João Félix, Hazard, Griezmann: outstanding signings in growing market
FC Barcelona's French striker Antoine Griezmann greets fans prior to the Joan Gamper Trophy soccer match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain, Aug. 4, 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/ANDREU DALMAU
Real Madrid's Eden Hazard celebrates after scoring the 1-0 lead during the friendly soccer match between FC Red Bull Salzburg and Real Madrid in Salzburg, Austria, Aug. 7, 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/CHRISTIAN BRUNA
Portuguese player Joao Felix (2-L) poses for photographs with (from left) Atletico Madrid's Managing Director, Miguel Angel Gil Marin; club's President, Enrique Cerezo, and team's Sport Director, Andrea Berta, during his presentation as new Atletico Madrid player at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, in Madrid, Spain, July 8, 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/Juan Carlos Hidalgo
By Juan José Lahuerta
Madrid, Aug 13 (efe-epa).- The singing of João Félix, Eden Hazard and Antoine Griezmann by Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively grabbed the headlines during summer transfer window in Spain, and show LaLiga's big three are gearing up for a clash of the titans in the coming season.
Overall, Spanish clubs spent a total of 1.2 billion euros ($1.35 billion), meaning LaLiga was the second biggest spending league in the world, behind the English Premier League (1.5 million euros)
In fact, the three top dogs spent a total of 800 million euros, almost the same as the combined expenditure of all the league's clubs last year.
Real Madrid took the lion’s share with a total of 303 million euros, while Barcelona reached 255 million euros and Atlético Madrid forked out 243.5 million euros. The final total is pending a rumored return of Neymar Jnr, whose time at Paris Saint-Germain looks to be on thin ice.
Atléti, Real Madrid and Barcelona, then, have all banked on spending big to strengthen their teams.
However, for Atléti, it goes a little beyond that, the summer transfer market has changes it image, from a classic 'people's club' to a powerhouse. Coach Diego Simeone said it himself.
With a new stadium, large facilities and heady investments, Atletico is a strong candidate for the title.
The signing of Portugal forward Félix is the most expensive of this summer, costing some 126 million euros, and up to now, he has shown that the investment was well placed.
Félix’s preseason with Atlético has been dazzling and, if nothing goes wrong, he is destined to be a worldwide LaLiga figure.
After the departure of some of Atlético’s iconic players such as Diego Godín, Filipe Luis or Juanfran Torres, the club had to invest, especially in the defensive line.
Defenders Felipe and Renan Lodi of Brazil, Mario Hermoso of Spain and Kieran Trippier of England have also landed at the Wanda Metropolitano to add strength to the back line.
In addition, Atletico reinforced the midfield with Spaniard Marcos Llorente and Mexican Hector Herrera, and the front with the Serbian Ivan Saponjic.
Atlético’s machine is greased to do something big.
Real Madrid has not been left behind, either.
Its bland season has forced club president Florentino Perez to try renewing his squad to get back on the winning track.
His ostentatious signing was Belgium forward Eden Hazard, for whom he paid Chelsea 100 million euros.
It has also been reinforced with the Serbia forward Luka Jovic in an attempt to replace the top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo after his departure to Juventus last summer.
Eder Militao of Brazil and Ferland Mendy of France were Real Madrid’s new signings for the defense.
Waiting for another arrival, the Madrid squad has to decide the future of some names like James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale.
The market for Real Madrid has not closed yet.
Meanwhile, the current LaLiga champion, Barcelona, has also made strong bets to improve the squad.
The major change came with the signing of France forward Griezmann (120 million euros).
It was not Barcelona’s only signing.
Defender Junior Firpo of Spain will be a competition for Jordi Alba on the left side, Dutch Frenkie de Jong is to reinforce the center of the field and Brazilian Neto is to be Barcelona’s goalkeeper after the departure of Cillesen. EFE