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La Liga 2012 Summer Transfers Top Ten

posted 5 Sept 2012, 15:17 by Sportech Nz   [ updated 5 Sept 2012, 15:19 ]

James Burn picks his top transfer from this summers’ transfer window that includes Alex Song from Arsenal to Barcelona, Nelson Oliveira from Benfica to Deportivo and Javi Varas from Sevilla to Celta.

It is set to be another fascinating La Liga season and it is great for once to see much of the league strengthening their squads, with the big two slightly curbing their spending. Valencia look to have a stronger squad and there have been many other wonderful additions to the league this season.

Hopefully you agree with the selections and if not, why not get in touch and let us know who you would have picked. One thing which is important to note, is that despite the lack of activity in this window compared to the likes of the Premier League and Serie A, is this can give a wealth of opportunities to the younger players coming through their respective Cantera’s.

Nélson Oliveira (Loan: Benfica – Deportivo La Coruña,)

What a prospect the young Portuguese striker is. He had limited game time in Euro 2012 to showcase his abilities, a tall cultured striker who possesses great close control and an ability to hold the ball up bringing others into play. Importantly for a striker he regularly finds the back of the net.

Through the Portugal national youth sides he has netted 26 times in 70 games, not a record to shout from the roof tops about, but for a striker who bases his game on team play, it is a good record especially in the National set up. Expect Oliveira’s stock to rise considerably this year in a league which may suit his style.

Javi Varas (Loan: Sevilla – Celta Vigo)

Javi Varas had to fight it out with the experienced Palop for a first team spot at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán last season. This year Sevilla have acquired a top keeper in Diego Lopez, meaning Varas like Courtois is best to get experience elsewhere. Barcelona only failed to score once at the Camp Nou last season and it was simply down to a truly inspired Varas.

There were countless world class stops to deny Pep Guardiola’s men, and with the last kick of the game Barcelona were awarded a penalty, Lionel Messi stepped up and Javi Varas produced another incredible stop to deny the best player in the world three points.

There were many other top class performances throughout the season, newly promoted Celta Vigo will need him to be at his best if they are to stay up this season.

Alex Song (€19m: Arsenal – Barcelona)

This is a fantastic signing. Barcelona only lacked squad depth last year, key injuries really disrupted them and put too much of a burden on youngsters as well as the defensive players suffering with tiredness. Alex Song can play anywhere in central midfield and also at the back.

Although he can occasionally give away possession, he has a mean eye for a pass and if the coaching staff can improve his discipline (roaming further forward) as well as the usual condemnation of giving the ball away, the 7th African to play for Barcelona in their history will be an extremely astute addition.

He already displayed flashes in the super cup, that he is capable of being on the same wavelength as some of the other Barcelona maestros, and importantly Messi.

Iriney (Undisclosed: Real Betis – Granada)

Granada have been unbelievably active this window, partially due to the loans of the likes of Floro Flores and Dani Benitez from fellow Giampaolo Pozzo owned Udinese. Iriney was a key element in securing a fairly comfortable relegation avoidance for the Seville side.

The midfielder plays with his heart on his sleeve and is capable of taking games by the scruff of the neck. Despite lacking technical ability, he is a born leader and will give the centre of midfield a hugely competitive edge at new club Granada.

With some high risk attacking additions on loan from Udinese and untested in Europe El-Arabi (€5m), Granada have a tried and tested La Liga player who they can depend on in Iriney.

Aritz Aduriz (€2.5m: Valencia – Athletic Bilbao)

This is an astute signing which has caught my eye. A proven La Liga goal scorer is coming back home to the Basque country, where he will see out the final years of his career. Athletic were nothing short of electrifying under Marcelo Bielsa last season, but suffered hugely from burnout due to a small squad.

In particular, key players in attacking areas such as Muniain, Llorente and Susaeta were unable to play at the high tempo which was so evident early on in the season, for instance in the Europa League tie against Man United. Aduriz will not only improve squad depth, but can also provide an insurance policy if Fernando Llorente does indeed leave.

With another former Basque prodigy (Ismael Lopez) and Aduriz in the squad, and assuming they avoid key player exits, it could be another memorable season for Athletic, but with more of an end product this time!

Thibaut Courtois (Loan: Chelsea – Atletico Madrid)

Finding a top class keeper is something which many clubs struggle to do. Chelsea have managed to find two of the highest quality. Courtois was such a success last season for Diego Simeone’s side, that they have rushed to extend the period for one more season.

At 20 the 6ft 6 keeper has so much more room to grow, not in inches, but in maturity and experience. He will one day be one of, if not the finest keeper in the Premier League, but the making of him will have been in this two year spell in Madrid.

Third in the Zamora trophy, only behind Barcelona and Real Madrid’s Valdes and Casillas, who have the best defences in La Liga, it is set to be another great season for the young Belgian.

Joao Pereira (€3.6m: Sporting CP – Valencia)

Valencia have made some fine additions this transfer window as Mauricio Pellegrino looks to bridge the vast gap between Barcelona and Real Madrid. Portugal came so close to upsetting the favourites Spain at Euro 2012, but were unable to beat the eventual winners on penalties.

Pereira was a key element to shutting the likes of Alba and Iniesta out in that Semi Final, but his performances in Portugal were equally impressive. Very capable at attacking down the right flank, has superb vision for a pass and possesses great pace. It is hard to find full backs who are so adept to high quality defending, and contributing further forward, but Pereira ticks both of those on the job description.

Fellow Portuguese right back Miguel has performed well for Los Che over the years, and with his national compatriot, they have a long term replacement. If only Valencia could have held on to that other rather good full back on the left side.

Gabriel Torje (Loan: Udinese – Granada)

With the activity at Granada this season, it is hardly surprising to find a second player on this list. The Romanian footballer of the year (2011) like many other short quick forwards has been dubbed the ‘Romanian Messi’… pressure then. Discovered by former Barcelona and Real Madrid player Gheorghe Hagi at Politehnica Timişoara, the winger was brought to Udinese from Dinamo Bucureşti for a substantial sum of €7m.

He was seen as a replacement for Barcelona bound Alexis Sanchez, but despite some promising performances, was seen as too raw to fill his boots just yet. A hard worker with tremendous pace, if he can become more clinical and improve his decision making he could well be an outstanding player.

At the tender age of 22 he has plenty of time to improve, and I think will catch the eye while in Granada.

Sergio Canales (€5m: Real Madrid – Valencia)

What a fantastic prospect the creative midfielder was when he burst onto the scene at Racing Santander. A majestic touch, good distribution and cool finisher, Canales looked like he was going to be a top player. However two things have slowed his career down, a premature move to Real Madrid resulted in few first team opportunities and then a loan spell at Valencia which could have been fruitful, ended in injury.

He is a very intelligent player who like Kaka in his prime, plays brilliantly ‘between the lines’ and capable of drifting onto either flank. He certainly has the potential to be one of the stars of La Liga, if he avoids injury he could be the best possible replacement for Silva since his departure to Man City.

Should be given licence to roam alongside another more defensive new recruit Fernando Gago, where his best talents can be showcased.

Jordi Alba (€14m: Valencia – Barcelona)

Without doubt the signing of the window. If La Liga lovers did not appreciate the abilities of the flying left back/winger during his time at Valencia, then he quashed any scepticism of his quality at Euro 2012. The versatile left sided player has interchanged positions during his time with Los Che, but with the troubles of Eric Abidal, Barcelona were confident in his abilities as a left back. He possesses electric pace, which can be seen getting in behind defences or chasing back opposing wingers.

His endurance is also phenomenal, with him being involved as a first team regular in both Euro 2012 and the London 2012 Olympics. That may have been a concern heading into the new La Liga season, but with Spain’s surprising early exit, Barca will be able to call on him from the off!

Still only 23, I expect him to be challenging those experts who say Ashley Cole doesn’t have a rival for the best left back in the world, come the end of the season.

Honourable Mentions

Fernando Gago (Real Madrid – Valencia)

-Very good defensive midfielder who didnt get the chances he deserved at Real Madrid, good range of passing and will be great foil for Sergio Canales.

Luka Modric (Tottenham – Real Madrid)

-Such a talented player, and is capable of increasing the ability of Los Blancos maintaining possession, rather than depending on the counter attack. He is not guaranteed a start for the champions, and with such a large transfer fee, leaves him just out of the top ten.

Carlos Marchena (Villarreal – Deportivo)

-So close to getting into my top ten, vast experience and capable of playing across the back four, will be vital to Deportivo this season.

Jordi Amat – (Espanyol – Rayo Vallecano)

-Formed a good partnership with Victor Ruiz at times before Ruiz ventured to Serie A for a brief spell. Given loan help him fulfil his potential, he may well have a lot to do at Rayo this season.

Carlos Vela (Arsenal – Real Sociedad)

-A very productive season on loan from Arsenal last season and was rightly snapped up for a fee around €3m. Had such raw talent at Arsenal, but never quite fulfilled early promise. La Liga suits him better and I he will kick on this season.

Ismael Lopez (CD Lugo – Athletic)

-Was considered on a par with current Athletic sensation Muniain while in the youth ranks at San Mames. His attitude wasn’t up to scratch though and went slightly off the rails. He has managed to find his feet again at CD Lugo, getting 34 apps under his belt last season. Will add good squad depth and fill in for Muniain when the youngster needs a rest.

Cristian Rodriguez (Porto – Atletico Madrid)

-Didn’t make it into my list despite this being a potential coup for Atletico. Great pace and crossing ability could be a perfectly delivery service for Falcao.