With less than a month to go until the 2013-14 Premier League season, English clubs have scoured the Iberian peninsula for talent this summer.
That’s just the way it is.
After Michu’s sensational season for Swansea City last year, phrases such as “there’s top value in La Liga” and “Spain is the place to go for cheap yet dependable players” are being banded around the soccer community.
But it seems as if most of the Spanish clubs have cottoned on to English teams stealing their promising talents for a relatively small sum.
Nonetheless, Spain has still been the destination of choice for PL sides to splash the cash this summer.
Take Manchester City for example, they’ve brought in Sevilla’s two best player in Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo but it didn’t come cheap. The Spanish duo cost in excess of $50 million.
For two international soccer players that’s still pretty cheap in this day and age, but still, every English club searching for the next ‘Michu’ is having a tough time finding him.
Perhaps Liverpool have had the best value for money so far, with Brendan Rodgers bringing in Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas for $20 million. Both excelled with Barcelona’s B team and Celta Vigo respectively last season and could bring excitement and Spanish flair to Anfield. While Swansea are the masters once again, as Michael Laudrup knows the Spanish domestic market like the back of his hand.
After coaching Real Mallorca and playing in Spain, Laudrup can sniff out a La Liga bargain in a Force nine storm. He has added Jose Canas, Jordi Amat and Alejandro Puzuelo all for less than $10 million.
Those are just a few clubs, but young Spaniards are popping up all over the Premier League and the rest of Europe. And other Spaniards David Silva, Pepe Reina, Jose Enrique, Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla have all proved successful in the past.
The value is there, you just have to know where. And even with the vast scouting networks every Premier League club employs today, certain managers (Laudrup) and certain clubs just seem to get better value for money than others. But at the end of the day, besides Real Madrid and Barcelona, Spanish soccer is in ruins financially, as even Champions League regulars Valencia are going through a cash crisis.
English clubs provide the money and hold the Spanish teams to ransom. That’s just business.
Spanish shores have proved fruitful for PL players in recent time, Michu is just the one everyone focuses on. He cost $3 million and scored 22 goals in his first season in England. So you can see why.
But if any of the other aforementioned players have the same impact Michu had, then English clubs will continue to raid Spain for emerging talent.
Years ago France and Scandinavia were the places to look for the best deals on players. And this ‘bargain bucket’ mentality in Spain won’t last for much longer. Premier League clubs will look to get the best deals before the market price eventually rises.
Then they’ll move onto the next nation or region to scavenge and compete. But until then, let the Spanish invasion carry on.