The seven best La Liga transfers of the season so far

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald 22 Dec 2021 17:55 CET 5 min read
Real Madrid new signing David Alaba with president Florentino Perez

Over the last couple of decades, La Liga has been home to some of the very best players in the world, probably the two best in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo when the pair were opponents in Spain.

At the moment, the departures of the aforementioned duo as well as the likes of Neymar have left the Spanish top flight bereft of global superstars, at least compared to the period when Barcelona and Real Madrid in particular dominated European football.

Financially, the league is unable to compete wth the Premier League and as such has had to get creative in the transfer market.

Barcelona's perilous financial situation meant that all of their recruits in the summer were free transfers with the exception of Emerson Royal, who was sold for profit anyway.


Real Madrid, meanwhile, only spent big in terms of a transfer fee on Eduardo Camavinga, and even that was a small deal by their usual standards.

Some transfers have emerged as excellent deals, so here are seven who are performing to or exceeding expectations.

David Alaba

It was the end of an era at Real Madrid in the summer as the hugely successful partnership of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane was broke up, with the former heading to Paris Saint-Germain and the latter going to Manchester United.

Reinforcements were, of course, required and Madrid acted quickly to bring in David Alaba on a free transfer from Bayern Munich.

To gain a player of such experience and talent for free, albeit on massive wages, was a coup for the club and he has gone on to become an excellent acquisition, quickly establishing himself as the senior member of the back four.

There are only two clubs who have conceded less goals than Madrid this season and Alaba's organisational skills and athleticism are a big reason for that.

In all competitions he has two goals and three assists to his name, too, with one of his goals coming via a free-kick in the Champions League.

Arnaut Danjuma

Villarreal winger Arnaut Danjuma has been a hit in La Liga in the first half of the season, with his form apparently attracting the interest of numerous clubs from around Europe.

The 24-year-old traded Bournemouth for Villarreal in the summer for around €23 million and has been an instant hit.

Arnaut Danjuma

Arnaut Danjuma

Danjuma has scored five goals and created two more in 12 La Liga appearances and has equally excelled in his debut Champions League season, netting four times in six matches as the Spaniards progressed to the last 16 of the competition.

He can be erratic, but when on form he can be hard to stop bombing down that left wing.

Rodrigo De Paul

The biggest spenders from Spain in the transfer window were Atletico Madrid, who spent around €60 million on new recruits.

€35m of that was on Udinese midfielder Rodrigo De Paul, who hasn't just been one of Atletico's best signings but one of their best players in general.

As a while, Los Colchoneros have struggled in the defence of their La Liga title so far this campaign, but a shining light has been De Paul who has taken nicely to life in Spain.

His overall goal contributions have been relatively poor, with just one goal and one assist in all competitions, but he never shies away from possession and is always looking to make something happen.

In a side suffering from a lack of creativity, he is shouldering that burden currently.

Juan Foyth

Juan Foyth was never given much of a chance at Tottenham which is why he went out on loan to Villarreal last season.

After helping the Yellow Submarine to their first every major trophy, the Europa League, Villarreal made the move permanent in the summer and he has continued to look at home.

Indeed, only three outfield players have made more starts than him for Villarreal in La Liga this season, highlighting his importance to the side.

Radamel Falcao

It seemed to be the last throw of the career dice for Radamel Falcao as he earned a move back to a top five league after spending three seasons at Galatasaray.

In his last campaign in Turkey he featured just nine times in the league, but helped the Istanbul giants with a return of nine goals, proving he still knew where the goal was.

He would sign for Rayo Vallecano in the summer and although he remains very much a rotation option, starting just four games and 10 including substitute appearances, he has scored five goals.

At the end of October, he scored a famous Rayo goal in a victory that ultimately led to the dismissal of Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman.

Boulaye Dia

The summer transfer window has proven to be a very fruitful one for Villarreal as their third and final entry on our list is Boulaye Dia.

Last season, Dia lit up Ligue 1 with 14 goals scored in 25 starts, which was enough for Villarreal to bring him in for around €12.

Though he is not a key player for Villarreal yet, his contributions have been excellent.

In eight starts in La Liga has has three goals and three assists to his name, and four each in all competitions. He has proved to be a very useful acquisition.

Willian Jose

Willian Jose had been wanting to leave Real Sociedad for a long time prior to his loan deal to Betis.

The Brazilian fell out with the club after they allegedly went back on a promise to let him join Tottenham, Manchester United or Barcelona.

He has been with the Basque side since 2016 and scored 62 goals in 171 matches, though he did spent the second half of last season on loan at Wolves.

Willian has emerged as an important player for Betis as they enjoy a period in the top four, scoring six goals and recording four assists in just 12 starts.