There was no deal in Spain as large as those of Juan Mata or Nemanja Matic over the January transfer window, as clubs instead resorted to what has become the norm – loans and free transfers – to bolster their aspirational and ailing squads. If anything it brings about a more calculated approach to the market, and certain teams did some intriguing business. Here are five deals that could well be key come the end of the season.
Léo Baptistão (Atlético Madrid to Real Betis on loan)
Where one door opens at the Calderon, another closes. Léo Baptistao is one of those players, and the desire on the part of Atleti was to get a player on the fringes some minutes to regain confidence in his game. Betis are clawing with desperation to maintain their La Liga status, and what better way than to bring in a player who could well have a future in the league. Léo’s impact has been instant, already soaring to the top of Betis’ shots per game and dribbles charts with 2.5 in each category. He’s already bringing a spark and different dynamic to a floundering Betis attack, and this was shown by Betis scoring two goals after his introduction from the bench this past Saturday – the club’s first win in La Liga since September. How he combines with Rubén Castro could well be the defining line between relegation and survival for Betis.