Squad news

PREVIEW: LA LIGA 2016/17

18 Aug 2016
A new season starts on Friday, around €335 million have been invested as the clubs prepares their squads in the quest for their specific goals. Depor is the second club with more signings so far and one of the eight sides that have changed the coach.

GOALS
Nothing is new; Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Atlético Madrid are the favourites to the title, while Sevilla CF and Villarreal CF are targeting the remaining spot in the Champions League. Athletic Club, Málaga CF and RC Celta are aiming to end among the first six places, while the rest will be happy with a slot at mid-table or at least securing the permanence. The three new sides in the league are CA Osasuna, Deportivo Alavés and CD Leganés, the latter is debuting at Primera.

SPONSOR
After a decade with Banco BBVA sponsoring the Primera and Segunda División, now the sponsor is Banco Santander. It seems they are paying around €25 million per season, amount inferior to what Samsung was offering, but la liga preferred to have a Spanish company as sponsor. Now the Primera División is also known as Liga Santander and the Segunda División is called Liga 1, 2, 3 (the name of one of Santander’s services).

NEW RULES
FIFA have imposed new rules for the season 2016/17, among the main ones is the offside rule and the fourth change. From now own the hands and the head won’t count at the moment of whistling an offside, while a game that reaches the extra-time will open the possibility to make a fourth change. A penalty committed by a last defender before an attacker won’t be punished with a direct red card –unless it’s an aggression- It’s also possible to mix natural and artificial turf in a football pitch. The referees can also whistle a penalty in case a rival invades the pitch coming out from the bench and can also expel players before the kick-off and after the final whistle.

One of the most controversial new rules is related to the new set introduced by the LFP and is related to the empty spots at the stadiums. From now own la liga will fine the clubs that show empty seats on television. New regulations require top-tier clubs to fill sections of the stadium which are shown by certain camera angles. If the occupation is below the 75%, then the clubs will be fined.

KICK-OFF TIMES
There are novelties with the kick-off times for the new season. Now, there are no games starting at 10 PM on Saturdays or Sundays, instead there’s a new frame on Saturday’s noon (13h00), while there will continue to be matches held on Fridays (20h30 & 22h00) and Mondays (20h30). The other eight frames are divided on Saturdays (13h00, 16h00, 18h15 & 20h30) and Sundays (12h00, 16h00, 18h15 & 20h30).

SIGNINGS
La Liga Santander 2016/17 kick-offs on Friday with two games and with the twenty clubs ready to fight for their goals. 19 of the 20 clubs have completed signings investing around €335 million and of this list, only two haven’t paid anything in a final transfer (Sporting & Osasuna).

As always the main candidates for the title are Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Atlético Madrid, bur in this opportunity Sevilla CF and Villarreal CF have also invested an important amount of money; actually they have invested more than Real Madrid, at least for the moment.

FC Barcelona leads the charts with €80 million invested in only four signings, among them midfielder André Gómes coming from Valencia (€35 million), who is the most expensive signing up to this point. Atlético Madrid is second in the list with €66 million invested and also have the second most expensive signing: striker Kevin Gameiro (€32 million).

Villarreal CF (€51 million) and Sevilla CF (€39 million) are also making important investments as they compete in the Champions League. The Andalusians are paying €10 million for both midfielders Joaquín Correa and Paulo Ganso, while the yellow submarine paid €15 million for midfielder Roberto Soriano and €13 million for striker Nicola Sansone.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid and Valencia CF have remained unusually quiet. The Madrilenians have only completed the return of striker Álvaro Morata for €32 million, which is strange; especially since they have a pending sanction that won’t allow them to make signings in the near future. In the case of the Valencians, they have only made four signings and only paid for winger Nani (€8.5 million).

The rest of clubs (14) fight for different goals, which goes from the Europa League to merely survive at the elite. Athletic Club is the only Primera outfit that hasn’t made any signing yet, which is normal as they are used to reinforce the team with players from their academy.

Then the case of Betis CF, side that has invested €19 million in 9 signings, the main one is striker Tonny   Sanabria (€7.5 million) after an impressive season with Sporting Gijón. Deportivo is 11th in terms of money invested (€5 million) among the Primera sides and second in terms of number of signings (12). Deportivo Alavés is the team with the largest number of signings in the league (15), there are other two clubs with 10 or more signings: Sporting Gijón (11) and CD Leganés (10).

COACHES
8 of the 20 clubs are changing the coach: Villarreal CF, Sevilla CF, Betis CF, Deportivo, RCD Espanyol, Málaga CF, Granada CF and Deportivo Alavés. In a controversial move, newcomer Alavés decided to fire Bordalás despite clinching the promotion and replaced him with Mauricio Pellegrino, while Marcelino left Villarreal after a fight with the players during the Teresa Herrera. He was replaced with Fran Escribá

ARCHIVE NEWS AUG/16

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