We’re four weeks into the new La Liga season and already Real Madrid are leading the table, three wins and a draw have put Los Blancos top of the pile.
Head coach Zinedine Zidane said, midway through the summer transfer window, that there would be no major incomings at the club, in fact, the big La Liga 2020 news in the white half of Madrid was that Gareth Bale had finally left the Santiago Bernabeu to return to Spurs. But that apart it’s been all quiet for ZZ, who has put his faith in the 2020 La Liga champions.
The backbone of Los Blancos side, Thibaut Courtois in goal, Sergio Ramos at the back, with Toni Kroos in midfield and Karim Benzema up front is strong. And last summers’ marquee signing Eden Hazard is sure to star if he can stay fit. But whether Real Madrid can withstand a Barca challenge remains to be seen.
The La Liga 2020 betting odds here at SBOTOP have Los Blancos and Barcelona neck and neck at odds of 2.10 to lift the league title. Atletico Madrid are in the hunt at 7.50 while Sevilla makes up the group of four with realistic hopes, at odds of 26.00.
While Real Madrid have been inactive, there has been more going on at the homes of their rivals, and of the four clubs; I’d say Barcelona and Sevilla might be the happiest with their summer business.
More action at the Camp Nou
Lionel Messi’s decision to stay at Barcelona ended the biggest saga of the summer. Manchester City looked all set to sign the Argentine superstar, but the deal fell through and the Blaugrana breathed a sigh of relief. New boss Ronald Koeman had vowed to have a clear out at the Camp Nou and he was true to his word, saying goodbye to big names Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal, and he’s been active in bringing new blood in.
The signing of Miralem Pjanic in a 60m Euro switch from Juventus, along with midfielder Matheus Pereira, brought a smile to Catalan faces. The Bosnian was unwanted by Juve boss Andrea Pirlo and was quick to sign for Barca, saying he will help the club put the disastrous end to last season behind them.
Barca have also signed Portugal Under 21 star Francisco Trincao from Braga for a 30m fee. The Blaugrana rate the young forward so highly they have given him a five-year contract with an eye-watering 500m buyout clause. And Koeman has just raided his homeland club Ajax, bringing in right-back Sergino Dest in a deal worth 26m, again with a five-year deal.
Dest could be a natural replacement for Nelson Semedo, who left the Camp Nou to join the Portuguese contingent at Premier League club Wolves.
The Partey’s over at Atletico
Los Rojiblancos had a decent transfer window until the last few hours when they could only stand and watch as Arsenal activated the 45m release clause of midfield ace Thomas Partey. The deal was sealed moments before the 11pm deadline yesterday and Partey is now a Gunner.
The sweetener for Atleti fans is that Lucas Torreira has moved the opposite way and will be on loan at the Wanda Metropolitano for the remainder of the season.
Atleti had already pulled off a headline coup with one of the highest-profile moves of the transfer window and Luis Suarez put on a sensational 20-minute show on his debut against Granada, making an assist, scoring twice and hitting a post.
The 33-year-old looked like the bargain of the summer, costing 5.5m on a two-year deal, but is yet to replicate that explosive start since.
Rakitic returns to ambitious Sevilla
As part of Barcelona’s clear out Ivan Rakitic headed back to Sevilla, where he won the Europa League as captain during a three-year stint which lasted until his 2014 transfer to the Camp Nou. Head coach Julen Lopetegui has added more firepower with the signing of Suso from AC Milan for 21m and has just brought in Oussama Idrissi from AZ Alkmaar at a cost of 12m. The Moroccan striker scored 17 in all competitions last season.
Elsewhere, the return of David Silva to La Liga is a welcome development for Spanish football fans after Real Sociedad secured the midfield maestro’s services when he was released by Manchester City at the end of last season. Silva became a legend in Manchester after nine stellar campaigns at the Etihad and he will add class and poise to a Sociedad side which has started well and currently sits in third place.
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