With La Liga clubs spending in excess of €800m in June 2019, most sides are looking to settle down and prepare for the new season, which kicks off on August 18.
However, one club that looks to be just getting started in their transfer dealings is Villarreal, with around €45m coming into the club from player sales so far.
Manager Javier Calleja has allowed fringe players Roberto Soriano and Nicola Sansone leave to Serie A side Bologna, for a combined fee of €15m, whilst key midfielder Pablo Fornals has moved to West Ham for €30m.
The exits of Soriano and Sansone are unlikely to hurt the Yellow Submarine too much, but Fornals’ move to the Premier League will be an issue for Calleja, given his key role in the centre of midfield.
He is yet to make a move for a replacement, and may even opt to grant a more prominent role to promising Argentinian midfielder Santiago Caseres, who impressed in patches during his debut La Liga season in 2018-19.
However, one area of the team that will be strengthened before the beginning of pre season is defence – with Villarreal conceding 52 goals in 38 league games last season.
They are on the verge of bringing Spanish international Alberto Moreno back to La Liga, after he was released from Liverpool at the end of his contract at Anfield.
The former Sevilla player will be keen to resurrect a career that came to an abrupt end on Merseyside, due to injury, loss of form and the rise of Andrew Robertson ahead of him.
He could come directly into the starting line up for the new season, with Jaume Costa struggling to play a full season without cover in 2018-19.
Calleja is also working hard on a €4m deal to bring Raul Albiol in from Napoli, with current boss Carlo Ancelotti willing to let the experienced end his six-year stint in Naples.
Despite the fact he will turn 34 at the start of the new campaign, Albiol represents top level experience and leadership – something Calleja’s side distinctly lacked last season.
Issues at the other end of the pitch do remain a concern for Villarreal however, with Karl Toko Ekambi’s ten goals the club’s highest tally in La Liga for 2018-19, and suitable competition for both him and Carlos Bacca will be needed.
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