How the transfer window didn't go to plan for LaLiga's biggest clubs

Real Madrid failed to make a signing for the first time in 40 years, Barca missed out on Memphis Depay and losing Thomas Partey infuriated Atletico fans… LaLiga’s biggest clubs had a NIGHTMARE transfer window

  • Fans of Spanish clubs are less than impressed with their side’s transfer dealings
  • The window slammed shut on Monday with Real Madrid buying nobody
  • Barcelona let more players go than they bought as part of a money saving plan
  • Atletico Madrid fans are also puzzled as to why they let Thomas Partey go so late
  • Sevilla were the real winners, holding onto key players and making shrewd deals 

When the buzzer sounded for the end of the transfer window game show in Spain on Monday night the overwhelming noise from supporters was groans of disappointment, that and a few screams of fury from Valencia fans.

Diario AS reported in its Tuesday edition that the Spanish league had witnessed an overall 65 per cent fall in money spent compared to last year with €1.3billion (£1.1bn) spent last summer and just €410m (£372m) paid out this time.

And to futher emphasise the trend Real Madrid had not signed a single player for the first time in 40 years.

The transfer window closed with Real Madrid not buying anybody for the first time in 40 years

But Real did manage to get both Sergio Reguilon (L) and Gareth Bale (R) off of their books

But more than the expected drop in money spent overall, and more than Madrid’s decision to buy no one (they did tell us they weren’t bringing anyone in) what upset supporters was the way in which clubs operated – particularly Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia.

For Barca fans, to overdo the game show metaphor, it was ‘take a look at what you could have won’. What happened to Memphis Depay? Remember Latauro Martinez and Georginio Wijnaldum? And Eric Garcia, wasn’t he going to join if they could sell a centre-back?

They had given away Luis Suarez and Rafinha and sold Arthur Melo, Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic and Nelson Semedo, and it seemed they had also sold their supporters quite a few dummies.

Barcelona announced losses of €97m (£88m) for last season on Monday morning, almost as if to remind fans that the frugal window was justified.

But supporters still scratched their heads as to why they were unable to get any initial fee for Brazilian midfielder Rafinha, or for Suarez.

Ronald Koeman took over at Barcelona knowing he had to sell before buying any players

Luis Suarez was the biggest name to go during the summer clear out, moving to Atletico

Despite trying to raise funds, Barcelona still couldn’t afford a deal for Lyon’s Memphis Depay

They were also trying to understand why they loaned central defender Jean-Clair Todibo to Benfica for €2m (£1.8m) but then were not able to bring in Eric Garcia from Manchester City to replace him. That deal will now take place next summer but in the meantime Ronald Koeman is light in an area of the pitch that was already causing him some concern.

Not only did Atletico Madrid fail to buy anyone on deadline day but they sold midfielder Thomas Partey to Arsenal for €50m (£45m). Their supporters were not happy.

Some blamed the former Atletico youth teamer for leaving so late in the window. Others were upset at the club, saying they sold him late deliberately to excuse not being able to buy a replacement.

It’s certainly true that they had Lucas Torreira waiting in Madrid to come in as a cut-price loan replacement. But judging from the fact that Partey played 90 minutes at the weekend, Atletico really did seem to be genuinely surprised by Arsenal’s decision to cough up his release clause on the last day of the window.

They will, at least, now have a further month to sign a replacement because Partey’s release clause was paid by Arsenal, in effect leaving the Spanish club with no alternative but to sell. Any player they sign in the extended window will have to be from the Spanish league. 

Atletico fans were left furious when Thomas Partey left the club so late on deadline day

Not only did Atletico not buy anyone on deadline day but they sold Partey to Arsenal for £45m

Valencia fared worse than anyone. And this time the club’s supporters were not divided as to who they should blame. Owner Peter Lim sold some big name players in the summer with Rodrigo joining Leeds, Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin going to Villarreal and Ferran Torres moving to Manchester City.

For the club to then make no signings was below even the low expectations of coach Javi Gracia who might even now contemplate his future at the club.

If the transfer window had a winner then it was probably Sevilla. Not only did they come out of it still with Jules Kounde as one of their own but they were reinforced by the arrival of Dutch central defender Karim Rekik from Hertha Berlin for €2m (£1.8m) and AZ Alkmaar winger Oussama Idrissi for €12m (£10m).

Maybe this really is the year when they can challenge the top three.

Valencia were torn apart this summer with the club allowing a host of star players to leave

If there was a transfer window winner in Spain, it was Sevilla after they held onto Jules Kounde

Real Madrid and Barcelona still have the best squads. And having sold players to the value of €89m (£80m) with Sergio Reguilon’s move to Tottenham and Achraf Hakimi’s switch to Inter alone bringing in €70m (£63m), Madrid have hit the target in terms of reducing outgoings.

There is still the January window to put things right for all clubs. But as Barcelona’s financial accounts suggested on Monday – things are not going to get any easier, any time soon.

With spectators unlikely to be let back into the Camp Nou in the near future projected income for this season has been set at €791m (£718m). Considering costs last season totalled €959m (£871m) that underlines the need to go on cutting back.

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will be in the same position – looking enviously at the Premier League and hoping Sergio Reguilon and Thomas Partey don’t do too well in their first seasons in England.

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