While the transfer market in La Liga and across Europe hots up, with Isco moving from Malaga to Real Madrid, Neymar joining Messi and co at Barcelona and Leo Baptistao making the move across Madrid from Rayo to Atletico and of course the constant Gareth Bale rumours. I’m going to go a different route and talk about 5 La Liga transfers that have slipped under the radar not grabbing many people’s attention.
First up is indeed a Real Madrid signing.
Daniel Carvajal : Bayer Leverkusen to Real Madrid : €6.5m
The 21 year old product of the Madrid youth system returns to the club after being originally sold to the German club last summer, he’s been so impressive for the 3rd place Bundesliga side Madrid exercised the buy-back option just one season after him leaving. After making 32 appearances scoring 1 goal and 7 assists to his name it seems a logical choice to bring him back, Carvajal also spent the summer in Israel with the Spanish Under 21 squad that lifted the European Championship, making one appearance. Furthermore he will be brought in to challenge Alvaro Arbeloa who is seen by many as Madrid and the Spanish National side’s weak link, it would not surprise me if Carvajal started the season in the right-back slot and stayed there for the duration.
Benat : Real Betis to Athletic Bilbao : €8m
Another just like Carvajal, Benat is another who is on his way back to the club where he began his career, the Basque Xavi as I like to call him came up through all 3 teams in Bilbao yet first time around only made one appearance for the the senior side. The 26 year-old playmaker’s fantastic season at Betis last season helped the Andalusian club into the Europa League for this coming season, his superb passing skills and ability to dictate play from the centre of the park along with his 4 goals and 8 assists in 33 La Liga starts showed how important he was to Pepe Mel’s side and got him 5 caps for the Spanish National team. I was actually quite surprised when I learned Benat joined Athletic, after strong rumours linking him with a move to the Barclays Premier League. I have no doubt he will fit in perfectly to Ernesto Valverde’s new look side and will link up well in the midfield with Oscar de Marcos and Iturraspe giving them that calming influence they missed last season with Javi Martinez’s departure.
Marko Marin : Chelsea to Sevilla : Season-long loan
With the departure of Jesus Navas to Manchester City, Sevilla made the sensible move of getting Marko Marin to the club, must like Navas he is a pacy quick winger possibly with a little more trickery and less direct. Since moving to Chelsea last summer from Werder Bremen the 24 year-old found it difficult to break into the side after gaining an injury not long after joining the West London club, he only made 7 appearances last term for the blues and maybe this move to La Liga will be one to kick-start his promising career. Capped for the German National side 16 times goes to show there is definitely talent there, with a good pre-season under his belt and regular football I think we will see a fully motivated Marin in form he produced for Werder Bremen rather than the bit part role he played whilst a Chelsea, if both player and club get this right it’s a win-win situation for both.
Andreas Ivanschitz : Mainz to Levante : Free Transfer
Ivanschitz a seasoned well-traveled player, with a cultured left foot, a set-piece specialist and a goal scoring player-maker will prove to be a very shewed signing by Levante. Capped 60 times for the Austrian National side, his style of play and star power got him the nickname the Austrian David Beckham. He’s spent the last four season’s at Mainz and has been a very big part of Thomas Tuchel’s side. If Levante can get the same impact from him as he made at Mainz they are onto a winner he will certainly add to the Levante side like i said before with his set-pieces and midfield goal-scoring prowess, also the slower pace of the Spanish game at times will help him show his technical ability on the ball. He’s one player I will watch with interest to see how he fares in his new surroundings.
Lastly one of my favourite La Liga players.
Joan Verdu : RCD Espanyol to Real Betis : Free Transfer
Verdu ended his 4 year stint with the Catalan club to sign and be Benat’s replacement at Betis ahead of the new season and their venture into the Europa League and on a free transfer Pep Mel has picked himself up a fantastic under-rated midfielder who will fit perfectly into the role in the team vacated by Benat and offer more of an attacking threat in the process. Verdu also has good leadership qualities with him being the former captain of Espanyol, where he made 144 appearances and scored 23 goals in the process. His main attributes is his wonderful left foot, his ability to drift into space and ghost past players in an almost effortless fashion add to that his ability to set up many goal-scoring chances for teammates and you have a quite wonderful footballer. So much so of the transfers in La Liga this summer, Verdu may just prove to be the bargain buy.
So as the season draws ever closer be sure to keep an eye out for these 5 players who I think will do very well in their new surroundings.