|Football Bettor's Survey|
"Guardiola - Rebuilding Barca"
And still we wait.
Ronaldinho may be off to AC Milan leaving a Brazilian shaped gap for Barcelona to fill but there still seems to be a lull in the La Liga transfer activity.
The rumour mill has certainly been working overtime and you get the feeling that all it takes is one for big transfer to happen and then a lot of other moves will fall into place.
However, even though La Liga does not kick off until Saturday the 30th of August, 1 day before the window officially slams shut until January; a few clubs have their competitive campaign starting early and unsurprisingly, these clubs have made a few purchases so far.
Deportivo La Coruna Already Involved
Deportivo La Coruna have already kicked off their competitive season with their Intertoto 3rd round match against Bnei Sakhnin from Israel and a 2-1 away victory should allow them to wrap up the leg at home convincingly.
It was only a few years back that Deportivo were regular contenders in the Champions League and no doubt they will be aiming to stamp their mark on the forthcoming Uefa Cup campaign.
The club has moved quickly to bring in a few players over the summer but the majority have been free transfers or loan deals. Money has been paid for Angel Latifa and Fillipe Kamirski with a fee of around 2 million euros being spent on both players.
Deportivo La Coruna finished a disappointing 9th in La Liga last season and will no doubt be hoping for a stronger showing this year. With their competitive edge being honed a month before the other clubs, they will be hoping to get off to a flying start when the league campaign begins at the end of August.
The two La Liga teams who kick off their competitive season in the Champions League have also been busy in the transfer market as they start their European season on the 12th or 13th of August.
Barcelona Bound for Britain
Barcelona are heading to Britain this week and will play two games in Scotland in an effort to raise their match sharpness before these vital games.
Given that the SPL kicks off on the 9th of August, it makes sense for Barcelona to play matches against teams whose fitness levels will probably be a bit ahead of theirs. They will face-off against Dundee United and Hibernian.
If Barcelona want any advice about the dangers of lack of match sharpness they need only look at Hibernian. The green team from Edinburgh have already been dumped out of Europe this season when they were easily dismantled by Elfsborg from Sweden 4-0 on aggregate.
Of course, this summer has seen a lot of change at Barcelona with the Frank Rijkaard era ending in shame and dishonour and a large overhaul of the side has taken place.
Out have gone Deco and Ronaldinho with rumours insinuating that Eto’o and Eidur Gudjonsen are likely to join them in the exodus from Camp Nou.
New coach Josep Guardiola is nowill no doubt want to stamp his mark on the team and his signings have indicated a change in policy in Barcelona. Over 60 million euros has already been spent this summer and with a couple more undisclosed signings, this figure is likely to be even higher. With talk that the clubs spending is not yet complete and hints that Arshavin, Robinho, Adebeyor or David Villa may yet be seen in the famous red and blue of Barca.
A Good Start is Vital for Barca
If any of these players come to Camp Nou they will be lining up alongside other new signings Gerard Pique, Seydou Kita, Daniel Alves, Martin Caceres, Alexander Hleb and Manuel Pinto.
The most money went on securing the signature of Daniel Alves but the singing of Hleb from Arsenal has caught the most attention. When Arsenal were in flowing form last season, Hleb was at the centre of everything and the Belarus international may prove to be an instrumental signing.
Barcelona badly needs to get back on track this summer and time will tell if the new regime is a success. Barcelona do not come up against their close rivals Madrid until the middle of December so they have a lot of time before their harshest test of the league season but with many pitfalls before then, Barcelona will need to get off to a flying start.
Atheltico Have the Unseeded Champions League Blues
Athletico Madrid are the other Spanish team involved in the Champions League qualification round and unlike Barcelona, Athletico will be unseeded in the 3rd round.
This means they could come up against any of the major teams in the knock out round although both clubs would be exceedingly unlucky if such a tie was made.
The spending policy of Athletico has been more modest than that of Barcelona’s but the club has still spent in excess of 16m euros.
Gregory Coupet, the Lyon goalkeeper, will bring a vast amount of Champions League experience and his nerve could be a vital factor in the Madrid clubs battle to make the group stages. Costing around 1.5m euros, Coupet should be a strong addition to the backline of Athletico. The major signing by the club so far is definitely John Heitinga who signed from Ajax for a fee of around 10m euros.
The biggest transfer fee so far was the 29 million euros Barcelona paid to Seville for Alvez but Seville have spent 18m of that on Sebastien Squillachi from Lyon. Squillachi has been one of the centre backs of the French champions for the past 2 seasons and he has amassed 13 caps for his country so far. Villareal have spent 10 million euros on Jozy Altidore as they look to embark on the Champions League group stages.
No Real Moves by Real...Yet!
You will have noticed that the name of Real Madrid has been absent so far but they have been active this summer, just not much has been finalised. The club have signed Ezequiel Garay from Racing Santander for 10 million euros on a six year contract but they promptly loaned him back to his previous club for the forthcoming season.
No doubt Real will make moves in and out the door before La Liga kicks off but for now the Spanish champions appear content to sit and wait for their targets to become available.
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