Big things are expected of Real Madrid's new German midfielder Toni Kroos. :: AFP
The Spanish league has some of the biggest names in world football and in the run up to the 2014/15 season, more top signings were added to the famous sides of La Liga. Departures were also a significant aspect of the summer transfer window as players such as Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sánchez of Barcelona both left the Nou Camp to join Chelsea and Arsenal respectively.
James Rodríguez, Luis Suárez, Mario Mandžukić, Toni Kroos and Thomas Vermaelen all moved to Spain from some of the most prestigious European leagues. Considering these transfers, possibly the best bit of business, was that of Malaga as they attracted the Mexican World Cup star, Guillermo Ochoa on a free transfer.
The current Spanish champions face what could be their most challenging season in recent years as Diego Simeone saw his squad raided by the likes of Chelsea for his top performers. Diego Costa, Filipe Luís and Thibaut Courtois all departed the club for Jose Mourinho’s London outfit. Although Simeone brought in talented replacements, none of them quite live up to the quality of footballers who left the side.
Just like last year Atlético’s depth is still an issue as they haven’t bought in many players to provide cover for injuries or suspensions. If they hope to contend for the La Liga title once again, this gap in the squad must be filled to allow for rotation. Prediction: second.
Toni Kroos and James Rodríguez were the two new young Galácticos to be revealed this summer, both world-class midfielders to add to a team full of world-class midfielders. With the addition of these players, the depth of the Madrid squad is truly outstanding and with Karim Benzema signing a new contract at the club, it gives Real security when it comes to their attacking lineup.
If all of Madrid’s key players stay fit throughout the season this could be the season that Carlo Ancelotti regains the title for Real Madrid. Prediction: first.
The Catalan giants had a very good transfer window as they managed to bring in the controversial Luis Suárez, Jérémy Mathieu and Thomas Vermaelen. Even though Suárez moved to the Nou Camp for a staggering 81 million euros, he will not be allowed to play in any official games until 25 October - just a single day before the first Clásico of the season.
Mathieu and Vermaelen will help bolster the ever-weakening back four of Barcelona we saw last season, but the choice of defenders was strange as neither of the two centre backs are considered as truly ‘world-class’ among the likes of Ramos, Piqué, Chiellini and Thiago Silva.
Barcelona’s success will depend on how they fit all their new signings into an ageing squad which already excels in attack. Prediction: third.
Javi Gracia could have a difficult task as the new manager of Malaga as a lot of the top performers of last season have either departed the club via transfer or had their loan period expired. Players to have left include Willy Caballero, Eliseu, Mounir El Hamdaoui, Jesús Gámez and Nordin Amrabat.
The arrivals at the club make the departures seem a little easier to take though as Luis Alberto, Miguel Torres, Arthur Boka, Guillermo Ochoa and Roberto Rosales have all joined the club side. Meanwhile, Bobley Anderson, Roberto Chen and Recio have all returned from their loans.
If the Blue and Whites can stay consistent throughout the season they could finish in a high mid-table position. Considering the awful financial period the club has been through, that would be a fantastic result come the end of the season. Prediction: seventh.