La Liga’s early bird deals

With the European Championships been and gone, much focus turns to the summer transfer window for La Liga teams. Several have already been and done their business, while others are still waiting to make their first move.

Barcelona have made the main deal of the window thus far, spending €14m on Jordi Alba from Valencia. The move was the worst kept secret in Spain and it was only a matter of time before it went through. With concerns over Eric Abidal’s long-term health and genuine lack of cover in the left-back area, the signing made perfect sense for Barca. What they get with Alba is a product of La Masia, one whom although developed elsewhere never forgot where home was. A fantastic season with Valencia, followed by a sparkling Euro 2012 makes Alba look an absolute bargain.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, are yet to step into the market, with a central midfielder and right-back high on the list of their priorities. Luka Modric is the name spoken of most frequently in the Madrid Press for the midfield role. Malaga are yet to enter the market too, but will need to do so as they face Champions League duties next season. Others have been far busier.

Atletico Madrid, for instance, are one, though it hasn’t been at great cost. Centre-back Daniel ‘Cata’ Diaz was brought in from Getafe, while Cristian Rodriguez will provide competition in wide areas after joining from Porto. Emre was a signing touted for a while and with his deal now complete he’ll replace Diego who it looks like won’t be returning to the Vicente Calderon. Out went youngster Alvaro Dominguez to Borussia Monchengladbach for €8m, and he fired a parting shot at the club saying they didn’t look after their canteranos.

Athletic Bilbao are another team that has been busy, and they need to be as they look to add depth into a thin squad – as everyone knows, the market they work within is small given a Basque-only policy. They’ve so far brought in two players at different points in their career – Veteran striker Aritz Aduriz signed for €2.5m and young winger Ismael Lopez, who returns to the club he started his career at from Lugo. Both will provide competition and alternatives in Marcelo Bielsa’s system, and despite Aduriz’s age there are no doubts over his fitness or work ethic. Lopez, although raw, has shown real glimpses of his talent and will cover for Iker Muniain when he’s injured or fatigued.

Valencia likes to get their business done early, and they’ve managed to do that to some extent. Jonathan Viera arrived from Las Palmas to give more support in attacking midfield, while Andres Guardado came on a free transfer from Deportivo La Coruna and will offer competition in the same areas but in a more direct style. The main signing has been Joao Pereira – the right-back from Sporting CP had an impressive Euro 2012 and looks a steal at €3.5. Valencia have long looked for a strong, confident right-back and looking at Pereira they have that and more so. Tough tackling, physical, quick and smart on the ball he could vital for Los Che. Sevilla have also added, signing Javi Hervas from Cordoba to bolster their central midfield which looked light at times last season and Diego Lopez, the strong and consistent goalkeeper from Villarreal. Exciting Chilean youngster Bryan Rabello joins from Colo-Colo, and will alternate between the B team and first team – the club has high hopes for his potential though.

Meanwhile, Osasuna struck an excellent deal by signing Real Valladolid’s promotion winning captain, Sisi. The right-sided midfielder had an excellent campaign in Segunda and for the Pamplona based outfit to land him it was something of a coup. He’s an experienced individual who will provide Jose Luis Mendilibar with plenty of flair in attacking midfield. Angel Arribas signed from Rayo Vallecano too, the centre-back had a fine season with Rayo as they managed to retain their Primera status and his commanding presence in defence will suit the Osasuna style perfectly.

Mallorca also managed a smart deal, signing Javi Marquez from Espanyol for €1m, as Sergio Tejera goes the other way. Marquez has had to deal with injuries and being out of favour at Espanyol, but remains an extremely talented player who is able to dictate games with his technique and vision – it will be interesting to see a player of this nature in Joaquin Caparrós’ high octane approach. Real Betis signed Salvador Agra sometime ago from Sporting Braga in Portugal, and the highly-rated attacking midfielder will be one to watch this season. Ruben Perez joined Betis on loan from Getafe, and will provide some depth in central midfield. Getafe snapped up a few players too, top of the list being Angel Lafita from Real Zaragoza. The talented midfielder is an astute signing by Getafe, and will no doubt provide some much needed dimension for Luis Garcia. Miguel Angel Moya also joined permanently from Valencia for €2.5m after enjoying a successful loan.

Selected transfers so far

Atletico Madrid – IN Cristian Rodriguez FREE, Emre FREE, Daniel ‘Cata’ Diaz €1m

Athletic Bilbao – IN Aritz Aduriz €2.5m, Ismael Lopez FREE

Barcelona – IN Jordi Alba €14m

Real Sociedad – IN Chori Castro FREE

Sevilla – IN Javi Hervas €3.5M, Diego Lopez €3.5m, Bryan Rabello FREE

– IN Jonathan Viera €2.5m, Andres Guardado FREE, Joao Pereira €3.5m

OUT Mehmet Topal €4.5m, Jordi Alba €14m.