The arduous transfer season has come to a close and football is finally on our screens again, but who fared the best in the transfer market this European summer?
In Spain, the transfer window was characterised by austerity, a reflection of the country’s troubled economy. Spending is reportedly down 70% from last summer, and the €116m outlay by La Liga clubs cowers in the face of the Premier League’s reported £490m spending spree.
Arguably, the minimal spending can be partly attributed to Spain’s big guns needing few major reinforcements.
Nonetheless, a number of tantalising moves were made by La Liga clubs, and some managers will be left scratching their heads after losing key players.
Let us take a look, together, as I power rank every La Liga team based on their efforts in the 2012 summer transfer window.
All stats via Soccerway.com and WhoScored.com.
At the end of last season it seemed Malaga were the new Manchester City. They had qualified for a maiden Champions League campaign and their wealthy owners promised star signings. It seemed the sky was the limit.
Then the problems began and it was apparent they had been swindled by a “Fake Sheikh.” Players complained of unpaid wages, funding was cut and the Malaga exodus began.
In the end, the Andalusians did well not to lose more players than they did. However, they did lose two of their most influential stars in Cazorla and Rondon.
For a transfer window that promised so much, however, Malaga’s transfer campaign can be deemed nothing but an abysmal failure.
The Star Signing: Javier Saviola (30, Striker)
The Argentine sealed a late deal on deadline day and will shoulder goalscoring responsibilities along with fellow new signing Roque Santa Cruz.
In: Javier Saviola (Benfica, Free Transfer), Roque Santa Cruz (Manchester City, Loan), Oguchi Onyewu (Sporting Lisbon, Loan), Manuel Iturra (Real Murcia, Free Transfer)
Promotions: Francisco Portillo
Major Outs: Santi Cazorla (Arsenal, €19m), Salomon Rondon (Rubin Kazan, €10m), Enzo Maresca (Sampdoria, €2m), Joris Mathijsen (Feyenoord, Free Transfer)
Final Grade: F
Osasuna were one of La Liga’s surprise packages last year, narrowly missing European qualification, but have not started the 2012-13 season so brightly.
Los Rojillos could definitely struggle for goals this year after losing four key players who combined for 29 of the team’s 44 goals last term.
Mendilibar’s new signings do not look good enough to replace the likes of Garcia and Nekounam, and the Pamplona-based outfit could be back to struggling to stay above the drop zone this season.
The Star Signing: Joseba Llorente (32, Striker)
The Basque veteran is a seasoned La Liga striker, but has failed to score more than 10 goals since 2008-09. Last year he did not even manage one.
In: Nano (Numancia, Free Transfer), Sisi (Valladolid, Free Transfer), Oier (Celta Vigo, Loan Return), Emiliano Armenteros (Sevilla, Free Transfer), Alejandro Arribas (Osasuna, Free Transfer), Joseba Llorente (Real Sociedad, Loan), Anthony Annan (Schalke, Loan)
Promotions: Manu Omwu, Raoul Lee, Roberto Torres
Out: Raul Garcia (Atletico Madrid, Loan Expired), Dejan Lekic (Genclerbirligi, Free Transfer), Javad Nekounam (Esteghlal, €700k), Ibrahima Baldé (Kuban Krasnodar, €3.5m)
Final Grade: D-
The summer brought nothing but trouble for the Basques and Marcelo Bielsa.
Firstly, the Argentine manager’s position was in doubt after a reported dispute with the club’s board of directors.
Bielsa then struggled to deal with his international stars, with Javi Martinez eventually leaving for Germany unceremoniously on deadline day. The Martinez affair has led to the club’s president considering legal action against Bayern Munich.
Further, Fernando Llorente, on the last year of his contract, is clearly disenchanted with the Basque outfit, and looks set to leave next summer on a free transfer.
El Rey Leon, as they call Llorente, is pivotal to Bilbao success, and the Basques already look a shadow of the team that last year made two cup finals.
The Star Signing: Aritz Aduriz (31, Striker)
Aduriz managed a decent scoring record at Valencia despite struggling for regular time. He scored 17 in total, at a rate of a goal every 184 minutes. He will provide an excellent attacking option and comes at a cut price.
In: Aritz Aduriz (Valencia, €2.5m), Ismael López (Lugo)
Promotions: Jon Aurtenetxe, Ibai Gómez
Major Outs: Javi Martinez (Bayern Munchen, €40m), David López (Brighton & Hove Albion, Undisclosed Fee), Igor Gabilondo (AEK Larnaca, Free Transfer)
Final Grade: D
Valladolid earned promotion from La Segunda last year but look set to go straight back down after failing to make big signings.
They have incurred significant losses too. Attacking midfield trio Aleman, Sisi and Jofre combined for 18 goals in their team’s efforts for promotion, but all three have left looking for greener pastures.
Valladolid may have made an inspired start with two wins from their first three games, but Miroslav Dukic’s recruits do not look the quality required to keep his team afloat in La Liga.
The Star Signing: Omar Ramos (24, Left Wing)
Signed on a free from Huesca, the small, fleet-footed winger brings the dribbling ability to make incisive runs in the final third.
In: Antonio Rukavina (1860 Munchen, Free Transfer), Lluis Sastre (Huesca, Free Transfer), Patrick Ebert (Hertha Berlin, Free Transfer), Juan Neira (Lanus, Loan), Omar Ramos (Huesca, Loan), Henrique Sereno (Porto, Loan)
Major Outs: Nauzet Aleman (Las Palmas, Free Transfer), Jofre Mateu (Girona, Free Transfer), Juanito (Retired), Sisi Gonzalez (Osasuna, Free Transfer)
Final Grade: D
Michu to Swansea was one of the deals of the Summer. Unfortunately Rayo were on the wrong end of it.
Rayo fans should be asking who is in charge of negotiations at the club, as €2.6m is chips for a midfielder who managed 15 goals last term in a struggling team.
The Madrid-based side also lost major goalscoring assets in Tamudo and Diego Costa.
While Rayo have brought in plenty of new players, it is difficult to get over the jaw-droppingly low fee they received for Michu.
Star Signing: Alejandro Dominguez (31, Attacking Midfield)
Has a second chance in La Liga after failing to make an impact at Valencia. The former Russian League Player of the Year has plenty of quality, as Barca fans may remember when he led Rubin Kazan to a memorable victory at the Camp Nou.
In: Alejandro Dominguez (Valencia, Free Transfer), Jose Carlos (Sevilla, Loan), Nicki Bille Nielsen (Villareal, Loan), Adrian Gonzalez (Racing Santander, Free Transfer), Jordi Amat (Espanyol, Loan), Alex Galvez (Sporting Gijon, Free Transfer), Ruben Martinez (Malaga, Loan), Mohammed Abu (Manchester City, Loan), Franco Vazquez (Palermo, Loan), Manuel Arana (Racing Santander, Free Transfer), Rodri (Spartak Moscow, Free Transfer)
Major Outs: Michu (Swansea, €2.6m), Raul Tamudo (Pachuca, Free Transfer), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid, Loan Return), Alejandro Arribas (Osasuna, Free Transfer)
Final Grade: D
Beñat Etxebarria was the focus of plenty of attention this summer. In the end, the Andalusians managed to hold on to the Spanish international, but in the process let three other key players slip from their grasp.
Betis have lost their seasoned captain Iriney to Granada and could not renew loans for the exciting Jefferson Montero or star striker Roque Santa Cruz.
Pepe Mel’s recruits for the 2012-13 season all have plenty to prove. Particularly, Costa Rican attacking talent Joel Campbell, who is on loan from Arsenal.
The Star Signing: Joel Campbell (20, Striker)
The young Costa Rican spent last year on loan at Lorient and will be looking for an improved year with Betis in an effort to impress Arsene Wenger. He will not be guaranteed starts, but his versatility should prove to be an important asset.
In: Joel Campbell (Arsenal, Loan), Angel Lopez (Villareal, Free Transfer), Damien Perquis (Sochaux, Fee Undisclosed), Nosa Igiebor (Hapoel, €1.2m), Salvador Agra (Olhanense, €300k), Juan Carlos (Zaragoza, Loan), Ruben Perez (Atletico Madrid, Loan)
Promotions: Adrian, Alex Martinez, Alejandro Pozuelo
Major Outs: Roque Santa Cruz (Manchester City, Loan Expired), Iriney (Granada, Free Transfer), Jefferson Montero (Villareal, Loan Expired)
Final Grade: D
Zaragoza narrowly avoided relegation last season on the final day and look set to struggle again.
Los Blanquillos have brought in a number of players, but they will find it tough to replace the likes of Da Silva, Micael and Lafita.
Moreover, they struggled for goals at La Romareda and the club has done little to bring in support for Helder Postiga.
Manolo Jimenez’s men might not be so lucky two seasons in a row.
The Star Signing: Apoño (28, Central Midfielder)
Apoño joined on loan from Malaga in January and Zaragoza have now made him more permanent for a fee of €1m. The 28-year-old is a talented playmaker who can chip in with a goal here and there.
In: Lucas Wilchez (Colo Colo, Loan), Paco Montañes (Alorcon, Fee Undisclosed), Romaric (Sevilla, Free Transfer), Alvaro Gonzalez (Racing Santander, Free Transfer), Glenn Loovens (Celtic, Free Transfer), Javi Alamo (Recreativo, Fee Undisclosed), Stefan Babovic (Partizan Belgrade, Fee Undisclosed), Jose Mari (Real Jaen, Free Transfer), Cristian Sapunaru (Porto, Free Transfer)
Major Outs: Ruben Micael (Atletico Madrid, Loan Expired), Pablo Barrera (West Ham, Loan Expired), Juan Carlos (Braga, Loan Expired), Angel Lafita (Getafe, Free Transfer), Paulo Da Silva (Pachuca, Fee Undisclosed)
Final Grade: D+
The tiny Valencia-based club were the success story of La Liga last year, miraculously managing to make the Europa League despite boasting an apparently old and talentless squad.
Unfortunately, Levante have not held on to a number of their star players. Goal machine Arouna Koné will prove their main loss unless Greek striker Theofanis Gekas can hit the ground running in Spain.
Their squad is still thin as well and will struggle to compete in three competitions.
For a small club, however, it was always going to be difficult to bring in big names and the Valencians have made a number of useful squad additions.
The Star Signing: Theofanis Gekas (32, Striker)
An unspectacular poacher, the Greek has made a career of scoring goals for the underdog side. Levante have had great success with cheap strikers in previous seasons and Gekas should prove a success.
In: Christian Lell (Hertha Berlin, Free Transfer), Dariusz Dudka (Auxerre, Free Transfer), Theofanis Gekas (Samsunspor, Free Transfer), Pedro Rios (Getafe, Free Transfer), Pape Diop (Racing Santander, €200k), Michel (Valencia, Free Transfer), Keylor Navas (Albacete, Loan Return), Hector Rodas (Elche, Loan Return), Angel Rodriguez (Elche, Free Transfer), Nikolaos Karabelas (AEK Athens, Free Transfer), Massimo Volta (Sampdoria, Loan Return)
Major Outs: Xavi Torres (Malaga, Loan Expired), Arouna Koné (Wigan Athletic, €3.5m). Valdo (Atlante, Free Transfer), Javi Venta (Villareal, Free Transfer)
Final Grade: C-
It was sad to see Depor relegated in 2010, but they were quick to get themselves back in the top flight, winning Spain’s second division comfortably. They look set to stay after an impressive start to the season.
Andres Guardado is a huge loss at the Riazor. He has consistently been Depor’s best player for a number of years now.
Morel, Lassad and Colotto were also important starters in Oltra’s promotion winning team.
The Galicians have not done their best to replace these players, with the bulk of their acquisitions coming in on loan. The likes of Aguilar, Pizzi, Camuñas and Oliveira should, however, have the quality to keep Deportivo in La Primera before strengthening next year.
The Star Signing: Carlos Marchena (33, Centre-Back)
With Colotto and Morel having departed, Marchena will be charged with leading the defence at the Riazor. His brief time at Villareal was unconvincing, but the former Spanish international has plenty of class and experience. A solid defence is the most vital asset in surviving the drop.
In: Nelson Oliveira (Benfica, Loan), Javier Camuñas (Villareal, Loan), Carlos Marchena (Villareal, Free Transfer), Roderick Miranda (Benfica, Loan), Abel Aguilar (Hercules, Loan), Evaldo (Sporting Lisbon, Loan), Alberto Rodriguez (Sporting Lisbon, Loan), Pizzi (Braga, Loan), Andre Santos (Sporting Lisbon, Loan), Tiago Pinto (Rio Ave, Loan)
Promotions: Juan Dominguez
Major Outs: Andres Guardado (Valencia, Free Transfer), Diego Colotto (Espanyol, Free Transfer), Xisco (Newcastle, Loan Expired), Claudio Morel (Independiente, Free Transfer), Lassad (Celtic, Free Transfer)
Final Grade: C
It seems Giovani Dos Santos has finally escaped the nightmare that was his time with Spurs. The Mexican has joined the Balearic Islands team as they attempt to improve on their mid-table finish of last season.
Alongside the likes of Nsue and in-form striker Hemed, the former Barca starlet completes an impressive attacking line.
Mallorca’s problems this season could be in defence after losing reliable defensive pair Chico and Ivan Ramis. Antonio Lopez, however, is a welcome addition from Atleti.
Javi Marquez is also an excellent acquisition in midfield.
The Star Signing: Giovani Dos Santos (23, Attacking Midfielder)
Dos Santos was once described as the “next Ronaldinho.” His talents cannot be questioned. After all, he can produce moments of magic like this. His attitude, however, has been questioned. Lets hope he can stay away from the nightclubs from now on.
In: Antonio Lopez (Atletico Madrid, Free Transfer), Javi Marquez (Espanyol, Swap Deal), Giovani Dos Santos (Tottenham, €1m), Javier Arizmendi (Getafe, Loan), Ruben Miño (Barcelona B, Free Transfer), Ximo Navarro (Cordoba, Loan Return), Pedro Geromel (Koln, Loan), Anderson (Figueirense, Loan)
Promotions: Pedro Bigas, Kevin Garcia
Major Outs: Chico (Genoa, Loan Return), Sergio Tejera (Espanyol, Swap Deal), Ivan Ramis (Wigan, €6m), Gonzalo Castro (Real Sociedad, Free Transfer), Fernando Tissone (Sampdoria, Loan Return), Pablo Caceres (Torino, Free Transfer)
Final Grade: B-
Last season, Barcelona’s depth in defence was brutally exposed and it seemed only natural that Barca would focus on strengthening in this area.
Jordi Alba is an excellent left-back, but perhaps not the right left-back for Barca. Playing with two attacking fullbacks this season has already proven to brutally expose the Catalan defensive line and Eric Abidal’s calm presence is sorely missed.
Reinforcement at centre-back also seemed a logical option. Alex Song can play there, but it is definitely not his preferred position.
The new additions will provide much needed depth, but Los Cules have failed to solve all their problems.
The Star Signing: Jordi Alba (23, Left Wing Back)
Needs to prove he is not a defensive liability, but his contribution to attack is mesmerising. His searing runs from deep and his interplay with Iniesta have been highlights so far.
In: Jordi Alba (Valencia, €14m), Alex Song (Arsenal, €19m)
Promotions: Marc Bartra, Jonathan Dos Santos, Martin Montoya
Major Outs: Seydou Keita (Dalian Aerbin, Free Transfer), Ibrahim Afellay (Schalke, Loan)
Final Grade: B-
Granada finished just one point clear of relegated Villareal last season and seem intent on avoiding that struggle this time round after a busy transfer window.
El-Arabi is a proven goalscorer and if Granada need anything it is more goals.
Iriney and Toño have plenty of La Liga experience and Romanian Gabriel Torje comes on loan from Udinese with plenty of hype.
There is no guarantee Granada’s signings will be enough but, despite a rocky start to the 2012-13 season, the Andalusians should improve this year.
The Star Signing: Gabriel Torje (22, Winger)
Purchased by Udinese in 2011 as a replacement for Alexis Sanchez, the former Bucureşti man is blessed with great pace and technical quality.
In: Fabio Orellana (Celta Vigo, Loan Return), Antonio Floro Flores (Udinese, Loan), Gabriel Torje (Udinese, Loan), Toño (Racing Santander, Free Transfer), Iriney (Betis, Free Transfer), Darwin Machis (Mineros Guayana, Free Transfer), Juanma Ortiz (Rangers, Fee Undisclosed), Brayan Angulo (Atletico Baleares, Fee Undisclosed), Youssef El-Arabi (Al-Hilal, €4.5m)
Major Outs: Ikechukwu Uche (Villareal, Loan Expired), Abel Gomez (Cordoba, Free Transfer)
Final Grade: B
Getafe finished in a familiar position last season: mid-table. And there is certainly room for improvement at the Madrid-based club.
They have already produced the upset of the season, beating Real Madrid in a local derby, but consistency should be Getafe’s main objective.
Miku leaves on loan, but he makes way for two very exciting attacking prospects in Alvaro and Paco Alcacer, who joins on loan from Valencia. Alvaro impressed in La Primera last year, while Paco has been a goal machine at youth level.
Securing goalkeeper Miguel Moya permanently is a good move, but Getafe should have spent on their defence.
The Star Signing: Xavi Torres (25, Defensive Midfielder)
Getafe distinctly lacked this sort of player last year, and while all eyes will be on Alvaro and Paco, Torres will bring a calm, controlling presence to his new side’s midfield. He plays with intelligence, positional awareness and poise.
In: Borja Fernandez (Deportivo, Loan Return), Adrian Colunga (Sporting Gijon, Loan Return), Angel Lafita (Zaragoza, Free Transfer), David Abraham (Basel, Fee Undisclosed), Alvaro Vazquez (Espanyol, €5m), Paco Alcacer (Valencia, Loan), Xavi Torres (Levante, €400k)
Promotions: Abdel Barrada, Hugo Fraile
Major Outs: Daniel Cata Diaz (Atletico Madrid, €1m), Pedro Rios (Levante, Free Transfer), Miku (Celtic, Loan)
(Note: Miguel Moya, previously on loan, joins permanently from Valencia for €2m.)
Final Grade: B
The Europa League champions finished fifth in La Liga last year, thanks to a poor start to the season under Gregorio Manzano.
Simeone’s Atleti, however, are a completely different beast and their recent thrashing of Chelsea shows their intent this season.
In the transfer market Los Colchoneros have been relatively quiet, opting to focus on keeping their stars instead.
Holding on to Radamel Falcao is a signing in itself, with the Colombian’s father confirming there was plenty of interest all summer.
“The club secured an excellent fee for “Toto’ Salvio and there are adequate replacements for Diego, Lopez and Dominguez.
Further, Atleti benefit from the return of loaned players in hot form, such as Diego Costa and Raul Garcia.
The Star Signing: Cristian Rodriguez (26, Left Winger)
The Uruguayan winger is a ball of energy; he’s fast, hardworking and technically skilled. He comes with European experience and should provide an excellent wide option for Simeone. He was free as well.
In: Daniel Cata Diaz (Getafe, €1m), Emre Belezoglu (Fenerbahce, Free Transfer), Cristian Rodriguez (Porto, Free Transfer), Domingo Cisma (Racing Santander, Free Transfer), Raul Garcia (Osasuna, Loan Return), Diego Costa (Rayo, Loan Return), Joel Robles (Rayo, Loan Return), Jorge Pulido (Rayo, Loan Return)
Major Outs: Eduardo Salvio (Benfica, €13.5m), Diego (Wolfsburg, Loan Expired), Alvaro Dominguez (Monchengladbach, Fee Undisclosed), Antonio Lopez (Mallorca, Free Transfer)
Final Grade: B
Real Madrid are usually aces in the market and despite an atypically quiet summer, Florentino Perez still conducted a few pieces of excellent business.
The jury is still out over whether Luka Modric’s big move from Tottenham will prove successful, but Michael Essien should provide needed depth in midfield.
The real question is why Mourinho did not choose to strengthen at right-back or defensive-midfield. Los Blancos were linked with a late move for French fullback Mathieu Debuchy, which would have proven an excellent buy.
The transfer window, however, is not all about buying, and Real Madrid have cut plenty of “dead wood” from their squad, bringing in €28 million in the process.
The Star Signing: Luka Modric (26, Central Midfielder)
The Croatian is one of the best in the world in his position, but he will not be an automatic starter in Madrid. His qualities are perfectly suited to La Liga, but it is questionable whether he will have much of an impact in clashes against Barcelona.
In: Luka Modric (Tottenham, €30m), Michael Essien (Chelsea, Loan)
Major Outs: Nuri Sahin (Liverpool, Loan), Esteban Granero (QPR, €8m), Hamit Altintop (Galatasaray, €3.5m), Lassana Diarra (Anzhi, €5m)
(Note: Fernando Gago and Sergio Canales returned from loan abroad and were sold to Valencia for a combined fee of €11.5m.)
Final Grade: B
The Basques keep it simple with just two signings, but two excellent signings they are.
Angel should improve competition at the back, while Cori Castro is a real steal from Mallorca.
Sociedad are improving with each season in the top flight, and there is no reason why they cannot finish higher than twelfth, their end result last campaign.
Perhaps Montanier could have strengthened his midfield and the Basques still lack a quality number nine.
The Star Signing: Gonzalo Castro (27, Winger)
‘Chori’ has been an underrated La Liga player for years. He is an intelligent player in the final third capable of creating and scoring chances. He should blossom with Sociedad.
In: Gonzalo Castro (Mallorca, Free Transfer), Jose Angel (Roma, Loan)
Promotions: Inigo Martinez, Javi Ros, Ruben Pardo
Major Outs: Vadim Demidov (Eintracht Frankfurt, €500k), Joseba Llorente (Osasuna, Loan), Tono Ramirez (Guadalajara, Free Transfer), Mikel Aranburu (Retired)
(Note: Vela, previously on loan, moves permanently in a €3.8m move from Arsenal.)
Final Grade: B
Espanyol’s last season left much to be desired and they have not begun this one in a convincing fashion.
Los Perquitos‘ three losses from their opening three games, however, should not be taken as evidence for a failed summer. Expect improvement from the smaller of Barcelona’s two clubs after a transfer window of shrewd dealing.
Joan Capdevila and Simao are bargains despite their age, and Espanyol did well out of the swap deal exchanging Javi Marquez for young midfield prodigy Sergio Tejera.
Wakaso and Colotto add depth, while Longo and Stuani are good choices in replacing two departing young talents in Alvaro and Coutinho.
The Star Signing: Joan Capdevila (34, Left-Back)
The former Spanish left-back is a solid defender, but it is his contribution in build-up play that makes him such a good player. He has always been underrated and should never have moved from Villareal.
In: Diego Colotto (Deportivo, Free Transfer), Sergio Tejera (Mallorca, Swap Deal), Wakaso Mubarak (Villareal, Undisclosed Fee), Joan Capdevila (Benfica, €350k), Simao (Besiktas, Free), Samuele Longo (Inter Milan, Loan), Christian Stuani (Reggina, Undisclosed Fee)
Promotions: Cristian Gomez, Raul Rodriguez, Christian Alfonso
Major Outs: Javi Marquez (Mallorca, Swap Deal), Alvaro Vazquez (Getafe, €5m), Didac Vila (AC Milan, Loan Expired), Coutinho (Inter Milan, Loan Expired)
Final Grade: B+
Sevilla are one of the few teams in Spain that actually spent a little bit in the market, and for good reason. The Andalusians, normally a force in Spain, finished ninth last year and looked a shadow of the team that regularly enjoyed European competition.
Freddy Kanouté leaves the club a legend, but his time was up and Alvaro Negredo had already assumed the position of lead striker at the club.
Sevilla’s signings are impressive and should add depth and competition to a team in need of a shakeup. B/R’s Allan Jiang recently praised Cicinho, and in Alberto Botia Sevilla acquire one of Spain’s finest defensive prospects.
Expect better from the Andalusian club.
The Star Signing: Diego Lopez (30, Goalkeeper)
When Villareal were relegated it became a race to sign some of El Madrigal’s best players. For €3.5m, Sevilla have signed themselves a keeper who should prove reliable for many years to come.
In: Diego Lopez (Villareal, €3.5m), Hedwiges Maduro (Valencia, Free Transfer), Alberto Botia (Sporting Gijon, €3m), Cicinho (Palmeiras, €2m), Geoffrey Kondogbia (Lens, €3m), Javi Hervas (Cordoba, Loan Return), Bernardo Espinosa (Racing Santander, Loan Return)
Major Outs: Javi Varas (Celta Vigo, Loan), Frederic Kanouté (Beijing Guoan, Free Transfer), Julien Escudé (Besiktas, Free Transfer)
(Note: Martin Caceres made his loan to Juventus permanent for a fee of €9.5m.)
Final Grade: A-
When you are a newly-promoted team, the best thing you can do is add firepower to your squad.
Augusto Fernandez, Krohn-Deli and Park are all excellent signings for a club hoping to stay in La Liga this season.
The next best thing you can do is add some experience at the back.
Javi Varas stepped out of Andres Palop’s shadow last year at Sevilla and joins on loan as a goalkeeper at the top of his game. You might remember that incredible performance against Barcelona.
Gustavo Cabral looks reliable at centre back as well.
Celta Vigo have certainly done all they can in the transfer window to give themselves a chance of avoiding the drop.
The Star Signing: Park Chu-Young (27, Striker)
Nobody has really figured out why Arsene Wenger shelled out a few million pounds to bring in a striker who he would never play. It remains a mystery, but the South Korean can do this. Park is quick, technically gifted and has a proven eye for goal. He is an excellent acquisition.
In: Michael Krohn-Dehli (Brondby, €1m), Park Chu-Young (Arsenal, Loan), Augusto Fernandez (Velez Sarsfield, €1.5m), Javi Varas (Sevilla, Loan), Gustavo Cabral (Levante, Loan), Samuel Llorca (Hercules, Fee Undisclosed), Dani Abalo (Gimnastic, Loan Return)
Major Outs: David Catala (AEK Larnaka, Free Transfer), Fabio Orellana (Granada, Loan Expired), David Rodriguez (Sporting Gijon, Fee Undisclosed)
Final Grade: A
Valencia have had a transfer window good enough for a Football Manager tragic. Not only have they improved their squad, but they have also made profit in the process.
Los Che have played excellent football the last few seasons but their defence has always been to blame for their inconsistency.
Joao Pereira and Aly Cissokho come as bargain fullbacks, and new manager Pellegrino seems to already have a a much improved back four as evidenced in a hard fought contest against Barcelona last matchday.
Further, the signings of Guardado, Gago, Valdez and Viera will boost the overall quality of the squad, creating a competitive environment which should push Valencia further in the Champions League.
The club has also managed to secure a permanent deal for exciting young Sergio Canales from Real Madrid.
Atleti may rival Los Che for third this year, but do not be surprised if they have to rack up a considerable amount of points in doing so.
The Star Signings: Andres Guardado (25, Left Wing) & Aly Cissokho (24, Left Back)
For almost a third of the amount received for Jordi Alba, Valencia have acquired a better defender and an extremely underrated winger. Cissokoho is perhaps the player Barcelona should have bought and Guardado brings experience and class, all for free.
In: Joao Pereira (Sporting Lisbon, €3.7m), Andres Guardado (Deportivo, Free Transfer), Jonathan Viera (Las Palmas, €2.5m), Fernando Gago (Real Madrid, €3.5m), Nelson Valdez (Rubin Kazan, Loan), Aly Cissokho (Lyon, €5m)
Major Outs: Jordi Alba (Barcelona, €14m), Pablo Hernandez (Swansea, €7m),Mehmet Topal (Fenerbahce, €4.5m), Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao, €2.5)
Final Grade: A+
So what do you think?
Who do you believe has done the best out of the summer transfer window?
Which players will prove to be La Liga’s bargains and flops of the season?
Leave a comment below or hit me up on twitter. Follow @palabrasBarca
The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.
The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.