Spanish clubs have been busy during the winter window, signing talents from across the globe.
Keen to strengthen their squads in time for the second half of the 2018/19 LaLiga Santander season, clubs across Spain have taken to the January transfer market and have acquired stars from around the world. Here are five of the most intriguing transfers to keep an eye on in 2019.
Álvaro Morata (Chelsea to Atlético de Madrid)
Atlético de Madrid have secured the services of former academy player Álvaro Morata, signing the striker on a year-and-a-half loan deal from Chelsea. The 26-year-old is reuniting with former academy teammate Koke, as well as Spain national team colleagues like Saúl Ñíguez and Diego Costa, and there are high hopes for him in the Spanish capital where Atleti are looking to overtake Barcelona in the league table.
Alvaro Morata becomes the latest player to play for both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid
Morata has won the LaLiga Santander title before, scoring 15 goals for Atleti’s city rivals Real Madrid as he helped Los Blancos win the championship in 2016/17. Mouth-wateringly, his first home match will see him take on his former side and current rivals in the Madrid derby.
Diego Lainez (Club Améria to Real Betis)
The 18-year-old Mexican starlet Diego Lainez was wanted by a number of clubs across Europe, but Real Betis beat all the other suitors to his signature by agreeing a deal with the player early on in the January window. The winger has already made four appearances for the Andalusian side and his energy and drive were vital in his new club’s quarter-final victory over Espanyol in the Copa del Rey. Fans at the Benito Villamarín will hope to see many similar contributions from Lainez over the coming weeks, months and years.
Vicente Iborra (Leicester City to Villarreal)
Villarreal need a spark to kick-start their season and believe they’ve found one in Vicente Iborra. The 31-year-old midfielder returns to Spain after a year and a half in England with Leicester City and the Yellow Submarine will be counting on his wealth of experience as they look to climb up the table. Iborra previously starred in the Spanish top flight for Sevilla and for Levante.
Before joining Leicester City, Iborra played for Sevilla
Lei Wu (SIPG to Espanyol)
Espanyol already have one of the best strikers in LaLiga Santander in Borja Iglesias but strengthened their attack further with Chinese forward Lei Wu. National team captain and Shanghai SIPG’s all-time top goalscorer, Lei Wu made his Chinese Super League debut aged just 14 and has a proven knack for finding the back of the net. Now in LaLiga, he’ll be looking to do just that in Spain.
Samu Sáiz (Leeds United to Getafe)
One very intriguing signing is Getafe’s loan acquisition of Samu Sáiz from Leeds United. The creative midfielder returns to Madrid – where he was previously on the books at Getafe, Atlético de Madrid and Real Madrid – after being an important part of Marcelo Bielsa’s promotion-chasing side over the first half of the 2018/19 season. The 28-year-old should expect to pick up minutes at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez in the second half of this campaign, given the long-term injuries that Getafe have suffered in their midfield, as the side from the capital look to secure a return to European football next season.