La Liga 2019-20: 5 contenders for signing of the season
- These 5 newly-transferred players have taken La Liga by storm this season and all can lay claim to being the signing of the season.
Be it local talent coming through Spain’s much-acclaimed youth academies or players signed from clubs across the globe, La Liga has been home to some of the world’s top footballing talent over the years. And, it’s not just historic clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona that are able to sign established stars and hot prospects - every club in the Spanish top flight is extremely competitive in the transfer market, with an eye for a good deal but not afraid to splash the cash when needed.
The transfer activity in Spain during the 2019-20 season proves as much - while Madrid and Barca have rank high in the big spender stakes as usual, the likes of Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, and even Real Betis and Real Sociedad have invested heavily in new talent. Across both transfer windows, Spanish clubs reported a net spend of almost €1.5 billion.
Highly sought-after names like Joao Felix, Eden Hazard, Frenkie de Jong, and Luka Jovic were added to the La Liga roster, firmly establishing La Liga’s status as a preferred destination for the biggest names in football.
Amidst all this transfer activity, here are 5 contenders for the signing of the 2019-20 La Liga season.
#5 Nabil Fekir (Olympique Lyon to Real Betis, €19.75m)
In the summer of 2018, fresh from helping France secure another World Cup title, Nabil Fekir was about to put pen to paper on a £53 million deal that would see him join the Jurgen Klopp revolution at Anfield.
The talented midfielder had agreed personal terms, posed for photos in the famous red jersey, and even conducted an interview with the club's in-house television channel - an official unveiling was all that remained. However, less than 24 hours later, the move was sensationally called off amid claims that the effects of a knee injury that Fekir suffered in 2015 had caused him to fail his medical on Merseyside.
Fast forward to the summer of 2019 - instead of lifting the Champions League trophy with the Reds, Fekir was still at Lyon, having endured an injury-hit Ligue 1 season. Unlike last year, a move did materialise - despite still being linked with some of Europe’s top clubs, Fekir raised more than a few eyebrows when he chose to move from a Champions League club to Real Betis in Spain, who had just finished 10th in La Liga.
Many had resigned themselves to the fact that his big chance had passed him by, and that the World Cup winner would spend the rest of his career in fighting to remain in the Spanish top flight. Instead, the 26-year-old has risen to the challenge in Spain, becoming the central figure in a revitalised Betis side and showing exactly why Klopp was so keen to sign him.
Fekir hit the ground running at Betis, scoring twice in his first three La Liga matches, including one at Camp Nou. His direct playing style has proved to be hard to cope with for opposition defenders and goalkeepers - he ranks very high in the league in terms of completer dribbles, key passes, and shots on goal, all indicators of how influential he has been in Betis’ attacking play.
Overall in 22 games in La Liga, Fekir has contributed 7 goals and 6 assists, making his initial €19.75m fee look like a bargain. The Frenchman is playing with a freedom which he seemed to have lost during his final season in France, and might not have got within the star-studded Liverpool lineup. Still just 26, time is very much on the Frenchman’s side and the best might still be yet to come!