The top 10 La Liga storylines from the winter transfer window



It was a very busy deadline day on Thursday, as various Spanish clubs strengthened their squads for the second half of the season.

The 2023-24 winter transfer window has come and gone, and some of the squads in La Liga now look quite different. There were arrivals and departures, as sporting directors around the country made moves to improve their teams’ chances of achieving their objectives. Here’s all you need to know.

Ten new arrivals at Granada

Without a doubt, the busiest club during the January transfer window was Granada. The Andalusian club won the Segunda last season but were struggling in La Liga and knew change was needed. With that in mind, they completely revamped the squad by bringing in 10 new faces: goalkeepers Augusto Batalla and Marc Martinez, defenders Kamil Piatkowski, Faitout Maouassa and Bruno Mendez, midfielder Martin Hongla, wingers Theo Corbeanu, Facundo Pellistri and Kamil Jozwiak, and forward Matias Arezo.

Vitor Roque is already earning points for Barcelona

It had been known for some time that the young Brazilian striker Vitor Roque was going to join Barcelona, and the 18-year-old made the move from Athletico Paranaense to Catalonia at the beginning of January. He has already scored a match-winner for Barca, netting the only goal of the team’s 1-0 win over Osasuna, so the fans are excited about this top prospect.

Atletico Madrid win the race to sign Arthur Vermeeren

Having helped Royal Antwerp win a championship and having recently made his Belgium national team debut, Arthur Vermeeren entered the January transfer market as one of the most sought-after young players in Europe. And, it was Atletico Madrid who won the race to sign the 18-year-old Belgian midfielder.

Gabriel Paulista switches Valencia for Atletico de Madrid

Atletico Madrid also made headlines by signing Gabriel Paulista from Valencia in January. The arrival of the 33-year-old centre-back is great news for fans of Los Colchoneros, as there were gaps in central defence, especially after the injury of Cesar Azpilicueta.

Real Betis make a statement by signing Pablo Fornals

It was a particularly busy deadline day at the Estadio Benito Villamarin, the home of Real Betis. Of all the club’s signings, the acquisition of midfielder Pablo Fornals from West Ham really stands out. The midfielder has played six times for Spain and is 27 years of age, so very much in his prime. His arrival is excellent news for coach Manuel Pellegrini.

Real Betis strengthen their attack with Chimy Avila and Cedric Bakambu

Real Betis also set out to solve some of their goalscoring headaches on deadline day. Firstly, they brought in Chimy Avila from Osasuna, as the Argentinian has built up a reputation as a scorer of great goals. Not only that, but Los Verdiblancos also signed Cedric Bakambu to help with their scoring needs. The centre-forward is returning to the league where he netted 31 times in 75 appearances for Villarreal between 2015 and 2018.

Familiar faces return

Bakambu is far from the only former La Liga player to have returned to Spanish football’s top flight in the past month. For example, former Valencia star Gonçalo Guedes has moved back to the Valencian Community to sign with Villarreal, where he’ll encounter centre-back Eric Bailly, who has re-joined El Submarino Amarillo. Elsewhere, Juanmi is back in Spain’s top flight after signing with Cadiz, Facundo Pellistri has returned to the competition by joining the Granada project and Ilaix Moriba has come back to Spain to play for Getafe.

The youngest ever La Liga player signs for Almeria

Another returnee is Luka Romero, the young winger who has joined Almeria on loan from AC Milan. He is a very special player in La Liga history, as he remains the youngest ever footballer to take to the pitch in Spanish football’s top division. Romero earned that honour when he debuted for Mallorca against Real Madrid in 2020, aged 15 years and 219 days.

Andres Guardado and Ivan Rakitic bid farewell

Of course, a transfer window is as much about departures as it is arrivals. And, two of the most emotional departures saw players pass through Seville Airport. In the green and white half of the city, Andres Guardado waved goodbye to Real Betis after making 218 appearances for the club since joining in 2017, the most of any foreigner in club history. Then, Sevilla bid farewell to Ivan Rakitic, their former captain and a player who made 323 appearances for the team across two stints.

Carlos Vicente makes the step up to La Liga

Deportivo Alaves made an intriguing signing this window by bringing in winger Carlos Vicente from Racing de Ferrol, the Galician club taking the Segunda by storm. Vicente scored four goals and assisted four more from the wing in 21 appearances in the second tier, and has already added two more assists since making the step up to La Liga by joining the Basque club.



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