El Centrocampista

BARGAIN BASEMENT – Three signings that could grab the headlines

By Richard Thorburn

With the start of the new season quickly approaching, managers across Spain have been frantically searching in order to try and add that finishing touch to thier current squad.

With over 50 players arriving to various La Liga clubs in the past few months, the sucesses of all transfers are bound to be different.

Will the manager be heralded a genius for buying that 18-year-old South American for a couple of pounds and a pack of chewing gum, or will he be lambasted for spending big on a flop.

Time will only tell, but for now here are three signings that have that  air of ‘bargain’ about them.


Pablo Piatti –Valencia – £6.6 million

When Almeria secured the €5 million signing of Pablo Piatti back in the summer of 2008 it sent shockwaves through his native homeland.

Pablo Piatti could be a great signing for Valencia.

The diminutive, then 18-year-old Argentine decided to chose a struggling La Liga club over the numerous big clubs that were said to be fighting for his signature.

Three years later and after playing over 100 games for the recently relegated Andalucía outfit, Piatti joined Valencia this summer and now has the opportunity to showcase to a higher level.

Comfortable on the left of midfield or as an attacking midfielder, Piatti has grown into a more mature and polished player and while comparisons to compatriot Lionel Messi may be a bit premature, there is little doubting his potential.

A key part of the Argentine under 20 squad that won the FIFA U20 championship in 2007, the natural progression to his national side looks a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’.

With speculation surrounding the future of Juan Manuel Mata, it could be that Piatti is a readymade replacement should Valencia decide to cash in on their star.

For just over £6.5 million, it could well be one of the summer’s biggest steals.


Ruud Van Nistelrooy – Malaga -Free

Many an eye will be on Malaga this year, after they have invested heavily in the squad following their Sheikh takeover.

Rather ironically however it could well turn out that the best buy this summer could  be for free.

Although now thirty five, Ruud Van Nistelrooy arrives on the south coast after a successful one and a half seasons at Hamburg in which he contributed 12 goals.

Previously at Real Madrid where he averaged a goal every 1.25 games, he comes back to Spain with a whole wealth of knowledge of La Liga.

While others will draw more attention, such as the £18.5 million capture of Santi Carzola, the natural born goal poaching skills of Van Nistelrooy could be the key factor in any Malaga success this season.


Christian Zapata – Villarreal –£6 million

Villlareal have secured a coup this summer with the signature of Columbian defender Chrisitan Zapata for a fee believed to be in the region of 6 million pounds.

Very much a ‘fans favourite’ at old club Udinese, the 24-year-old has been in demand for a number of years with a  host of top teams competing for his signature.

Standing at 6ft 2″, Zapata is sure to strengthen the ‘Yellow Submarines’ as they look to build on last season’s fourth place finish.

One Comment

  1. Heath Chesters

    4 August, 2011 at 20:00

    Trying not to be biased of course… I’ll add a fourth.

    French winger Yohan Mollo. Signed by Granada CF for €1 million from AS Monaco and boasting nicknames like “The Cristiano of Monaco” and “Ronaldo of the Rock”, he’s a player with great technical ability who can play on either wing or through the middle if required.

    He spent last season on loan at Caen and a browse through some YouTube videos of his performances last season would suggest that Granada have grabbed a really talented bargain. I’ve seen reports that Carlo Ancelotti was tracking him last season, whilst he was Chelsea manager.

    Looks like he’ll frighten a few defences this season and will certainly be one to keep an eye on.

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