The transfer market in Spain has been slow to get going this summer. The economic constraints put on teams by the league are a big reason for that. It means Spanish clubs have to be more reactive than they might like to be. That said, Barcelona have signed İlkay Gündoğan from Manchester City and Real Madrid have brought in Jude Bellingham so it hasn’t been all quiet on the Iberian peninsula. Notable departures include Pau Torres and Nicolas Jackson from Villarreal and Sergio Canales, one of the most stylish of Spanish footballers of the last decade also looks set for an exit from Real Betis. Whether your team has lost or gained so far in the summer transfer market, every team still has work to do before the window closes on 1 September.

La Liga Clubs in 2023-24

Skip to each club, below:

Alavés ••• Almería ••• Athletic Club

Atlético Madrid ••• Barcelona ••• Cádiz

Celta Vigo ••• Getafe ••• Girona

Granada ••• Las Palmas ••• Mallorca

Osasuna ••• Rayo Vallecano ••• Real Betis

Real Madrid ••• Real Sociedad ••• Sevilla

Valencia CF ••• Villarreal


Alavés have been promoted to La Liga on merit. It’s also true that they were the beneficiaries of an incredible stroke of luck against Levante in the play-off final when a stray hand resulted in a penalty that sent them up in injury time.  

They are a practical, if functional, team under Luis García and need to improve going forwards. Luis Rioja was one of their main creative forces on the wing last season, leading the team with 6.72 expected assists (xA) and he needs help. Alavés delivered 727 open-play crosses last season, the third-highest figure in the Segunda, and the quality of those crosses will have to improve. Alavés’ priority will be still be on crossing as a way to generate chances as it means they don’t have to risk too many bodies in attack, thus preventing the threat of being counter-attacked. 

Luis Rioja Crossing

They have been linked with a move for Munir, who is most comfortable drifting out to the left wing and Maxi Gómez, a big-bodied striker capable of capitalising on all those crosses.   

Alavés are light on attacking players and any arrival will be welcomed but wingers are what they need most. 

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A lot has changed since the end of the season at Almería. Rubi is no longer the manager and Vicente Moreno has taken over a team that just barely avoided the drop last season.  

The former Espanyol manager’s job will be to fix an ailing attack amid rising uncertainty. El Bilal Touré has been linked with a move away from Spain’s east coast. The Malian led the team last season with 6.32 non-penalty xG and seven goals. Luis Suárez has signed permanently from Marseille after moving on loan to Almería in the second half of last season. Léo Baptistão is the other option in attack but he doesn’t generate enough chances on his own.  

Almería have to rectify their lack of creativity if they want to avoid getting dragged into a relegation scrap next year. Adrian Embarba was the winger with the highest xA on the team last season with 2.60 but their main source of creativity came from central midfield (Lucas Robertone, 4.52 xA) and their full-backs (Alejandro Pozo, 2.63 and Sergio Akieme, 2.15).  

Largie Ramazani has shown flashes of his ability but for now, at 22, he is more spark than substance. After that, there’s very little in the attacking third to get excited about and until that changes, the burden of creating chances will lie elsewhere. 

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Athletic Club

Athletic Club were one of the most confusing teams in La Liga last season. They are managed by the calm and highly-capable Ernesto Valverde and play an aggressive and well-coached style of high-intensity football. They finished eighth in the league despite having much better underlying numbers. They finished fifth in expected goals for and third in expected goals against in the league.  

Athletic Club can’t do much in the transfer market other than dip in the small pool of Basque-born players available to them. They have signed Elijah Gift from Liverpool’s academy and a number of other young players with roots in the region as they look to replenish that pool of potential first-team players.  

What else is there to do? 

The big question for Valverde’s side next season is how prepared Dani Vivian and/or Aitor Paredes are to partner Yeray in defence. Athletic Club lead the league in high turnovers won last season, emphasizing how much stock they put into pressing high up the pitch. Because of this, they need central defenders who are capable of defending in one-on-one situations with lots of space between them and goalkeeper Unai Simón. 

Athletic Club Pressing

Íñigo Martínez finally got his move to Barcelona and now it’s up to Athletic Club’s academy players to fill in. Paredes just had a stellar Under-21 European Championships, but Vivian is the incumbent. He played 2,373 minutes last season and Paredes stepped in for just 854. Expect that rotation to change with Martínez gone as competition heats up for that second centre-back position. 

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Atlético Madrid

Atlético Madrid still have plenty of loose ends to tie up this summer including finding a permanent solution to their João Félix conundrum. Álvaro Morata is also linked with a move back to Italy. Those stories might garner the headlines this summer but Geoffrey Kondogbia’s departure for Marseille is an important one to note. Atlético have been linked with Pierre-Emile Højbjerg from Tottenham Hotspur as a potential replacement. The Dane has been described as their ‘number one objective’ and would be an immediate upgrade. 

If or when Félix and Morata leave, the windfall of cash could open up further opportunities in the market for Atlético. Manchester United have been linked with a move for Félix along with Aston Villa and Newcastle United. 

Kondogbia became a forgotten man for Atlético in the second half of last season with Simeone altering his tactics to push left centre-back Mario Hermoso into midfield in possession. Kondogbia did play in specific situations as a defensive midfield specialist and he will be missed. 

Geoffrey Kondogbia at Atlético Madrid

Koke is 31 now and needs help. A midfielder of Højbjerg’s calibre would help Atlético immensely in possession, which is the direction they are trying to move towards. 

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Barcelona solved one of their most glaring issues recently with the signing of Oriol Romeu from Girona. It might not be a long-term fix and Barcelona know that, but he is a La Masia-trained defensive midfielder who gives Xavi options instead of having to play Frenkie de Jong in the Sergio Busquets role

Míchel plays a possession-based style at Girona and Romeu, he says, was the player who best understood what he needed: “He [Romeu] is the player, perhaps along with Mikel Rico, who has most understood what I want, and the player who can contribute most in an overall sense. In attack, in defence and in transition. Oriol gets everything I want – attack, defence, he balances everything, and around him I have to form the structure.” 

With attack and midfield squared away, Barcelona don’t have too many obvious places where they could strengthen but right-back is one area Xavi must be concerned about. Jules Koundé spent most of his time playing there last season and it isn’t a position he likes, even to the point where there were some rumblings about a departure because of it. After Sergi Roberto, the pickings are slim at that position.  

Jules Kounde Positions

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Sergio González did an excellent job of stabilising Cádiz when he was named as the manager last January. He plays a 4-4-2 and while their ambitions are constrained based on their small budget, there are areas where they might improve this summer including in attacking midfield. 

Alfonso Espino created the most chances (35) and finished with the highest xA tally (3.7) for Cádiz last season, and he recently signed for Rayo Vallecano. Another creative hub, Théo Bongonda, has left for Spartak Moscow. So, Cádiz need to replace that creativity and while they have plenty of wingers and traditional number nines, they are sorely lacking in attacking central midfield. González needs a player to sit off Chris Ramos or Sergi Guardiola and dictate player from there, someone comfortable digging their heels in defensively but also capable of breaking down defences with a pass.  

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Celta Vigo

Rafa Benítez is Celta Vigo’s big bet this summer. The Galician club have cycled through different managers for years from Antonio Mohamed to Carlos Carvalhal without ever convincing anyone of the project they were building. They tore it all down this summer and went for the detail-obsessed Benitez to spearhead their future. 

Carles Pérez will be one of Celta’s marquee signings this summer to cover the right wing but they look short on the opposite side of the field. Gabri Veiga looks like he might stay as speculation about his future cools. The entire right side of the field looks set.  

The left wing looks less than inspiring. Luca de la Torre plays on that side but looks more comfortable tucking inside than a traditional winger. 

We haven’t seen Rafa coach since he was sacked by Everton in January 2022 and we’re not sure what to expect but he played a traditional 4-4-2 against Al-Nassr during their Celta’s first pre-season game. He has plenty of options at striker like Gonçalo Paciência and Jørgen Strand Larsen but he needs wide men to stretch the field vertically or Celta might find themselves in another relegation scrap next season. 

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José Bordalás is back at Getafe. After departing for Valencia two seasons ago, he was called back in an emergency situation last season to save the team from relegation. He held up his end of the bargain, so both the club and Bordalás have worked out a deal that sees him stay at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez until 2025. 

That means Bordalás needs to build a team to his very specific – and often brutal – liking. Jaime Mata was signed and excelled during the coach’s first spell, but he fell out of favour under Míchel and Quique Sánchez Flores; he only played 434 minutes last season and 383 of those came after Bordalás’ return. At 35, he’s clearly not a long-term option, so a dependable replacement would be most welcome. They also need a left-winger to do the work that is so vital to Bordalás’ style, shuttling up and down the field, pressing ball-carriers while keeping the shape. 

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Girona have already added Daley Blind this summer, the Dutchman being one of the better ball-playing defenders within the club’s scope of recruitment. In case there were any doubts about Míchel’s style of play, this is a clear signal. 

Míchel’s appreciation of Romeu was well-documented (see the Barcelona section). He held everything together for the Catalan side as they recorded their joint-highest La Liga finish last term (10th). He also facilitated the development of players like Arnau Martínez and Aleix García. They need to find a replacement or the centre crumbles for Girona.  

They have now signed Yangel Herrera on a permanent contract and got Pablo Torre as part of the Romeu deal, but neither do the specific work Romeu did at the base of midfield. Girona are owned by the City Football Group, so although they are a small club, finding a solution with so much time left in the transfer market shouldn’t be a problem.  

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As a promoted team, there are several areas Granada will need to improve to maintain their La Liga status. They appear particularly light in central midfield with Pol Lozano returning to Espanyol and Yann Bodiger likely to be on his way out of the club too. 

Jesús Vallejo has joined on loan from Real Madrid to reinforce their defence, and Shon Weissman’s temporary switch from Real Valladolid was made permanent. So, although they’ve bolstered the squad in attack and defence, Granada have only subtracted from the centre of the field. A lot of their moves this summer dependent on players leaving, but they need more bodies in midfield. 

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Las Palmas

Las Palmas are a joy to watch under Javier García Pimienta, Barcelona B’s former manager, having dominated possession last season in the Segunda on their way to a second-place finish. They will likely have to fight for the ball more often with the step up in quality next season, however, and that means they’ll have to improve defensively. 

Saúl Coco is a fixture in the team at centre-back, but he, Álex Suárez (30) and Eric Curbelo (29) have never played in La Liga, and the latter pair may not be quite required level; reinforcements are needed.  

The versatile Daley Sinkgraven has signed from Bayer Leverkusen on a free transfer, and as someone who spent four years at Ajax, he should help to implement García Pimienta’s style, but he’s not going to play centre-back. They need more cover in the centre of defence if they’re to avoid relegation.  

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The one thing Mallorca need to focus on – or better yet, obsess over – this summer, is how to replace Lee Kang-in. The South Korea international left to join Paris Saint-Germain, with the move leaving Javier Aguirre’s team better off to the tune of €20million. While that probably won’t suffice to find a player of the same quality as Lee, they should reinvest that money on creativity. 

Lee was 12th in the league for chances created (54) last season. His connection with Vedat Muriqi was the most fruitful of all pass combinations for Mallorca, with 12 chances created and a yield of 1.82 xA. They could replace him with a central attacking midfield or a winger; either way, the priority must be a player who creates in the final third, otherwise Mallorca will take a step backwards next season. 

The fact just three outfielders racked up more minutes (2,840) and that only Pablo Maffeo (1,731) touched the ball more often than Lee (1,614) further highlight his general importance, while his xA total of 5.0 being almost double that of Mallorca’s second biggest creative threat (Jaume Costa with 2.7) shows what they’ll be missing. 

Mallorca Players in 2022-23

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One of the positions Osasuna could do with an upgrade in is the same area that was exposed during the Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid. It’s true that few teams have the capacity to contain Vinícius Júnior, but Osasuna’s struggles at right-back during the game were indicative of their wider issues in that part of the team. 

Jon Moncayola, a central midfielder by trade, was deployed there in an effort to curb the Brazilian’s influence. Rubén Peña also started that game and is a right-back, but he is closer to a wing-back on the spectrum of full-back positions.  

Nacho Vidal is nominally the starter but missed a good chunk of time last season due to injury, starting just 15 games. They need competition here and someone who will be available when Vidal isn’t.  

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Rayo Vallecano

It has been a summer of goodbyes in Vallecas. The fans bid a fond farewell to coach Andoni Iraola as he left for pastures new in the Premier League with Bournemouth. They also had to deal with the departures of Fran García to Real Madrid, Alejandro Catena to Osasuna and Santi Comesaña to Villarreal.  

New manager Francisco has plans for a “vertical, aggressive and brave” Rayo, but they have been conservative so far in the transfer market.  

Óscar Trejo, Óscar Valentín and Comesaña formed the centre of arguably the most important area of the field during Iraola’s reign; his number 10, his number 6 and his number 8. Trejo is 35 and Comesaña is now aboard the Yellow Submarine. 

Aside from other areas of concern, midfield is where Rayo simply need both quality and quantity as Francisco embarks on a new adventure with Rayo. 

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Real Betis

Premier League clubs continue to trawl Spanish waters for talent. Recently minted West Ham could use some of the Declan Rice funds to lure Luiz Felipe to London, meaning Betis need to find a replacement, with Edgar González and Víctor Ruiz already out the door.  

They currently have just two centre-backs in their squad. 

Betis were one of the most disappointing teams in the run-in, indiscipline being a contributor to that. It rained red cards last season in La Liga and Luiz Felipe himself saw three. In fact, he received the same amount of yellows as reds during his first season in Spain, and Betis won two and drew one of the games he was suspended for. They conceded 1.3 goals in La Liga last season when he started and just 0.8 when he didn’t. Their win percentage of 36.4% when he started jumped to 56.2% when he didn’t start so perhaps West Ham will be doing them a favour by signing the Brazil-born Italy international.  

Either way, they need more disciplined defensive displays to balance the mercurial talent they have going the other way. They have signed Marc Roca and Héctor Bellerín but centre-back remains an outstanding issue for Manuel Pellegrini. 

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Real Madrid

Aside from the glaringly obvious Kylian Mbappé-shaped hole in Real Madrid’s attack, right-back might be the only area of the field where Carlo Ancelotti’s side need help this summer. Dani Carvajal is coming off the back of one of his healthier seasons, but he’s 31 now and has a lot of miles on the clock. Even if he does stay fit, he needs a better back-up than Lucas Vázquez, another player on the wrong side of 30.  

Florentino Pérez says there will be no more signings, but they will have to add a body at right-back this summer, even if it means promoting from Raúl’s Castilla side.  

Carlo Ancelotti suggested “this year we could play a new system”, which might mean three at the back or some variation of that, but this makes having two-way wing-backs even more important and will put further pressure on Carvajal.  

La Liga transfer market

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Real Sociedad

Real Sociedad are back in the Champions League after a decade away from Europe’s elite competition. They have a squad built on a solid tactical principles under Imanol Alguacil but will need improvement and greater depth if they want to build on their successful season last term. 

Hamari Traoré on a free transfer is the sum of their summer business so far, though that will surely pick up. Imanol typically plays a narrow diamond midfield and that means there is not natural width in the team. Their full-backs will have to provide more next season and that’s likely why Traoré, a right-back, was the first arrival.  

Left-back upgrades remain unfulfilled. Aihen Muñoz isn’t a bad player but it’s that position where Real Sociedad could arguably improve the most. Diego Rico is another option but isn’t a starter and could be on his way out anyway, with all signs pointing to Getafe.  

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All is quiet at Sevilla Fútbol Club this summer. Whatever irons Monchi had in the fire have been taken out to cool after the long-serving sporting director left to take up a similar role at Aston Villa under Unai Emery. Victor Orta has replaced him and seems to be getting his bearings before making any major moves in the market. 

José Luis Mendilibar led the team to unlikely Europa League success last season, meaning they are once again a Champions League team despite being mired in a relegation scrap for much of last season.  

Right-back is an area that’s likely to be looked at. Jesús Navas turns 38 in November and Mendilibar’s tactics require every player to be a pressing machine. Navas was fine and even excelled for the short stint at the end of last season that Mendilibar needed him, but the Sevilla academy product can’t go on forever with the demands of domestic and Champions League football next season.  

Gonzalo Montiel hasn’t been good enough, José Ángel Carmona is likely to move on again after returning from his Elche loan spell, and Juanlu Sánchez may still be too raw despite a promising season with Mirandés in 2022-23. They need an upgrade. 

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Valencia CF

Rubén Baraja was brought in to save a sinking ship last season and he got the job done. He improved their defence immeasurably and Valencia avoided relegation with a couple of games to spare. Their 1.03 xG against per game after Baraja’s appointment was only bettered by Barcelona (0.99) and Real Sociedad (0.92); unsurprisingly, he was kept on and will be expected to improve on what he built at the tail-end of last season. 

Justin Kluivert has left for Bournemouth and Samuel Lino returned to parent club Atlético Madrid after a loan. They were first and second in the squad for goals and xG, so Valencia need to bolster the attack by replacing them. 

But the most pressing issue at the Mestalla this summer is the number 9. Edinson Cavani, who was third for goals and xG, looks set for Boca Juniors after an earnest but ultimately failed spell in Valencia. 

Of Valencia’s 42 goals last season in La Liga, the trio mentioned scored 17 of them. 

La Liga transfer market

Valencia are one of several teams being linked with Rafa Mir, who looks set to leave Sevilla. It is indicative of the kind of player they are searching for, a number 9 who can run in behind but is also adept at holding the ball and getting other players involved. 

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Quique Setién’s vision of football is one of utter dominance with the ball. He wants his sides to keep possession at all costs. For that to work he needs players all over the field who are comfortable attracting pressure as they poke and prod for fault lines in the opponents’ press. Pepe Reina performed better than expected last season under Setién, but he can’t be the long-term solution in goal. This summer feels like a total revolution in the squad as press-resistant players with technique as their main quality are favoured over anything else. 

Reina turns 41 next month and Villarreal only have 21-year-old Filip Jörgensen putting pressure on the current starter. Villarreal B were promoted to the Segunda in 2021-22 and managed to avoid relegation last term; the club see that level of competition as a viable way to develop players, so it’s unclear how willing they’ll be to draw talent from that group.  

Iker Álvarez, 21, would be an obvious option if they were thinking of promoting from within, but there are options in the transfer market that would be more ready-made. Arnau Tenas is leaving Barcelona and is tailor-made for Setién’s style, for example. Whether Villarreal show interest or not remains to be seen, but regardless of that, they need sturdy competition for Reina before the season kicks off in August. 

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