LaLiga 2019-20: Who has made the best signings for the new season?

By Sports Desk August 14, 2019

Champions Barcelona play Athletic Bilbao when the 2019-20 LaLiga campaign begins on Friday.

Barcelona have won the title in the last two seasons and head into the new campaign as favourites again, having bolstered their squad with the additions of Antoine Griezmann, Junior Firpo and Frenkie de Jong.

Real Madrid have spent heavily during the close season in an attempt to close the gap on their bitter rivals, with Eden Hazard among those to arrive, and last term's runners-up Atletico Madrid also broke their transfer record by bringing in Joao Felix from Benfica.

There has been smart business right the way down the division, setting up what should be another thrilling year of Spanish top-flight action.

The transfer window does not shut until September 2 but, ahead of the opening round of fixtures, we look at the five best signings made by LaLiga clubs.

#LaLigaSantander is back this week! pic.twitter.com/kW0MWRSne0

— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) August 12, 2019

5. Marc Cucurella (Getafe)

Young Cucurella was one of the best left-sided players in LaLiga last season at Eibar and looked entirely capable of being an asset to Barcelona's first-team squad.

However, after triggering their buy-back option on him, Barcelona have since sent him out on loan to Getafe, who can make the deal permanent for €6million.

Given his impact in 2018-19, it looks immensely shrewd business by Los Azulones.

4. Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad)

Isak has had to live with comparisons to another Swedish scoring sensation in Zlatan Ibrahimovic since breaking through at AIK three years ago.

Borussia Dortmund saw enough potential to snap him up in 2017 and, after a handful of Bundesliga appearances, he was sent on loan to Willem II last term and blossomed when used regularly.

Thirteen goals in 16 Eredivisie appearances, followed up by one for Sweden 11 minutes after being brought on in June's Euro 2020 qualifier against Malta, led to reported interest from the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid.

Sociedad, somewhat surprisingly, won the race for his signature and the €7m fee will be considered a bargain should Isak provide goals for one of last season's lowest-scoring sides in LaLiga.

 

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— Real Sociedad Fútbol (@RealSociedad) July 27, 2019

3. Hector Herrera (Atletico Madrid)

The loss of Rodri to Manchester City leaves a void to be filled at Atletico this season, but in Herrera they have a player capable of thriving under Diego Simeone, albeit in a slightly different role.

Herrera, signed on a free after his contract at Porto expired, will be expected to offer more of a goal threat, having scored 26 times in his six seasons at Estadio do Dragao.

A Primeira Liga title winner and a player boasting plenty of Champions League experience, Simeone will hope the tenacious 29-year-old's best years are still to come.

2. Nabil Fekir (Real Betis)

Fekir was on the brink of joining Liverpool in a £52m deal last year, only for the move to collapse late on, reportedly due to concerns flagged by his medical.

Liverpool's loss is now Betis' gain, with the Andalusian side reaching an agreement with Lyon for an initial €19.75m.

The France international's goal tally may have halved last term - dropping from 18 in 2017-18 to nine in 2018-19 - but he could thrive as the focal point in Rubi's attack.

 

1. Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona)

Barcelona agreed the €75million signing of De Jong in January, seeing off competition from a number of rivals to ensure one of the hottest properties in world football would join them this summer.

Griezmann may add to Ernesto Valverde's attacking options and Firpo will provide long-term cover for Jordi Alba at left-back, but De Jong - allowed to stay on at Ajax for the second half of last season - looks like the most exciting of the Spanish champions' new recruits so far.

After starring for the Dutch champions in their run to the Champions League semi-finals, knocking out Real Madrid and Juventus along the way, there is no reason the versatile midfielder cannot make a similar impact in his new Camp Nou surroundings.

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    Suarez scored a memorable goal as Barca defeated Real Mallorca 5-2 at Camp Nou on Saturday to regain top spot in LaLiga.

    While Lionel Messi bagged a record-breaking hat-trick, Suarez capped a wonderful team move by back-heeling past Mallorca goalkeeper Manolo Reina prior to half-time.

    "It's the best goal of my career," Suarez, who has now scored against all 28 teams he has faced in LaLiga, said of the 43rd-minute goal.

    "I knew that it was a tight angle and the last option I had was to hit it with my heel. I was looking to bounce it because I had very little chance against the goalkeeper.

    "[Head coach Ernesto] Valverde tells me that sometimes I miss the easiest ones and score the most difficult ones."

    Barca produced an impressive performance at home to Mallorca as they moved ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference after their rivals won earlier in the day.

    "This shows the confidence we're gaining as the matches go by," Suarez said. "We've been looking for our team-mates more and it was a great match today."

    Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring in the seventh minute as the former Atletico Madrid star netted his first LaLiga goal since October 18.

    "He has had to take up a new position in attack, he must find his space," Suarez of Griezmann. "I congratulate him on settling in because it's not easy."

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    After claiming his sixth Ballon d'Or earlier in the week, Messi's treble led LaLiga champions Barca to a 5-2 win over Real Mallorca on Saturday.

    Messi's Ballon d'Or triumph on Monday saw him move clear of Cristiano Ronaldo, and the Barca captain broke the former Real Madrid superstar's record for the most hat-tricks in LaLiga history.

    After Messi's 35th league treble, Barca boss Valverde hailed the 32-year-old star post-game at Camp Nou.

    "Unbelievable," Valverde told reporters after Barca regained top spot ahead of rivals Real Madrid.

    "It was a good way to celebrate the Ballon d'Or."

    While Messi dominated headlines with his latest match-winning display, Barca team-mate Luis Suarez scored a stunning back-heel to round off a fluid passing move against Mallorca.

    On Suarez's 43rd-minute goal, Valverde added: "The situation took me by surprise. I thought it was a pass to a team-mate.

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    In the week he moved above rival Ronaldo with a sixth Ballon d'Or success, Messi showed why he was voted the world's best player with his impressive display at Camp Nou.

    The 32-year-old scored two long-range goals in the first half and added a third seven minutes from time to make it 35 career hat-tricks in the Spanish top-flight.

    That is one more than Ronaldo, who spent nine years with Real Madrid before joining Serie A giants Juventus in 2018.

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    Victory moved Barca back to the top of the table, with the champions above Madrid on goal difference ahead of the first Clasico of the season later this month.

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