as it were.
Investing nearly Ã¢ÂÂ¬4m in Carlos Vela after a vibrant loan spell last year was a summer statement of intent: la Real want a stable season and donÃ¢ÂÂt want no scrubs thank you very much. Also joining (on a free) is Mallorca attacking midfielder Chori Castro, to give la Real some decent strength in depth.
Best signing: Carlos Vela. After several seasons of wandering lonely as a cloud, the marauding Mexican has finally found a home in San Sebastian after scoring 12 league goals last season.
Another year of new beginnings as Sevilla continue to ship players in and out, desperately trying rediscover the golden days of half a decade ago Ã¢ÂÂ which ainÃ¢ÂÂt going to happen, quite frankly Mr Shankly. This time the defence has had a bit of rejig, with Alberto BotÃÂa joining from Sporting, and Cicinho reminding the world that he was still about after a transfer from Palmeiras.
Best signing: Diego Lopez. Although grumpy AndrÃÂ©s Palop will take some shifting Ã¢ÂÂ weÃ¢ÂÂre talking handcuffs around the goalposts stuff here Ã¢ÂÂ former Villarreal custodian Lopez will turn out to be a shrewd long-term move for Ã¢ÂÂ¬3.5m.
An entertainingly busy summer for Valencia. Five footballers arrived for Ã¢ÂÂ¬20m, but amazingly the Mestalla men still managed to make a Ã¢ÂÂ¬7m profit after dispatching Jordi Alba and a few others cluttering up the place Ã¢ÂÂ squad members such as Pablo HernÃÂ¡ndez.
The Ã¢ÂÂ¬7m signing of Sergio Canales seems a little steep though, with the clearly talented youngster worryingly injury-prone Ã¢ÂÂ an awful shame for a footballer who was once SpainÃ¢ÂÂs brightest spark for the future.
Best signing: Fernando Gago. Ã¢ÂÂ¬3.5m seems a fine price for a midfielder who just needs a regular run of games and a comfy spot in central midfield to come good. LLL expects fine things from the Argentinian and his accident-prone parter in crime, Ever Banega.
Not a lot to say about SpainÃ¢ÂÂs yo-yo team. Zero money made on sales and zero money spent. That might be a bit of an issue for a team that only came third in la Segunda last season.
Best signing: Not even going to try guessing about Lluis Sastre joining from Huesca.
Manager Manolo JimÃÂ©nez has been trying to wean Zaragoza off the habit of being a cattle market for footballers in intricate loan-and-buy-back deals, hoping instead to impose stability and maybe even spend time developing footballers from the cantera.
To be fair, thereÃ¢ÂÂs been some success in this strategy, with just the 12 players joining up for the new season, only one of whom Ã¢ÂÂ MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs ApoÃÂ±o Ã¢ÂÂ cost actual cash.
Best signing: Romaric. The forename-free Ivorian midfielder cost Sevilla Ã¢ÂÂ¬8.5m in 2008 and left for nothing four years later. Still handy on his day if he can be persuaded to focus just on football.