* When the transfer window closed, David De Gea was still trying to squeeze through it. The collapse of his move to Real Madrid, and Keylor Navas’s dependent move to Manchester United, has ended up being the story of the summer. It has also ended up with the two clubs accusing each other of culpability for the deal not going through.
It had all been left late — too late. And when it came to it Real Madrid did not manage to complete the transfer through FIFA’s Transfer matching System (TMS) before the midnight deadline or register him in time with the league.
For now, then, De Gea and Navas stay. But with Madrid accusing United in a statement and United responding with a statement of their own, with two players who are far from happy and with criticism flying, a lot of damage has been done.
* Spanish clubs spent a record 558.3m euros on players in the market, selling 401.2m worth, even though for once it was not really Madrid and Barcelona who acted as the motors behind the market. Atlético Madrid and Valencia both spent more on signings in absolute terms and even in net spend,
Valencia are the biggest spenders, although that figure needs to be treated carefully: the 86.5m net (137m total) includes the signings of Rodrigo (30m), Negredo (28m) and Gomes (15m) which were done last summer but formalised and paid for this.
* Atlético may have done the best business, spending 126m on transfers but at a net cost of a little over 5m.
The sales of Arda Turan (41), Mandzukic (19), Alderweireld (16), Miranda (15), Mario Suárez (10), Raúl García (10) and Raúl Jiménez (9) have enabled them to reshape their squad.
Jackson Martínez, Luciano Vietto and Filipe Luis are among seven signings, while Oliver Torres has returned from Porto.
“We have more versatility now,” said captain Gabi.
This may well be the best squad Atlético have ever had. A 3-0 win at Sevilla, where the home side had been beaten just once in over a year, was greeted by most as a sign that they are to be taken seriously this season. Next up: Barcelona at the Calderón.
* Joaquín is back! Nine years later, Betis’s cheeky scamp with the long line in jokes, the infectious and uncontainable laugh, the glint in his eye and the tasty tricks on the wing returned to the club and there were thousands there to greet him.
“I feel like a kid in [Spanish toy shop] Imaginarium,” Joaquín said. If there was any doubt that he’s a bit different, one radio show, Al Primer Toque, asked him the most important question: “Have you got a joke for us?” Joaquín, of course, obliged. Soon they were rolling about.
* And so the team at the top of the table after two weeks is … Eibar. Which is not bad for a team that was relegated on the final day of last season.
Eibar and Celta have two wins and identical records, two of only four teams to have won every match so far alongside Atletico and Barcelona. It won’t last longer but, with this week being international week, they will be there for a fortnight at least. And for Eibar, the smallest team in the league, it is particularly special. This is the first time Celta have been top in a decade and the first time Eibar have been top ever. It is, after all, only their second season in primera. And they didn’t think they would even be here.
Eibar were relegated on the final day of last season and their manager departed, declaring himself unable to continue because he had failed in his objective: to keep them up. Soon, though, they were back. Thirteenth placed Elche were demoted for their financial mismanagement and Eibar were handed a reprieve. Now they’re league leaders.
In two years and four months Eibar have gone from the Second Division B to the Second Division to the First Division to the Second Division to the First Division again, and now to the top of the table.
* Thomas Vermaelen scored his first goal in three years to give Barcelona a 1-0 win over Malaga.
“I didn’t celebrate because it has been a long time since I scored and I didn’t know what to do,” he admitted.
* Roberto Soldado, back home and back being himself. Two games, two goals and two assists for Villarreal. Welcome, Roberto.