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.

 

¡Doblete de @alex_isak !  #RealSociedad #AurreraReala pic.twitter.com/sBhAasI2Yw

— 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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    However, the chance to learn on the job aided his development. The Colts went on to make the playoffs in the next two seasons and while 2001 was not so successful, a 6-10 campaign led to the arrival of Tony Dungy as head coach and, well, the rest is history.

    Whether Leaf would have developed in the same circumstances has to be considered doubtful with how his career panned out, but Indianapolis would have at least afforded him time in which to prove himself.

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    Manning as a Charger may not have blossomed in time to keep head coach Kevin Gilbride in a job – he was fired midway through the 1998 season, his second at the helm – but he may well have been the key to keeping the team in San Diego.

    Owner Dean Spanos moved the Chargers to Los Angeles after an unsuccessful attempt to get a new stadium built. A failure to secure tax-payer funding led to relocation in 2017.

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    THE 2004 DRAFT

    Of course, there is another Manning whose career would have changed if you take a sliding doors approach to the '98 draft.

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    Javier Zanetti
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    John Terry
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    Ricardo Carvalho
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    William Gallas
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    Claude Makelele
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    Frank Lampard
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    Eden Hazard
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    Cristiano Ronaldo
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    Didier Drogba
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    Paul Pogba
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  • Welcome to Wrestlemania! Fury, Tyson, Rousey and the sports stars who starred in WWE Welcome to Wrestlemania! Fury, Tyson, Rousey and the sports stars who starred in WWE

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    England and Manchester United's record goalscorer had a run-in with Wade Barrett during a November 2015 edition of Monday Night Raw.

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    "Ronda's gonna kill ya..." was the chant emanating around Levi's Stadium as the fearsome Ronda Rousey stepped between the ropes at Wrestlemania 31.

    Accompanied by WWE great Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, now a worldwide movie star, UFC icon Rousey was involved in a spat with the legendary Triple H and his wife Stephanie McMahon.

    Three years later, Rousey partnered Olympic gold medallist Kurt Angle to defeat 'The Game' and 'The Billion Dollar Princess'. In January 2018, she became an in-ring regular and won Raw's women's title, which she dropped to Lynch a year ago.

    SHAQUILLE O'NEAL

    Better known for slam dunks, former Los Angeles Lakers star Shaquille O'Neal got in a choke slam at Wrestlemania 32.

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    Ricky Hatton earned hordes of fans throughout a brilliant boxing career.

    In November 2009, 'The Hitman' stepped into a different kind of ring to host an episode of Raw from Sheffield Arena.

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    FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.

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    PETE ROSE

    Pete Rose is a legend of the baseball world, holding MLB's all-time hits record and winning the World Series on three occasions.

    Rose was part of the 1970s Cincinnati Reds team that earned the nickname 'The Big Red Machine'.

    But his run in with WWE's own 'Big Red Machine' Kane during the late 1990s and 2000 have become the thing of wrestling folklore.

    On one such occasion at Wrestlemania 15, Rose was disguised as a chicken and earned a beatdown from Kane, including his devastating tombstone finishing manoeuvre.

    MIKE TYSON

    'Iron' Mike Tyson is no stranger to a WWE ring.

    'The Baddest Man on the Planet' had an infamous showdown with 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, one of the all-time greats in WWE, on an episode of Raw and had seemingly sided with one of the company's most famous stables D-Generation X before one of its members Shawn Michaels faced Austin at Wrestlemania 14.

    However, during the event Tyson showed his true allegiance, counting the pin for Austin and clocking Michaels. Some 12 years later, Tyson buried the hatchet with his DX foes, unveiling a shirt with their logo on and knocking out Chris Jericho during a Raw segment.

    MUHAMMAD ALI

    Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee - did you know this boxing legend starred in WWE?

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    BROCK LESNAR

    Few men strike fear in their opponents quite like Brock Lesnar, who is as well known for his two stints in WWE as he is for being a former UFC heavyweight champion.

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