With the season’s end nearly upon us, we at Forza Futbol will start a new summer series reviewing the silly season aka transfer window comings and goings. We will try and focus on the official and nearly there transfers and stay away from the rumor mill in this column.
The Silly Season officially opens July 1st, but there has been a little bit of ‘official’ business thus far in La Liga.
Looking at the big picture, I don’t expect a lot of activity or money spent during the summer, aside from the big two behemoths, (Real Madrid and FC Barcelona for the novice), because most clubs are broke. That said, there will be a lot of wheeling and dealing, aka loans, player swaps, and third party ownership influenced deals, as well as promotion of a few players from the B squads and Segunda ranks.
‘I want Champions League’
Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente leaves on a free to Juventus. This transfer dragged on and on last summer as well as the earlier part of this season. Athletic wanted money for Llorente, while the player just wanted to get out of dodge. The tall striker was benched for nearly the entire first half of the season and only started games after the transfer with Juventus was made official. It’s hard to leave Athletic, so very hard, just ask Javi Martinez.
Juventus gets a prolific 6 ft 5’, 28 year old striker, at his prime that is skillful with his feet, excellent in the air and can defend as well. Llorente gets Champions League football with one of the top teams in Serie A. Juve is a team on the up. It is well run, financially sound, and always in the running for the scudetto and Europe. The question remains how easily can Llorente adapt to the physicality and technical style of Serie A? Several naysayers believe that it will be a difficult transition because Athletic’s style has always been built around Llorente. I say just give the man a little time, 3 – 6 months and he will be fine.
An opportunity to shine at the top
29 year old winger, Manu Lanzarote moves from Second division Sabadell to RCD Espanyol on a free. This is a more common type of La Liga transfer. Manu Lanzarote has had a solid season in Segunda with Sabadell. Local big boys Espanyol were so impressed that they have made him their first signing of the 2013-2014 season.
Lanzarote is a product of La Masia, played several games with Barca C, promoted up to the B team, but couldn’t make the cut at Barca B and never played with the top dogs. He has been a journeyman in the lower divisions in Spain and now has received a chance to shine in the top flight.
What a steal!
18 year old Uruguayan defender Jose Maria Gimenez goes to Atletico Madrid for 1M Euros. The U20 International comes from Danubio and is said to be a diamond in the rough. The player passed a medical in Madrid and has signed with Atleti for 5 years. Jose Luis Perez Caminero, Sports Director of Atletico, described Gimenez as “a natural talent and a quick defender with a good shot and ball handling skills”. Gimenez is excited to play for Diego Simeone and says his style is to “go for every ball as if it’s his last.” The youngster just broke into the first team as a professional player this past season and has only played 10 games with Danubio. He is 6”1 tall. The kid looks to have plenty of potential, but he is extremely green and young Most likely he will start off with Atletico B team and then progress to the top flight team, should he make the grade.