Spain gets annoyed by Stoke as Madrid transfer bans fail to ignite spending sprees

La Liga's January transfer window was really, really not very good, writes Tim Stannard...

If Premier League pundits are sitting in a sulk, staring into their coffees on Tuesday and trying to get all pumped that the most thrilling deal of deadline day involved Stoke, then pity their poor continental cousins in Spain.

Over in the Land of Ham, the day was largely spent reporting on the moves and shakes of footballers everyone thought had retired – take a bow Verdú and Miguel de las Cuevas – going on loan somewhere. Probably Levante, who were the Newcastle and Norwich of La Primera in desperately recruiting anyone who can kick a ball to fight off relegation. 

Slow news day

Indeed, Marca’s lead story on Tuesday concerns the thrilling notion that Isco runs a lot during games, while another byline sobs that while Stoke can spend upwards of €20 million on Giannelli Imbula, the priciest deal in La Liga in the January window was Augusto Fernández moving from Celta to Atlético Madrid for €6m.

The priciest deal in La Liga in the January window was Augusto Fernández moving from Celta Vigo to Atlético for €6m

AS have Cristiano Ronaldo’s shiny face on the front cover and are trying to make the Golden Boot race exciting, noting that the Real Madrid man has a great deal of competition from the likes of Gonzalo Higuaín at Napoli and Jonas of Benfica. The chances are that not everyone can be constantly fed with fatted calves like Espanyol to rack up the figures. 

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronny racked up a hat-trick against Espanyol

According to Marca’s transfer tracker, only five deals involved cash: the aforementioned move for Augusto by Atlético Madrid, Celta Vigo then spending the money on two players like an Amazon gift voucher, and two deals for Espanyol and Levante worth €4.6m combined. Real Betis attempted to bring in a striker but the immensely dysfunctional nature of the Seville side was on full display, with the board vetoing a deal set up by the sporting director for Brazilian forward Leandro Damiao after lawyers had spent days working out whether the footballer was available or not due to some tricky registration issues. 

Boring big guns

Barcelona were too overloaded shovelling diamonds and gold nuggets into the MSN cash-eating furnace to be able to afford Nolito from Celta Vigo

Real Madrid, aside from loaning out cursed Copa del Rey player Denis Cheryshev to Valencia, stayed away from any deadline-day fax-machine shenanigans, possibly as Florentino Pérez hadn't spent a great deal of time flicking through in-flight magazines reading about who was really famous in the football world.

Barcelona were too overloaded shovelling diamonds and gold nuggets into the MSN cash-eating furnace to be able to afford Nolito from Celta Vigo, with only a half-hearted loan deal apparently being offered to the Galician club. 

Nolito

Nolito will have to wait for a return to Barça

While Tuesday is very much a holding pattern, stasis day in the media world of La Liga, Wednesday should be a sprightlier affair with the Copa del Rey returning. But for the moment, Primera pundits are down in the dumps that the Premier League continues to be a spending powerhouse – a situation that is likely to be getting even worse when an even more lucrative TV deal kicks in next season.

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