The big ones go out on the market
The winter transfer window opened and bore the feeling that something would change in the Spanish League, which in recent years remained passive in January on the market. Today there is more than noise. There are big words, there are also start-ups because two Europeans have already stepped up since the beginning of 2018: Liverpool bought Virginia van Dijk for about 85m euros, breaking the status quo (the Dutchman is now the most expensive defender in history) and the striker Sandro Wagner reinforced Bayern (Munich) against 13m euros for Hoffenheim to allow Robert Lewandowski to leave.
“We are ready to improve and buy someone if it is within our reach,” said Barcelona’s senior coach Ernesto Valverde. He has a hole in his squad after leaving Neamar to Paris Saint-Germain and wants to fill him with the attraction of Philippe Coettinho from Liverpool, who would not have the right to play for the “los coules” in the spring stages of the Champions League.
In Real Madrid, the arrival of Kepa Arizabalga is awaiting the arrival of the penalty in the 20-million-euro clause to break the contract with Athletic Bilbao. Goalkeeper playing cat and mouse with Basque training journalists on Tuesday, not coming out on the pitch in the media outlets.
It is not common for the technical secretariats of the two Spanish clubs to be so active at this stage of the season. This was not the case in the previous two years, when the Chinese money brought more income from spending for the Spanish clubs. Barca has not added new players to the front seven window after Ibrahim Aphelai in the 2010/11 season, while Madrid only took Diego Lopez in January 2013 and Lucas Silva in January 2015. Not the same with Valencia, Sevilla, Villarreal and Atletico Madrid.
Valencia is aiming at Luciano Viei, whom Athletes put on the stall (and who was on the verge of crossing at Sporting Lisbon) after apparently giving up the more expensive Sandro Ramirez from Everton. “Los Angeles” know that Simone Jozza must cure his knee, and they are looking for him an alternative. They are also working on another operation – the final redeem of Gonzalo Gueses from PSG, where they have to balance their book for Financial Fairplay. In Sevilla, Vincenzo Montella’s arrival on the bench seems to have returned Stevan Nisonzy on stage, and Oscar Arias, the sports director of the club, finished the purchase of Corinthians Arana’s left back for 11m euros.
Roulette began to spin. Diego Kosta and Vitolos are not quite winter additions to Atletico because they were bought months ago but could not play until January 1 because of the transfer embargo on the club. Las Palmas opens the door of the entrance and the exit with the arrival of coach Paco Hemes, when Galvestos, Jairo and Argentinian Penyalba came. Levante returned to Spain, Coke, transferred from Schalke 04, and in Betis again is Ruben Castro after his Chinese odyssey. Numerous clubs are trying to bet on the safe and inexpensive players already in La Liga, such as the Chilean Itura who has returned to Malaga, like Robert Ibañes (Getafe) or as Pap Dioop and Oreyana (Ebara). There are two other targets to the same profile: Gheorghe Krichovich, Getafe, and Sandro, requested by Valencia and Malaga. With huge wage costs, money is out of reach and prevention against old failures helps the policy of restraint. Only three are the famous football players bought in the winter for the past 20 years: Aymar, Marcello and Gonzalo Igguin.
Now, however, it has the effect of the domino and it seems that the pieces will start to fall one after the other. We already felt a huge earthquake a year ago, when Premier League earned more revenue for its clubs for the first time in history. Then the English clubs spent 276 million euros against the tainted Spanish, barely 28 million.
This is a long-lasting trend in England. In January 2016, Premier League representatives threw 252 million at 160 million, 164 million and 147 million in the previous winter windows – many over the clubs of La Liga (the biggest January spending in the last five years is three – 57m euros), and jumping over Serie A, Bundesliga and League 1. In France, PSG raised the level of spending last winter by 70m euros, with clubs in the country totaling 167m euros.
Today, however, La Liga is also on the train on which the big players are on the winter market. Do not exclude the possibility of transfer blasts in Spain until midnight on January 31st.