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LaLiga winter market review: €130M spent as Real Madrid, Villarreal and Atletico Madrid land big names

Spain's transfer window slammed shut on Friday evening, with many exciting new players arriving to again demonstrate the strength and competitiveness among all LaLiga clubs.

The most expensive signing of LaLiga's window was Real Madrid paying €30m for starlet Reinier Jesus from Brazilian club Flamengo. Other big money deals included Villarreal paying a club record €25 million to Borussia Dortmund for Spain international striker Paco Alcacer, Sevilla triggering the €20 million release clause of former Leganes forward Youssef En-Nesyri and Espanyol shelling out €20 million – another club record figure – to sign forward Raul De Tomas from Benfica.


LaLiga Santander clubs spent a total of €130.6 million, while taking in €89.9 million from player sales, with all 20 teams seeing changes to their squad over the course of the window. The ability of clubs up and down the table to make such investments is a further demonstration of the current strength and competitiveness of Spanish football, which has benefitted hugely from a fairer distribution of TV revenues and strict financial controls put in place by the LaLiga authorities.


RCD Espanyol were the biggest total spenders of the Spanish window, spending just over €40 million in total in a bid to avoid relegation to LaLiga SmartBank, with other signings being centre-back Leandro Cabrera, goalkeeper Oier Olazabal and winger Adrian Embarba.

Atletico de Madrid made a splash on deadline day by resigning Belgian attacker Yannick Carrasco on loan from Chinese club Dalian Professional. Earlier in the window, Real Madrid allowed right-back Alvaro Odriozola to join Bayern Munich on loan, while younger Barcelona squad players Carles Perez (to AS Roma), Jean-Clair Todibo (Schlake 04) and Carles Aleña (Real Betis) left to gain further experience elsewhere.


Deportivo Alaves were the LaLiga side with the most signings in total through the window, with five players arriving on loan - Roberto, Ismael, Ljubomir Fejsa, Victor Camarasa and Edgar Mendez. Leganes were busiest overall, with seven squad players leaving and four reinforcements including exciting young Sevilla winger Bryan Gil and former Lega forward Guerrero.

The quietest club were Athletic Bilbao, whose Basque-only ethos limits their transfer dealings, so the only business at San Mames was left-back Cristian Ganea going out on loan to Romanian club Vitorul. Other interesting moves included Osasuna taking striker Enric Gallego on loan from Getafe, RC Celta bringing in Russian forward Fedor Smolov and Real Betis signing Argentina international midfielder Guido Rodriguez. 71 players in total have arrived at a new LaLiga side, while 77 players moved on for a new challenge either elsewhere in Spain or further afield.

LaLiga's ability for constant improvement is a big factor in the 2019/20 season having been so competitive so far, with newly promoted Granada leading the table in the autumn, and shock results including RCD Mallorca beating Real Madrid, reigning champions Barça losing at Levante, and Getafe now lying in third position in the table.


Better financial health means even traditionally 'smaller' clubs can attract international quality stars, with standouts from January being the arrival of France international Hatem Ben Arfa at Real Valladolid, Italy right-back and Roma captain Alessandro Florenzi joining Valencia, AC Milan's Spanish star Suso arriving at Sevilla FC and Borussia Dortmund's electric striker Paco Alcacer heading back to join Villarreal. All top players arriving in Spain from the rest of Europe's top five leagues.

The busy transfer window all round means that global fans of LaLiga are set for further drama and excitement through the remainder of the campaign. Stay tuned to see how all the new faces settle in, and who might be the surprise stars of the second half of the season. Alcacer wasted no time in scoring on his debut for Villarreal, while Raúl De Tomás has scored in each of his three first games for Espanyol… We're in for a thrilling second half of the season!


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