Real Betis have been the busiest club in La Liga this summer, bringing in nine players and with 14 leaving the first-team squad. This is not an unusual occurrence for the club, who have seen similar busy transfer activity over the past two seasons, but there is a difference this time.
This summer’s business appears a lot more astute and new Coach Quique Setien has surely had a say behind some of the transfers considering his expansive style of football demands a certain type of player. The 58-year-old left his former club Las Palmas after a contract dispute and will be keen to build on his burgeoning reputation at Betis, regarding as a sleeping giant.
The main departures are Dani Ceballos, Ruben Castro, Cristiano Piccini and Petros, players who were near enough mainstays in the starting XI last time around. However, there was no stopping Ceballos from leaving for Real Madrid after the impressive European Under-21 Championship he had, and even though Castro’s goals will be missed, it is time to find a replacement for the 36-year-old.
New signings Antonio Barragan, Jordi Amat and Zouhair Feddal have bolstered the defence, Victor Camarasa, Andres Guardado and Javi Garcia strengthen the midfield, whilst Sergio Leon, Riyad Boudebouz and Cristian Tello improve the attack. The impressive thing is that, according to transfermarkt.com, these transfers have cost nearly €28m, and Los Verdiblancos have collected nearly €27m in their sales, so overall they have spent very little money.
Arguably the most impressive of these signings is Boudebouz, who has impressed in Ligue 1 with Montpellier across a number of seasons. At just €7m, his creativity and flair will be crucial in replacing Ceballos, although the Algerian prefers to play further forward than the Madrid man.
Leon is another bargain – a striker who was Osasuna’s best player last season, netting double figures in goals in a team that was destined for the drop very early on. He should replace the aforementioned Castro as the main source of goals, and with more chances being created for him, his tally should only increase.
Guardado and Garcia also stand out as signings who will vastly improve the team with their defensive solidity and ability to help Betis keep the ball moving in the new style of play under Setien.
There are no guarantees of success with making so many signings; players need time to settle and with a batch of new faces and therefore new teammates, things might not click initially. Pre season has been pretty average for Beticos but the main indicator of how well the signings have integrated will be when the season starts.
Setien has not ruled out bringing in more players, but it is fair to say that Betis fans should be very optimistic for the campaign with a Coach who likes to play exciting, attacking football and new players who should be able to do just that.