#3 FC Barcelona - 97 titles | 48 incoming transfers
With three players in the top six of the most expensive players in the history of football, Barcelona have epitomized the imprudent transfer dealings that take place in La Liga.
Since the 2014-15 Champions League-winning season, Barca have spent more than a billion euros on transfers, without experiencing any European glory. This reckless spending saw the La Liga stalwarts accumulate a net debt of over €488m with a chunk of it payable in the short term.
After acquiring Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann, Miralem Pjanic, and many more for bloated fees, the Blaugrana are now struggling to keep their books balanced. As many as 48 signings have been made by the Spanish giants in the last decade. This includes the recent free transfers of Eric Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Emerson Royal and Memphis Depay.
Many stars have also agreed to some sizeable wage cuts, but Barcelona have still not been able to re-sign their talisman, Lionel Messi.
Signed up for a massive €145m, Coutinho is now valued at a meager €20m. Along with the €120m-Griezmann, the Brazilian playmaker is one of the favorites to exit Camp Nou this season. Having finished out of the top two in La Liga for the first time in 13 years in the 2020-21 season, the Catalans are on a path to recovery under new president Joan Laporta.
#2 Valencia - 23 titles | 65 incoming transfers
Valencia are possibly the only club with more managerial problems than Barcelona in the Spanish top flight. They have witnessed their stock suffer a massive hit under the leadership of Peter Lim, the main shareholder of 'The Bats'.
As many as seven first-team players were let go before the commencement of the 2020-21 La Liga season, for a combined fee of around €82m. This included the likes of Ferran Torres, Rodrigo Moreno and club-legend Dani Parejo. Except for a few loan deals, no transfers were initiated to balance things out.
As a result, the Mestalla has seen a lot of personnel changes lately. Even though Valencia have an above-average signings-to-time-period ratio, the untimely departure of crucial players has been the driving factor behind this high count. The six-time La Liga champions could only manage a 13th place finish last season, their worst since the 1987-88 season.
Without a change in hierarchy, Valencia could soon find themselves meddling with the mid-table mediocrity of La Liga. This may eventually threaten their 33-year-stay in the top flight as well.
#1 Atletico Madrid - 34 titles | 74 incoming transfers
Only the fourth most successful club in Spain at the time of writing, one title behind Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid have welcomed the lion's share of arrivals in La Liga. Under Diego Simeone, Los Rojiblancos have established a defensive dynasty known for their rugged and no-nonsense approach to the game. Atletico recently celebrated the 11th Spanish championship in the club's history, their second La Liga win in seven years.
Since Antoine Griezmann's arrival from Real Sociedad for a deserved transfer fee of €54m in 2014, Real Madrid's noisy neighbors have only shelled out more than €60m for a player thrice, to varying degrees of success. While Diego Costa's second spell in Madrid proved to be disastrous, Thomas Lemar has been underwhelming, to say the least. Joao Felix, at the price of €127.20m, has been the focal point of many debates. But at just 21 years of age, it would be too soon to make a judgment call on his career.
Other than some occasional blips, transfer dealings under Simeone have mostly fared well. To get all of the reported 74 signings correct is something that even the feisty Argentine cannot achieve. Nevertheless, considering their recent track record, both financially and statically, Atletico fans won't have much to complain about thanks to their stellar achievements in the last decade.