El Centrocampista

ROMANIANS, BRAZILIANS AND JAVIER SAVIOLA – La Liga goes to the January sales

The January Transfer Window is finally open and many La Liga sides will now be looking to take advantage of the sales to bolster their squads for the second half of the 2011/12 campaign.

To start with, Real Madrid have begun the search for a new centre back. Sergio Ramos has been filling in there for large parts of the season and with Ricardo Carvalho’s contract expiring at the end of the season, Jose Mourinho has started identifying targets. The main two are an opposite ends of their careers; Christian Chivu of Inter Milan and Gremio’s Mario Fernandes. Mourinho was a fan of Chivu from his time at Inter whilst a bid has already been rejected for Fernandes. The rest of the squad seems quite settled, though rumours over Neymar continue to persist…

Meanwhile, all is quiet in Barcelona ahead of the transfer window. Not known for their January spending, Guardiola confirmed that the club wouldn’t be signing anyone to replace the injured David Villa and Ibrahim Afellay, though Barcelona B striker Jonathan Soriano could be moved into the first team. There is plenty of talk that Barcelona have decided to bring Oriol Romeu back to the Camp Nou at the end of the season after impressing under Andre Villas-Boas for Chelsea.

Valencia are set to confirm the signing of Deportivo La Coruña’s Mexican international winger Andres Guardado, but the move will only take place in the summer. There is no word over the potential contract extension of full back Jordi Alba, but AZ Alkmaar’s highly rated midfielder Rasmus Elm is supposedly on Unai Emery’s shortlist should Dani Parejo move to Malaga.

Speaking of Malaga – you can be sure that the Andalusian side will make some sort of move this month. After a summer of spending, Malaga find themselves on the fringes of a Champions League place, so new faces could well secure their passage into next year’s tournament. Espanyol goalkeeper Carlos Idriss Kameni is a target along with Porto’s Nicolas Otamendi, Real Madrid’s Esteban Granero, Villarreal’s Borja Valero and speed machine Jefferson Farfan from Schalke. Manuel Pellegrini’s ambitious side are certainly a team to watch this month.

Sevilla are set to tie up the signing of Racing Santander’s centre back Alvaro Gonzalez and Jose Antonio Reyes whilst interest remains in Giovani dos Santos of Tottenham. The disappointment for Sevilla is that versatile defender Martin Caceres looks to be moving to Italy in a return to Juventus having spent a spell on loan there whilst at Barcelona. Sevilla are another team that could challenge for the Champions League with a bit more consistency, so manager Marcelino will be looking to strengthen.

And now to one of the biggest shocks of the transfer window. Having already struck a number of deals with Benfica, Granada could now be about to bring in Javier Saviola from the Portuguese giants. Formerly of Barcelona and Real Madrid, Saviola is seen as the man to score the goals that will drag Granada to La Liga safety. It’s a very audacious move but with minutes at Benfica rare, Saviola might fancy a 6 month loan to put himself in the shop window.

Unfortunately, many of the sides in La Liga are having financial troubles and therefore spending could be at a premium in the transfer window. Teams like Racing Santander, Rayo Vallecano and Real Zaragoza have little funds and will surely be taking to the loan market instead of purchasing players.


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