Cape Town - Spanish clubs have been busy during the winter
window, signing talents from across the globe.
Keen to strengthen their squads in time for the
second half of the 2018/19 La Liga season, clubs across Spain have
taken to the January transfer market and have acquired stars from around the
world. Here are five of the most intriguing transfers to keep an eye on in 2019.
Álvaro Morata (Chelsea to Atlético de Madrid)
Atlético de Madrid have secured the services of
former academy player Álvaro Morata, signing the striker on a year-and-a-half
loan deal from Chelsea. The 26-year-old is reuniting with former academy
teammate Koke, as well as Spain national team colleagues like Saúl Ñíguez and
Diego Costa, and there are high hopes for him in the Spanish capital where
Atleti are looking to overtake Barcelona in the league table. Morata has won
the LaLiga Santander title before, scoring 15 goals for Atleti’s city rivals Real
Madrid as he helped Los Blancos win
the championship in 2016/17. Mouth-wateringly, his first home match will see
him take on his former side and current rivals in the Madrid derby.
Diego Lainez (Club
Améria to Real Betis)
The 18-year-old Mexican starlet Diego Lainez
was wanted by a number of clubs across Europe, but Real Betis beat all the
other suitors to his signature by agreeing a deal with the player early on in
the January window. The winger has already made four appearances for the
Andalusian side and his energy and drive were vital in his new club’s
quarter-final victory over Espanyol in the Copa del Rey. Fans at the Benito
Villamarín will hope to see many similar contributions from Lainez over the
coming weeks, months and years.
(Leicester City to Villarreal)
Villarreal need a spark to kick-start their season
and believe they’ve found one in Vicente Iborra. The 31-year-old midfielder
returns to Spain after a year and a half in England with Leicester City and the
Yellow Submarine will be counting on
his wealth of experience as they look to climb up the table. Iborra previously starred
in the Spanish top flight for Sevilla and for Levante.
Lei Wu (SIPG to
Espanyol already have one of the best strikers
in LaLiga Santander in Borja Iglesias but strengthened their attack further
with Chinese forward Lei Wu. National team captain and Shanghai SIPG’s all-time
top goalscorer, Lei Wu made his Chinese Super League debut aged just 14 and has
a proven knack for finding the back of the net. Now in LaLiga, he’ll be looking
to do just that in Spain.
Samu Sáiz (Leeds
United to Getafe)
One very intriguing signing is Getafe’s loan
acquisition of Samu Sáiz from Leeds United. The creative midfielder returns to
Madrid – where he was previously on the books at Getafe, Atlético de Madrid and
Real Madrid – after being an important part of Marcelo Bielsa’s
promotion-chasing side over the first half of the 2018/19 season. The
28-year-old should expect to pick up minutes at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez in
the second half of this campaign, given the long-term injuries that Getafe have
suffered in their midfield, as the side from the capital look to secure a
return to European football next season.