So far, so quiet in LaLiga! There hasn’t been a grand unveiling of a world superstar for an astronomical transfer fee with the fireworks to match - yet.
Back in the day we would have to leave a gap in the diary for a record-breaking presentation. Cameras would be clicking away as David Beckham, Gareth Bale, Luis Suárez etc demonstrated their ability to juggle a football for the watching world.
The only keepy-uppy demonstration so far was from a teenager in a Real Madrid strip who didn’t make it past a count of five. The unveiling of Theo Hernández just about sums up the summer of 2017; he is a 19-year-old signed for a modest fee (by modern standards) to bolster the Real Madrid squad.
Zinedine Zidane’s influence is clear as Real Madrid have gone on a different kind of recruitment drive to the glitzy days. His club is signing a number of players who will be significant in the future even if they aren’t expected to make an instant impact.
Hernández is the first player to move from Atlético to Real Madrid in 17 years though, in truth, he’s never actually played for the first team. His form on loan at Alavés was enough to convince Real to shell out 24 million euros for a deputy to Marcelo.
There is a distinct thread to the newcomers at the Bernabéu so far. Marcos Llorente returns from a loan to Alavés of his own and Jesús Vallejo has just come back from a gap year in Germany with Eintracht Frankfurt. So three players with squad numbers are rookies.
The other summer signing is yet another young star. Dani Ceballos took the eye at the Euro Under-21 tournament in the summer and had his choice of suitors. It seems that he has chosen Real because of Zidane’s tendency to give young players a chance. Ceballos will hope to emulate his international teammate Marco Asensio who improved significantly with increased playing time last season. Whether they’ll be teammates of another relatively young player in Álvaro Moratta for much longer remains to be seen.
At the age of 24 he understandably wants to be the sheriff and not the deputy. Manchester United flirted but then turned their cheek. Chelsea are still toying. I expect that Real Madrid will set a divorce settlement at an astronomical figure in the hope he doesn’t stray.
Meanwhile in Barcelona… a ‘Galáctico’ has been signed. The unmatchable talents of Lionel Messi have been secured until the year 2021. This had to be priority number one.
There’s little else to whet the appetite for the Barça supporters. Gerard Deulofeu has returned yet again but he’s there just to pad the squad out. Paulinho, once considered surplus at Spurs, may leave relative footballing exile in China to return to Europe. Italian Marco Veratti appears to favour the lifestyle of Paris to Catalonia, though!
Atlético Madrid are hamstrung on new signings because of a ban but they have been inventive. Spain international Vitolo appears to have paid his own buy-out clause to free himself to join Las Palmas, on the understanding that he will be recompensed by Atlético when their transfer ban is lifted in January. The club he’s leaving, Sevilla, are understandably miffed.
The other player who is linked with Atlético is Diego Costa, who is clearly leaving Chelsea. But will he be willing to pay his own transfer fee and spend six months on a holiday island? We’ll have to see!
And then there’s still the David De Gea saga! I still think there’s more chance of him keeping goal for Real Madrid than Manchester United next season. Expect a catfight as the two clubs meet on the footballing catwalk in Los Angeles. This may be the nearest we get to a Hollywood signing.