A whizz around the grounds - Deportivo to Levante
FourFourTwo's man in Madrid, Tim Stannard, continues his summer round-up...
Redesigned Deportivo may be back in la Primera after a season spent slumming it in la Segunda, but that doesnÃ¢ÂÂt mean the side are any richer than they were before. In fact, they're probably considerably poorer for the experience. This may be an issue for coach JosÃÂ© Luis Oltra, who says there is such a buzz in la CoruÃÂ±a that there's even talk in the town about a push for Europe based on the reasonable notion that "if Levante can do it, then anyone can". Deportivo will be starting without AndrÃÂ©s Guardado, who moved to Valencia, but have brought in four players from Portuguese clubs, including Pizzi, who was at AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid and may still be with Sporting Braga, technically speaking. Jorge Mendes is his agent, so LLL is lost already.
As the new season approaches, Espanyol are already in the brace position, hoping and praying for a strong start to the season in order to avoid what might be a nasty relegation fight. The Pericos are very much in the market for selling players and already had to move Javi MÃÂ¡rquez to Mallorca for Ã¢ÂÂ¬1.2m, which seems a bit of a snip, even though he only had one year left on his deal. Key players from last season, such as Vladimir Weiss, have returned to their parent clubs, leaving manager Mauricio Pochettino needing to cobble to together a bunch of new deals, which could potentially include Felipe Caicedo before the season kicks off in a monthÃ¢ÂÂs time.
The Madrid club are still reeling from the collapse of the whole 'Getafe Team Dubai' business, which looks like having been a giant scam, but club president Angel Torres denies that the institution lost any money in the affair. Ã¢ÂÂNobody has cheated me, itÃ¢ÂÂs a lie,Ã¢ÂÂ claimed Torres. Meanwhile, the team are shedding footballers like Pep Guardiola sheds hair, with Cata DÃÂaz, Javier Casquero, Pedro RÃÂos all leaving. However, goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya has seen his loan deal from Valencia made permanent and midfielder, Queen Lafita has joined from Zaragoza on a freebie.
This is mad. Madder than mad. Trying to track GranadaÃ¢ÂÂs ins and outs is a near impossible job due to links between the clubÃ¢ÂÂs owner and president and Udinese and now Cadiz. Basically, the information that LLL has is that Granada have brought in 20 footballers - many were on loan somewhere - and seen 13 depart, again many were on loan. Indeed, many of these figures are the same player. ItÃ¢ÂÂs that barmy.
The European super-heroes are now back in training, but Marca is reporting that striker Arouna KonÃÂ© is yet to appear, despite having a weekÃ¢ÂÂs extra time to chill out over the summer. The other news from the Valencia clubÃ¢ÂÂs camp is the arrival of Pedro RÃÂos from Getafe - a footballer LLL has always quite rated - and the attempts to get Xavi Torres back from MÃÂ¡laga after two seasons on loan from the southern side.
Part One: Athletic Bilbao to Celta Vigo