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Thursday January 3 2013
A chilly winter in Spain?

David Cartlidge is here to look at why, bar a few special cases, you shouldn't get too excited about the transfer window in Spain.

As ever the transfer window across Europe generates a huge amount of interest and intrigue, but with clubs in Spain unable to rely upon strong financial resources, you can expect things to remain quiet in and around La Liga. Like the case was in the summer, the majority of deals will be loans, some with options to buy and others not so, plus an odd free transfer here and there.

A few teams are well acclimatised now, and by their actions in the summer they showed they can cope operating within tight margins. Others will have to adjust, and follow suit, otherwise they might risk slipping down the table and rupturing their finances further.

Even if money does come into the Spanish game, not much of it will likely be reinvested. Say for example Alvaro Negredo left for the bright lights of the Premier League at a fee of €15m, Sevilla would likely only spend €3-5m of it replacing the striker. Sevilla themselves already snapped up attacking midfielder Miroslav Stevanovic, another Bosnian, but with their recent shareholders’ meeting producing grim figures, it's the exit door that all the focus is upon. Michel will just have to make do, and try and salvage another season that has seemingly ended before the break.

One team whose name will come up a lot, will be Deportivo La Coruna, where more pressing matters are away from the pitch, rather than on it. With President Augusto Cesar Lendoiro [pictured] admitting administration may not be far away, they can't risk relegation again. A poor recruitment drive in the summer has cost Jose Luis Oltra his job, and new man Domingos Paciencia will have a new raft of players to mould into something resembling a team. Jorge Mendes, the 'Super Agent', has been holding regular meetings with Depor about transfers and has been tasked with saving the club. One thing is for sure, expect plenty of Portuguese players at the Galician outfit.

At the top, Barcelona and Real Madrid are expected to deal with only outgoings, and even then it will be young fringe players. Atletico Madrid will be doing all they can to ease their own money concerns, and that includes shifting underused players like Silvio off the wage bill. Despite their excellent League position, Atleti will unlikely make any significant moves and Diego Simeone will have to make do with his current squad.

Valencia are set to tweak slightly, with Ernesto Valverde perhaps wanting to imprint his own style more - plus, with Sofiane Feghouli off the Africa Cup of Nations, a replacement has been mentioned. Again, despite Valencia's status as one of Europe's elite clubs, they'll be looking to loan. Malaga are looking at loans such as Mauro Zarate, but have in-house financial uncertainty to deal with first, as they look to secure the money they're owed from European competition. Manuel Pellegrini needs new faces though, as the team has looked tired after European travels. Real Betis have little room to manoeuvre and their main concern will be the expiring contracts of Adrian, Benat, Pozuelo and Jose Canas.

Then we get to a group of teams who did well in the summer as far as recruitment goes. Levante, Rayo Vallecano, Getafe, Real Sociedad, Real Valladolid and Real Zaragoza all bought carefully with strict planning. Many of the faces they brought in have been excellent, while just a few have yet to make an impact. For many of them, it will be a case of getting players wage bill too, with Getafe looking to loan out Adrian Colunga for example.

Athletic Bilbao are of course a special case, with few options available to them due to their Basque-only policy. They are linked with the likes of Nacho Monreal, Benat etc but it's difficult to see them pulling the cash out. The club are insisting Fernando Llorente will stay, and with that in mind it's advised they get the best out of him before his departure to either Italy or England.

Real Mallorca won't operate much either, and with a competitive squad coming into the season that was only hampered by injuries, they might actually have enough to propel them up the table once everyone is fit. Granada changed much over the summer, and the risk will be whether they do again and complicate their situation. Celta Vigo will make changes, and look for a bit more depth to a decent squad but an extremely thin one - if they can get more support for Iago Aspas in the form of ex-loan player Fabian Orellana that would be perfect.

Espanyol are another who will hope players coming back from injury will help them out of their predicament, and that they could get a loan with the same impact of Coutinho at some point this month. Osasuna have injuries and a small squad, plus they were one of the clubs to perform poorly in the summer window, so they'll need to be smart here. The Pamplona outfit have an interest in Miguel de las Cuevas at Sporting Gijon, and his creativity is desperately needed in this predictable team.

So in summary, if you like loans then this is the window for you, but if you're looking for earth shattering fees and talk of transfer war chests, move along. As with every window though, it won’t be short on rumour.

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