LaLiga 2022 Winter Transfer Window: The ultimate guide
2022 is underway, which means one thing…the winter transfer window is open. After a turbulent and unpredictable first half of the season, LaLiga clubs will be looking to strengthen and maintain their squads over the upcoming few weeks and there are definitely teams that need more than others…
Here, La Liga Lowdown takes a look at each club, speaking to fans and reporters from across Spain to get the inside track.
Los Babazorros may only be in the relegation zone on goal difference, but their slow start to the league campaign has not done them any favours. The only real highlight has been a shock win over Atlético Madrid at Mendizorroza but they couldn’t maintain that form, Javi Calleja’s given the boot after Christmas, and so the baton is passed to José Luis Mendilibar. He picks up a side winless in six, so needs immediate results to keep Alavés out of danger. Not easy when your remaining fixtures this month are Athletic Club, Real Betis and Barcelona. At least they can rely on Joselu – his half-term report reads 10 goals and two assists in LaLiga, and Alavés desperately need that to continue.
Alavés fan, socio and shareholder BanquilloAlbiazul doesn’t expect much from his team this winter: “I think at most one player will come, and at low cost. I would terminate John Guidetti’s contract immediately and bring another well-proven striker. I would give Facundo Pellistri back to Manchester United and bring another winger that contributes more than the Uruguayan and I would also sign two full-backs with experience in the league.”
Early on in the window, Jason Remeseiro has arrived nd Gonzalo Escalante has been linked with a Mendilibar reunion. "Alavés have long had an interest in Jason, and last summer he was close to joining. Now he's joined free, and we're hoping to see his best form in Vitoria," BanquillaAlbiazul added.
Keep up to date with Alavés on Twitter here: @BanquilloAlbia1
Marcelino’s team sit 10th in the LaLiga table at the league’s half-way point, which is probably slightly lower than expectations from their fans, especially with Marcelino in charge. Los Leones have drawn nine matches in LaLiga this season, the most in the division, and they have only managed 19 goals in the 20 games that they have played. Athletic are efficient at controlling the game in the opposition’s half and creating scoring chances, yet they are crying out for someone to finish those chances since nobody in the squad has been able to do it adeptly, despite Oihan Sancet’s hat-trick at Osasuna.
Basque football expert Beñat Gutiérrez has indicated that if Athletic are going to do business in January, it must be for an attacker: “The team really needs a striker but there doesn’t seem to be anyone out there on the market. Proof of that is there’s still people talking about Fernando Llorente even if he’s closer to being an ex-footballer than a solution for Athletic’s lack of scoring. If Athletic was another club, the sporting director would be scanning the market in search of an attacker, but once again I think that Athletic’s tree is going to be empty even a month after Christmas.”
Follow Beñat on Twitter here: @beinatguti
Atlético de Madrid
Atlético’s title defence has not gone to plan thus far as Atleti are fourth in the table behind Real Betis, Sevilla and Real Madrid. Retaining the trophy is surely beyond Los Colchoneros, but there is work to do in January nevertheless in order to correct the many problems that currently exist within the squad.
La Liga Lowdown’s own Carla Fernández has been an avid Atlético Madrid fan for most of her life and she knows what she would do in January if she was in charge of her club: “I think that the main target should definitely be David García from Osasuna. Our centre-backs just aren’t reliable; Stefan Savić and José María Giménez are always injured, Felipe has completely gone downhill since his brilliant first season and Mario Hermoso is bound to play regardless as he is our only left-footed centre-back.”
“There have also been reports from England that Newcastle are preparing a €35 million bid for Kieran Trippier and you cannot say no to that as we’d probably only get €15 million, at most, for him in the summer. However, I don’t know where we would go from there as the market for right-backs is quite limited at the moment, so we’d probably have to stick with Marcos Llorente at right-wing-back despite the fact that I think it’s quite counter-productive. Cesar Azpilicueta could be an option in the summer and Manu Sánchez would also be beneficial to us, albeit it’s unlikely that Osasuna would allow us both him and David García.”
You can find Carla on Twitter here: @carlafdez
Where does one start with Barça? It’s been a season of ups and downs so far for the Blaugrana (mainly downs) and it’s obvious that improvements within the squad are required; the question is how can the club meet the financial demands of said improvements? A sizeable bank loan has helped them bring Ferran Torres back to Spain, but clearly there’s more work to be done.
Another member of the La Liga Lowdown squad, Ruairidh Barlow, is a passionate Barcelona fan and he’s been trying to predict what else his club could possibly do in January: “As with every issue at Barcelona, it’s hard to analyse just how to solve a problem where there are multiple, textured layers of debris obscuring and affecting that problem, so it’s hard to know exactly where to start in terms of a transfer market. For one, depending on how gravely you view the Blaugrana’s top four prospects will inevitably influence how short-termist they will be. For another, there are serious doubt about whether Barcelona can finance any of this.”
“The stylistic choice that Xavi has emphasized more than anything else is pure wingers. Ousmane Dembélé, Abde Ezzalzouli and Yusuf Demir are in equal measures untested and unreliable - given the opportunity to sign a good winger, this would probably aid Xavi's cause the most. Being frivolous, another full-back/wing-back of repute could significantly ease the pressure on both the defence and midfield. Admittedly this is contingent on Xavi's formation of choice.”
Ruairidh can be found on Twitter here: @RuriBarlow
It’s fair to say that Manuel Pellegrini is working wonders with his Betis squad, with the 68-year-old guiding Los Verdiblancos into a top-four position by LaLiga’s midway point. Along with this, the Andalusians have made it to the next stage of the Europa League and their fans are feeling confident ahead of their knockout round play-off tie against Zenit St Petersburg.
Betis fan and Spanish football writer Andrew Miller has outlined the two positions that his club should be looking to reinforce this window: “It’s between centre-back and central midfield, yet the immediate priority would probably be another central midfielder. The double-pivot slots are covered by Guido Rodríguez, William Carvalho and Andrés Guardado, which has meant Sergio Canales has needed to fill in at times. His creativity is limited here, so another defensive option on loan would be ideal, especially heading into the Europa League knockouts.”
LaLigaTV reporter and Betis specialist David Whitworth prefers the prospect of an additional centre-back however: “Both Germán Pezzella and Víctor Ruiz have niggly injuries which have kept them out of the team. Plus, on the odd occasions, we have shipped two or three goals in a game through mistakes by central defenders, so that would be a good area to target. Nonetheless, I do not see us making any reinforcements in January.”
Keep up to date with Betis with Andrew and David on Twitter here: @AndrewMillerNBA & @DCWh1tw0rth
Cádiz returned to Spanish football’s top division last season and in their first year back, they finished 12th with the healthy points tally of 44, 10 above relegated Huesca. At this point in the season last year, Cádiz were in the top half and above the likes of Betis and Athletic, but things are markedly different this time around, with Cádiz in the drop zone, winless in six in LaLiga since their last win in early November against Athletic. They struggle with finishing the many scoring chances that they produce, protecting leads and defending down the flanks; there needs to be a couple of additions to sort things out.
Sergio Vargas, Cádiz fan and analyst, understands that there are a specific few areas that Cádiz should be targeting in January: “We need three to four signings that can increase the quality in the team, not players to add depth to the bench but players that go straight in the starting line-up. I would say we need at least one forward as Álvaro Negredo is not at the level of last year while Florin Andone and Milutin Osmajić have not proved to be good enough at the moment. Another beneficial addition would be a winger (preferably left footed) as we have not had one since Álvaro Garcia who is now at Rayo.”
“I would also say that we require another central-midfielder as our captain and key player José Mari is very injury prone. I would say that reinforcing those three positions would be an absolute minimum. Another attacking player is definitely needed while maybe another central midfielder and centre-back would also help depending on what the club is thinking.”
Keep updated with Cádiz on Twitter here: @CadizAnalytics
Celta are a team with bags of quality up and down the pitch, but sometimes the team struggles to translate this talent into results. They enjoy keeping hold of the ball as their average possession for the season so far is 56.6%, but Iago Aspas and Santi Mina combined have scored 72.7% of their league goals (16 in 22), so they need to lessen the burden on those two while keeping things a little tighter at the back. A couple of wins have pushed the Galicians back towards relative safety in mid-table, with the likes of Athletic and Espanyol within range, but strangely, they have picked up 15 of their 23 points away from home, while they’ve only won two of their 10 league games at Balaídos.
Fan Ian Morris, better known as @CeltaUSA on Twitter, isn’t expecting much from the club this winter. “There shouldn’t be too many surprises or unexpected moves from Celta this January. We already know that Celta will bring on Mexican international attacking winger Orbelín Pineda, who will join on a free transfer and test the waters in Europe. Celta’s board also expects to loan out young midfielder Miguel Baeza to a second division club. They’ll try to open up some salary space via a sale or loan of Okay Yokuslu, who excelled on loan at West Brom last season but who surprisingly stayed on at Celta after coming back this summer. I expect them to try to free up some money to try to bring on another striker, which is desperately needed to give Celta some insurance behind Santi Mina, but it won’t be easy.”
“I do think we definitely need to bring in another striker, preferably on a loan deal, for some depth with the rest of the season and a hopeful Cup run in mind. Other than that, I think Celta is pretty well set. Now it’s just a matter of hoping that the team can produce better results in the second half of the season.”
Follow all the latest from Vigo by following Ian on Twitter at @CeltaUSA.
New head coach Francisco has a lot of work to do if he wants to maintain Elche’s place in Primera División as Los Franjiverdes are threatened with relegation once again after they stayed up by the skin of their teeth last season. Elche sit just above the bottom three at the time of writing, but can’t afford to relax. The individual skill in Elche’s squad has come up trumps so far this season, possibly rescuing them some points in certain situations, but Elche do need to resolve some issues that they have within their squad.
Elche fan Keith Farnan believes that business definitely needs to transpire in January: “A backup left-back to Johan Mojica is key as Antonio Barragán is not an adequate option in the long term. The most crucial addition would be a new central midfielder with quality on the ball, someone who can put their foot on the ball and control things when times are tough. Under Francisco, we have the majority of the ball in most of our games, but nobody can pick that lock from the centre of the park.”
Follow Keith on Twitter here: @Keith_678
Los Periquitos returned to Primera after their sabbatical away in Segunda and they definitely feel as if they’re here to stay. Espanyol’s well-earned 26 points leave them in the top half, and results such as their 2-1 win over Real Madrid at the RCDE Stadium show their positivity and quality. Raúl de Tomás’ nine goals and two assists have caught the eyes of many, including Spain coach Luis Enrique, so it’s fair to say that Espanyol are a force to be reckoned with in the final third.
La Liga Lowdown’s Barcelona-native, Román de Arquer, doesn’t expect much from Espanyol this window: "In all honesty I think Espanyol have a compensated squad with enough depth, so they don’t have to worry too much about the upcoming transfer window. But if they absolutely had to bring someone in, I think they should be looking at an attacking player that can boost their options going forward and potentially score goals. Loren Morón, Wu Lei and Landry Dimata haven't proven to be prolific goalscorers, so the team depends too much on Raúl de Tomás. Also, Adri Embarba has been underperforming slightly as a winger, not providing that punch he showed last season in Segunda with nine goals and 14 assists.”
Román can be found on Twitter here: @Aeroslavee
Míchel’s return to Getafe didn’t exactly go to plan (played 8, won 0, drawn 1, lost 7), but Quique Sánchez Flores has given Los Azulones some hope after a dreadful start to the campaign. The biggest change has been in their home form (four wins and a draw in their last five, with four clean sheets) to guide them up to 16th, including a 4-0 thumping of Cádiz and a shock victory over Real Madrid. Their fans will be hoping that their team can build on this in the coming months, but a couple of reinforcements in January would really help their cause.
Getafe fan Dom Tancock is aware of what his club needs in order to boost their survival hopes for the season: “For me if we could sign three players then I would go for a decent goalkeeper, a ball-playing midfielder (someone with a bit of flair to unlock tight games) and I still think we lack a leading number nine like Jorge Molina used to be, holding up the ball and utilising a good eye for goal. In terms of the keeper, David Soria isn’t confident enough and whilst he’s a great shot-stopper, his indecisiveness with corners and crosses leads to panic in the defence.”
President Ángel Torres says that new additions are unlikely this winter, but Getafe are a team full of surprises as their win over Real Madrid to kick off 2022 showed.
Follow Dom on Twitter here: @dorsetdom1905
The absence of Diego Martínez can definitely be felt in Granada as Robert Moreno has struggled to live up to the expectations that were set by his predecessor. A humbling defeat in the Copa del Rey by fourth-tier Mancha Real was enough evidence to indicate that they were still feeling the effects of the departure of one of the most influential figures in the club’s history, but they bounced back with back-to-back victories at home to Mallorca and then, memorably, Atlético Madrid.
Granada fan and writer Heath Chesters has some clear ideas on what he would do at his club in this window: “Granada have already started business with the loan addition of Álex Collado, but I’m unsure of what the terms will be as Barça wanted Granada to pay full wages which is why Granada denied the deal’s completion when Barcelona announced it. Anyway, aside from another wide player, covered by the arrival of Collado, plus a good physical central midfielder, that’s probably all Granada really need to look at in January. Otherwise, they already have quality prospects waiting within the B team.”
“Raúl Torrente has done well and will improve with more games at centre-back, Adrián Butzke is a good central striker prospect and already seems to be edging ahead of Bacca in the pecking order. There’s also Isma Ruiz, who can play as an attacking midfielder or deeper as a pivot, who is also beginning to feature more. Personally speaking, I’d prefer to give those B-team players games, rather than spend on additions that would be little more than squad players.”
Give Heath a follow on Twitter here: @HeathGCF
Levante’s season couldn’t have gone worse, to put it bluntly. They find themselves rock-bottom of LaLiga with eight points, another eight from safety, without a league win in a record 27 games, and already out of the Copa del Rey. It’s difficult to picture an escape route for Los Granotas, but newly appointed coach Alessio Lisci seems to have positively impacted Levante in the final third as they scored six in their last two against Alcoyano and Espanyol, albeit not picking up wins in either.
Paco Polit is one of the Valencian Community’s most knowledgeable reporters and one of La Liga Lowdown’s very own. He acknowledges the peril that Levante find themselves in but understands how they could fix it: “In a perfect world, a total revolution in almost every position is what they need, especially at the back. It’s plausible that Dani Cárdenas and Aitor Fernández are the only ones that you cannot blame, but right-back is a disaster and Shkodran Mustafi’s injury makes the signing of a centre-back an absolute must. The role of defensive midfielder could surely use an upgrade too, but unfortunately, a lack of funds will mean that only a couple of signings will be made, and potentially all of them will be on loan.”
Give Paco a follow on Twitter here: @pacopolitENG
Mallorca are putting up a fight in LaLiga this year as they look to stay up on the first time of asking. The team from the Balearic Islands have bagged 20 points, including the scalp of Atlético Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano, but that’s been their sole victory in the last 11 in LaLiga, and they’re still only four points above the bottom three, so they have to stay focused. Mallorca are strong off attacking set pieces and create many chances from through-balls, but individual errors have cost them this term along with struggling to maintain possession of the ball.
Mallorca reporter Alex Fitzpatrick believes that they are in the market for a centre forward and outside of that, he thinks that they might look at a centre-back depending on how Raillo’s injury progresses. “I think in reality they won’t do too much business though.”
Mallorca fan BuFuScott also thinks that a forward is a necessity this window: “It’s got to be getting in a clinical striker who knows where the net is and takes the chances they’re given, I also would look at the midfield as I know that there have been some injuries that cannot be helped, but it would be ideal to find a holding midfielder that would permit Dani Rodríguez to uphold a more forward position.”
Follow Alex and Scott on Twitter here: @Mallorcalex100 & @BuFuScott.
After Osasuna’s losses against Getafe and Athletic Club, Los Rojillos sit at 14th in the table. They are a spirited and energetic team that excel at coming back from losing positions and stealing the ball from the opposition in vital moments. David García is the club’s top scorer this season so far from centre-back along with Chimy Ávila as they both have scored 3 times. Despite the fact that Osasuna are currently experiencing quite a poor run of form (no win in 10 in LaLiga), their fans may not be too upset with their season so far, as at this time last year, they were in the relegation zone.
José Carlos Valenciano Andía of fan site elSadar.com and Carrusel Deportivo is expecting it to be a quiet window. “Despite no wins in the last nine, the good start means Osasuna are in a comfortable position, and with a deep squad, the expectation is that there won’t be any signings, which would be the first market without signings since Braulio Vázquez was appointed sporting director in 2017.”
Tune in to all the latest at Osasuna by following José Carlos at @JoseCarlosVA.
La Real have gone off the boil in recent weeks following their excellent form over the season’s opening months which encouraged some to believe that the Txuri-Urdin may even challenge for the LaLiga title, but after no wins in six league games, Imanol Alguacil’s team find themselves in a scrap for third or fourth place. Captain Mikel Oyarzabal has netted six times for Real Sociedad this season (but not in LaLiga for three months) and Alexander Isak four times, but the defensive partnership between Elustondo and Le Normand has been La Real’s best asset this season.
In addition to the loan signing of former Barcelona and Celta midfielder attacker Rafinha, Real Sociedad fan Andoni Otxotorena told us, “in Donosti, we aren’t expecting any changes in the winter market. Jokin Aperribay and Roberto Olabe aren’t keen on changing squads in the winter market, they like to stick with their team year by year. Jonathan Gómez, the best youngster in MLS, arrives in Donostia in January for the B team, having signed in November.”
“I think the squad is balanced. I feel frustrated for Ander Barrenetxea, who is clearly lacking confidence. I don’t think it will happen because the club believes in him, but I think a loan allowing him to play all the time could help. There have been some rumours, like Juan Mata, Diego Godín, and young Real Zaragoza defender Alejandro Francés. I think Mata could play a similar role to David Silva, who I don’t think will renew his contract due to injuries. I think the club could also sign someone if they don’t extend Adnan Januzaj’s contract, and Skov Olsen has been mentioned.”
“With Olabe, you can never be sure,” adds fellow La Real supporter and host of Corazón Txuri Urdin podcast Juan Rodríguez. “Because he’s so dynamic as a sporting director and very alert to opportunities in the market.”
“I think it’s clear that the team needs to reinforce the position of playmaker. Just look at the importance of Martin Ødegaard two years ago, and he’s a player we’d love to see in blue and white again, and seeing Silva’s fitness since he joined, I’m sure Olabe is working on that.”
You can keep up to date with Real Sociedad by following Andoni at @andoniotxo_ and Juan at @Juanr81.
It’s hard to argue against Rayo Vallecano being the most exciting team to watch so far this season, not to mention the most surprising. In their first season back in Primera, Rayo are shock contenders for Europe in sixth place, above the likes of Real Sociedad, Villarreal and Valencia. They have great individual skill within their squad, but Andoni Iraola has his team playing brilliant collective football. Their results do the talking here: they have the best home record in LaLiga so far, taking 25 of the 27 points on offer, including a win over Barcelona. Only one win on the road though – at San Mamés.
Robbie Dunne, writer for AS, believes that Los Vallecanos should be looking to add more security to the defence: “I think Rayo could maybe do with a centre-back. They have been solid in defence so far this season and I think a lot of this is down to Iraola's management, but I fear that hard times are coming soon, and they will need a better central defender. That's probably the most pressing area as far as I can see. After that, they have good depth in centre-midfield but maybe on the wing. They have good players there, but they are so reliant on Álvaro García and Isi Palazón that if either drop-off, it could mean disaster for their form. So, having someone to add competition there might not be the worst idea. Having said that, if you asked Iraola, I'm sure he would want to improve all over the field.”
You can follow Robbie on Twitter here: @robbiejdunne
Los Blancos have blown away almost everything in their path this season, so it was a real surprise to see them lose 1-0 at Getafe to leave them five points clear of second-placed Sevilla in LaLiga having played a game more. Overall though, Vinícius’ sudden excellence in the final third has aided their title charge along with the expected goal-scoring prowess of Karim Benzema, but the defensive assurance that is ensued from Éder Militão, David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois has been unmatched this season, definitely galvanising Los Merengues and emboldening the whole squad with confidence.
Real Madrid Correspondent for ESPNFC Alex Kirkland reckons it’s likely to be an uneventful winter window: “I expect Real Madrid to have a quiet January. I think we've seen so far this season that they have a well-balanced, strong squad and there's no urgent need for reinforcement. Carlo Ancelotti said just recently that he doesn't expect any incomings, he's not a fan of the January window and generally views it as an opportunity to correct mistakes made in the summer.”
“If anything, I think we might see one or two players who have barely featured leave. It does no good for a young player like Antonio Blanco to be sat on the bench at this stage of his development, he could leave on loan. I think the club would be more than happy to see Isco leave, but there hasn't been any interest in him, so that would have to change. Eden Hazard is one to keep an eye on - I think he'd be extremely reluctant to leave in January and be perceived as a failure, but if the right offer came in from the right club, I wouldn't rule it out either. Dani Ceballos is another one to watch, given the competition in midfield and the fact that he's just back from injury now and could really do with six months of regular football, which he won't get at the Bernabéu.”
Follow Alex on Twitter here: @alexkirkland
As in recent seasons, Sevilla are pushing hard in the title race at the half-way stage, knowing they can move to within two points of Real Madrid if they win their game in hand. They may be second, but there’s rarely been a game in which they’ve come out second best. Lucas Ocampos netted a late winner against champions Atlético – he has five league goals, as does Rafa Mir, who has proven a very astute signing…but then what else would you expect from sporting director Monchi? Jules Koundé is seemingly influential every week and he’s even now one of France’s first choices at the back. The only blot on his record so far was picking up a foolish red card in the 1-1 draw with Barcelona just before Christmas.
Football España editor and Sevilla fan Alan Feehely thinks that Los Rojiblancos just need something extra to compete with Real Madrid: “I think Sevilla's squad is pretty well balanced. It could be improved, of course, but not by a signing they're likely to make this winter. They're not going to splash out on a world-class centre-forward or a world-class playmaker, two acquisitions that would help them do battle with Real Madrid for the title. I think Sevilla could go for another centre-back in January and potentially someone like Isco. They've been lacking that creative midfielder ever since Éver Banega left.”
You can follow Alan on Twitter here: @azulfeehely
José Bordalás has clearly evolved this bare Valencia squad into a team that epitomises him as a manager. Javi Gracia had Los Che in 14th at this point last season, but Bordalás has led his team to ninth and within shouting distance of the European places. Valencia are another team that a neutral enjoy look watching as fighting back from losing positions, showcasing individual skill and finishing scoring chances have been welcome benefits of the Bordalás transformation.
La Liga Lowdown’s Paco Polit has set some realistic expectations for Los Murciélagos this window: “Bordalás has been working hard to make the most of an unbalanced squad, with highlights of unquestionable quality (Gonçalo Guedes, Carlos Soler, José Luis Gayà...) but also a severe lack of IQ in some positions. The example of the way to go would be Dimitri Foulquier and Hugo Duro, two players who the manager knew perfectly from previous teams and slotted in straight away. A central defender and a defensive midfielder are his main targets; again, Valencia's delicate economy will make the task more difficult.”
Paco can be found on Twitter here: @pacopolitENG
The Yellow Submarine have had to contend with the absences of many starting players this season and a result, Unai Emery’s side struggled for a while to achieve consistency. The performances perhaps deserved better results, but patience is a virtue, and with Gerard Moreno’s return, Villarreal have put together a six-match winning run across Champions League, Copa del Rey and LaLiga, scoring 25 goals in the process. A difficult tie against Juventus awaits the Europa League champions in February, but before then, they have an opportunity to use their momentum in the league and potentially an assault on the top four.
Villarreal season-ticket holder and journalist Jamie Kemble is struggling to forecast his team’s window considering their expenditure in the summer: “It's tricky to see where business will be done, especially due to the amount that was spent over the summer. Ultimately, they are well-stacked in most areas, but obviously it hasn't gone particularly well so far this season. Getting Gerard Moreno back should be like a new signing in itself. I would suggest any departures will likely dictate incomings. It will be interesting to see if Cedric Bakambu becoming available for free tempts Villarreal. He is still well-liked by the Yellows and remains in contact with the club. However, between Moreno, Paco Alcácer and Boulaye Dia, it might be difficult to justify a new striker. Alcácer is the only one the club might consider offloading but doing so at this point makes little sense given his form and the reduced fee the club would have to take.”
“It will be interesting to see if Emery looks at a goalkeeper given Gerónimo Rulli's struggles to play the way Emery wants him to. An affordable keeper like Neto at Barcelona might be tempting. Other than that, I can't see Villarreal doing much unless there is a departure or if a very good opportunity comes up. They will already have options lined up if Pau Torres leaves, but I don't think that's likely to happen until the summer.”
Follow Jamie on Twitter here: @JamieKemble
To keep track of all of the January transfer business being done, follow us on Twitter at @LaLigaLowdown.