Having broken a handful of records a year ago, this summer transfer market has enjoyed an unusual quiet rhythm in Spain’s top flight. The fact that Real Madrid and Barcelona paid astronomical fees for the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kaka, meant the Spanish market at the top end would have to undergo a period of calm.

With the two Spanish titans running a two-horse race for much of the previous season, the rest of the teams are now obliged to restore some of their old prestige after serving as dessert for Real Madrid and Barcelona during a record-breaking season, one that saw both teams finish above the 95-point mark.

Based on player age, fee, and club dependence, the following is a list of ten players that constitute the best transactions Spanish football has witnessed over the summer:

1) David Villa (Valencia to Barcelona; €40M)

Barcelona are beginning to harvest the seeds of their investment right now as their new purchase showed during the World Cup just why he is regarded by many as the best striker in the world. After being courted for the past two summers by Real Madrid, El Guaje made the move to their bitter rivals, with the Valencia hierarchy deciding that it was best to cash in now on their star man. The arrival of Villa is Barca’s response to their failed Zlatan Ibrahimovic investment last term, with the Swede now available for tranfer at the Camp Nou. The Blaugrana broke records without Villa last term; It’s hard to imagine what they will do now that he’s arrived.

2) Angel di Maria (Benfica to Real Madrid; €25+€11M)

One of Jose Mourinho’s first orders of business as Real Madrid boss was the reintroduction of wingers to his team, after that species became extinct at the hands of former coach Manuel Pellegrini. The Argentinean failed to impress at his first major tournament in South Africa, but his record in the Portuguese Liga speaks for itself, as he helped Benfica to a first title in five years, being named as the league’s best player in the process. A personal request of Mourinho, his deployment on the flanks alongside Cristiano Ronaldo certainly will be a pretty sight to see.

3) Adriano (Sevilla to Barcelona; €9.5+€4M)

To land a good wide man for little less than €10M is very good business. To land four wide men in one person for less than that sum is absolutely amazing. The arrival of Adriano Correia at the Camp Nou meant that Pep Guardiola signed a cocktail of a left back, right back, left winger and right winger, all in one. As talented with his left foot as his right, the acquisition of Adriano is a strong coup for a team that prides itself on its ability to open up the game all over the pitch. Adriano’s link-up play with passmaster Xavi could be nothing short of amazing.

4) Filipe Luis (Deportivo La Coruna to Atletico Madrid; €13.5M)

A freak accident last season prematurely ended Filipe Luis’ adventure, as the Brazilian-born left back was confined to the sidelines after sustaining a broken leg in a home league fixture against Athletic Bilbao and with it, all hopes and dreams of a World Cup call-up with the Seleccao. Nonetheless, Filipe’s ever improving form meant that he was eventually snatched by Atletico Madrid, who can now boast about having one of, if not the best, left backs in Spain. With new Brazil coach Mano Menezes ready to revamp his team, Filipe Luis’ national team convocation might just be a matter of time.

5) Roberto Soldado (Getafe to Valencia; €8M)

When losing a star player, who is possibly the best striker in the whole of Europe, the club concerned need to make sure that the gap is quickly filled. Such was Valencia’s situation, as they saw David Villa make that long awaited, inevitable move to Barcelona. Los Che therefore wasted no time in recruiting Getafe’s Roberto Soldado, a player who had just started to make a name for himself at the little Madrid club; A player who only gets better with age, Soldado’s arrival is sure to guarantee the Valencian club goals.


6) Fran Merida (Arsenal to Atletico Madrid; free transfer)

English clubs are famous around Europe for their “piracy” tag, as the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal rarely fail to lure any Spanish or Italian prospects, leaving the players’ original club as the true victims. Davide Petrucci, Federico Macheda, Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas all fit into that category. One player who made sure to break this rule is Fran Merida. Originally swiped from Barcelona’s famous La Masia youth academy by Arsenal, Merida exploded on to the scene last season with the Gunners. Hailed by many as the “next Fabregas”, Merida failed to reach common ground with the North London club, and headed back to Spain to sign for Atletico Madrid once his contract expired in June. A strong playmaker, he is definitely what the Rojiblancos have needed in recent years.

7) Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea to Real Madrid; €8M)

Ricardo Carvalho’s surprise transfer to Real Madrid was questionned by some; After all, the Spanish club have adopted a policy of signing young players, something that the former Porto man certainly isn’t at 32 years of age. However, for eight million euros, Madrid have brought in a genuine defensive leader, and the 2004 UEFA Defender of the Year wasted no time in showing his class against Bayern Munich in Franz Beckenbauer’s  testimonial match. With defenders Pepe and Ezequiel Garay facing time on the sidelines, Carvalho’s presence at Real certainly is welcomed. After all, he could turn into Mourinho’s new Lucio.

8) Sergio Canales (Racing Santander to Real Madrid; €4.5M)

Despite being saturated in the attacking midfield department, having players such as Kaka and Rafael van der Vaart, Sergio Canales’ transfer to Real Madrid at an absurd price of less than €5M is a coup in itself. The Santander youngster exploded on to the scene as one of Spain’s finest talents last season, prompting the Whites to snatch him and continue his development. With Kaka out for at least four months now, the Under-19 star will receive more action than he initially anticipated.

9) Diego Godin (Villarreal to Atletico Madrid; €8M)

A member of the Uruguay national team that reached the semi-finals of the World Cup, Diego Godin was immediately on Atletico Madrid’s radar, as the team looked for solid reinforcements after a Europa League winning season. The defender will link-up with Uruguay team-mate and star Diego Forlan in Madrid, and his fine performances over the summer mean that he is Quique Sanchez Flores’ first choice man for a centre back spot. Defence at Atletico is an area that is likely to get better following the addition of Filipe Luis, and the improvement of last season’s surprise, goalkeeper David de Gea.

10) Carlos Marchena (Valencia to Villarreal; €3M)

As Godin moved closer to the exit door, Villarreal drafted in a defensive expert in Carlos Marchena, with the senior Spain player making the journey from rivals Valencia for the fee of €3M. At 31, Marchena’s best years are certainly behind him, but the stopper has been called to dispute six official tournaments with La Furia Roja. What Marchena lacks in pace, he makes up for in expertise. Similar to Ricardo Carvalho, Carlos Marchena’s future could yet hold some bright moments.