x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Barcelona, Real Madrid may take it easy at the transfer window

Both teams look content with their squads, though others in Primera Liga might need sprucing up.

Kaka has decided to stay put at Real Madrid despite some speculation over his future.
Kaka has decided to stay put at Real Madrid despite some speculation over his future.

The two-week winter break ended in Spanish football last night with several Copa del Rey matches, while Barcelona return to action tonight at home to Osasuna.

Lionel Messi returned from his holiday in Argentina on Monday, a few days later than expected, and was whisked straight from the airport to the training ground.

Barca fans become nervous when anything to do with their star does not go exactly to plan, and want him focused for Sunday's derby at Espanyol.

The Catalans do not plan to take advantage of the January transfer window to replace the injured David Villa, who begins his long recuperation today after successful surgery on a broken leg.

There are unlikely to be any players leaving either, with Pep Guardiola, the coach, content with a squad that won five trophies in 2011. Those trophies will be on display at an open training session tomorrow.

Real Madrid are content with their lot too.

Despite speculation, Kaka has told his teammates that he is going nowhere. Real will allow Esteban Granero to move on, with several English clubs interested in the midfielder.

Other Spanish clubs are not so comfortable with their position and need to make changes.

Just like last season, Real Zaragoza, the bottom club, are likely to be busy in the transfer window, though selling Ander Herrera, their best player, a year ago contributed to their current dire predicament.

Zaragoza have said they need a winger, central defender, central midfielder and a striker. They have picked up just two wins and 10 points from 16 games so far and will let several of their failing stars leave. No club in Spain has a higher turnover of players and none has disappointed as much as the club from Aragon.

Average crowds have dipped from over 30,000 three years ago to just under 24,000 now.

The rest of the clubs are likely to be opportunistic and most have no money, though Valencia hope to continue their impressive recruitment policy by signing Ajax's 23-year-old right-back Gregory van der Wiel.

They had hoped to offer him Champions League football, but he will have to settle for the Europa League, a competition he is already in with Ajax.

sports@thenational.ae