El Centrocampista

DEADLINE DAY IN LA LIGA – Who was on the move in Spain

Deadline day passed in La Liga with few shocking moves…well, few moves altogether as the tightening purse strings of Spain’s elite were felt heavily with January coming to a close.

The busiest side were Espanyol, beefing up their squad with three new signings. The main swoop was for talented young Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho on loan from Inter Milan for the rest of the season. Having found games hard to come by in Milan, the 19 year old attacking midfielder joins Espanyol to try and get Los Periquitos hitting the net more often.

Joining Coutinho were two faces familiar to La Liga followers. Victor Sanchez and Kalu Uche have both had long stints in Spain but moved on to Neuchatel Xamax in the summer, joining a revolution there under a new Russian backer. Unfortunately it hasn’t quite gone to plan and Xamax have now been thrown out of the Swiss league, leaving Sanchez and Uche without clubs.

Espanyol have pounced on their misfortune by signing two cheap and experienced La Liga players.

Villarreal made one signing, offering Marco Ruben some help up front by signing his fellow Argentine Alejandro Martinuccio from Fluminense in Brazil. A loan deal until the end of the season, Martinuccio will finally take some of the burden off the shoulders of Ruben, who has been deputising for the injured Nilmar and Giuseppe Rossi as Jose Molina makes his first signing as manager of the Yellow Submarine.

Levante secured the services of Algerian international striker Abdelkader Ghezzal from Serie B outfit Bari, having had his unsuccessful loan at Cesena cancelled with no goals in 13 games. His record in Italy isn’t too impressive, but Levante have a knack of getting the best out of players unwanted elsewhere.

Struggling Racing Santander swooped to grab one of the more interesting loan deals, borrowing Fiorentina’s Senegalese striker Khouma Babacar until the end of the season. With Fiorentina purchasing Amauri and Kenneth Zohore from Juventus and Copenhagen respectively, Babacar knew that he wouldn’t be seeing much time on the field. Babacar comes in to try and boost a strikeforce that has scored just 17 goals this season – only Real Zaragoza and Granada have scored less.

Speaking of Granada, they are another team that has moved to bolster their front line. Sao Paulo prodigy Henrique was expected to sign a loan deal with Premier League side Queens Park Rangers but that deal fell apart. In stepped Granada to bag the Brazilian until the end of the season, with option to buy him for £6m when the loan expires.

It must have been a day for strikers as Sporting Gijon moved on from the sacking of long-serving manager Manuel Preciado by signing Getafe forward Adrian Colunga on a loan deal. Colunga has been heavily out of favour with new Getafe boss Luis Garcia so this move was no surprise. Gijon are another team that struggle for goals, but someone as sharp in the box as Colunga could see them safe in La Liga for another year.

And finally, Real Zaragoza brought their January spree to an end by signing Catania’s Argentinian right back Pablo Alvarez on yet another loan deal. With Marco Motta signing for Catania, Alvarez was pushed to second choice and replaces Efrain Juarez at La Romareda after the Mexican’s loan from Celtic was cut short.

As you can see, finance really dictated what teams were able to do on deadline day, but with some smart loans on show I think most teams that did business can be happy with what they achieved as we head into the second half of the season.


  1. B4rc4

    2 February, 2012 at 15:42

    What happened to Dos Santos joining Villarreal?

  2. Iain McMullen

    2 February, 2012 at 18:59

    It fell through – I think Spurs were asking too much for him also Nilmar still hasn’t gone to Brazil yet.

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