It has been an arguably low-key summer for Spanish clubs in terms of transfer movement, with the most talked-about move being one that looks unlikely to actually take place. Regardless of where Cesc Fabregas ends up playing his football for the forthcoming season, though, there have been plenty of moves worth reading up on. Here is Backpage Football’s guide to the switches so far…
A is for.. Adriano
The Sevilla schemer made a surprise move to Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona for last week for a fee of 9.5million euros, rising to 13.5million. The Brazilian can play in a multitude of different positions and this versatility will come in useful for the Catalan giants.
B is for.. Botia
Barca’s impressive young defender Alberto Botia has completed a permanent transfer to Sporting Gijon, where he was on loan last season. The fine form of Barcelona B centre-backs Andreu Fontas and Marc Bartra played a part in the decision to let Botia go.
C is for… Canales
Who else? Sergio Canales lit up La Liga last season with some virtuoso performances for Racing Santander. The teenage attacking midfielder only turns 20 in February next year, but could play a significant role for the Bernabeu side this season and should also make his presence known on the international scene before too long.
D is for… Di Maria
Argentinian left-winger Angel di Maria has arrived at Real Madrid from Benfica. Despite a quiet World Cup with Maradona’s men, di Maria enjoyed a superb season in Portugal where he won the league title and shone in European competition.
E is for… Etxeberria
It’s finally goodbye to Joseba Etxeberria, the Athletic Bilbao stalwart who retired at last this summer. His farewell game, played by the Athletic first team against a swarm of youngsters, was a joy to watch. Etxeberria played his final season at San Mames without receiving payment and will live forever as a Basque legend.
F is for… Fabr… Filipe Luis
In the absence of any monumental Catalan homecoming to discuss, for now we’ll have to settle for Atletico Madrid’s brilliant capture of Deportivo left-back Filipe Luis. With him, Depor were largely magnificent last season. Without him, they flopped. Atletico’s notoriously porous defence should benefit hugely.
G is for… Guti
The Real Madrid veteran has carried his luscious blond locks around the Bernabeu turf for the last time. Turkish side Besiktas will benefit from his services next season.
H is for… Hleb
He’s back! But not for long! After his return from a loan spell at Stuttgart, Barcelona are frantically trying to offload Belarus international Aliaksandr Hleb in order to finance a move for another Arsenal midfielder. Sure I’ve read that somewhere anyway…
I is for… Ibagaza
Argentinian midfielder Ariel Ibagaza could not agree terms on a new contract at Villarreal and, after ten years in La Liga with Mallorca and Atletico Madrid as well as the El Madrigal side, he moves on this summer to Greece’s Olympiakos.
J is for… Jesus Datolo
As one Argentinian leaves, another arrives. Jesus Datolo was left out of Maradona’s World Cup squad but will play in La Liga this season for Espanyol, having arrived on a one-year loan deal from Napoli.
K is for… Khedira
One of the unsung heroes of the World Cup, German international Sami Khedira was one of a handful of fairly low-profile Real Madrid signings in recent weeks. Although not on the Ronaldo or Kaka level, the signing of Khedira will bring important strength in depth to Mourinho’s new Madrid midfield.
L is for… Laudrup
La Liga legend Laudrup leaves Moscow to manage Mallorca. Alliteration aside, the great Dane is currently waiting on an appeal to UEFA in order to overturn the governing body’s decision to ban his new club from European competition this season due to financial problems. Laudrup formerly managed Getafe for one season and faces a mammoth challenge replacing the heroic Gregorio Manzano in the hotseat for the islanders.
M is for… Mourinho
Of course. Jose takes over from the slightly unfortunate Manuel Pellegrini at the Bernabeu and will tackle the tantalising task of toppling Barcelona with relish. A former employee at the Camp Nou under Bobby Robson, Mourinho’s arrival has – somewhat improbably – managed to add even more spice to El Clasico. Tasty.
Watch out for the second part of the A to Z of Spanish summer switches as we move on, in unashamedly predictable fashion, to the latter half of the alphabet.