Barcelona, Real Madrid and – to a certain extent – Atletico Madrid have all splashed the cash this summer, and left the rest of La Liga in their dust.
The league has one again seen an influx of the world’s very best players, as vast amounts of many changing hands. And by the league, I mean Real Madrid and Barcelona.
James Rodriguez and Luis Suarez have joined the respective clubs, and both cost in excess of £70 million.
The two big boys in Spain have strengthened considerably, whilst the other struggle. If the signings of Gareth Bale and Neymar weren’t enough last year, both sides have further bolstered their squads this season, spending over £100 million each.
Toni Kroos was signed for a relatively conservative £20 million by Los Blancos, which is still a higher spend then most other La Liga clubs.
Atletico have joined their neighbours Real in splashing the cash this summer. Of course, Simeone’s side have been victims of their own success, with top scorer Diego Costa and defender Filipe Luis moving to Chelsea, and Thibaut Courtois returning from his loan spell. Diego Ribas, Adrian Lopez and David Villa have also left the club.
Any spending they do would merely be in an attempt to rebuild their squad. They have already signed Jan Oblak, Mario Mandzukic and Antoine Griezmann, and they are far from finished.
With so much disposable income, Atletico have been linked with a whole host of players. Javier Hernandez, Santi Carzola, Fernando Torres, Shinji Kagawa and Andre Schurrle are just some of the Premier League stars mentioned in the same breath as the La Liga winners.
Relatively little has been spent by some of La Liga’s smaller clubs in comparison to the spend of the top three.
Clubs need to be clever with their transfers with a number loan deals and cheap foreign transfers taking place.
Only of the few clubs with money are Athletic Bilbao but have limited ways in which to spend it, with their Basque only rule on recruitment.
As well as bringing in top players from around Europe, they have also poached players from their fellow BBVA clubs, weakening their opponents.
Barcelona signed perhaps Sevilla’s best and most influential player in Ivan Rakitic, and followed it up with the signings of Claudio Bravo and Jeremy Mathieu from Real Sociedad and Valencia respectively.
Atletico Madrid are very much guilty of the same, after pinching Antoine Griezmann from Real Sociedad.
Very few players can resist the allure of Barcelona and Real Madrid – and very few clubs can decline £70-£80 million.
The gap between Athletic Bilbao finished a full 17 points behind Barcelona and Real Madrid in second and third place. Following these signings, the gaping fissure could further widen.