While Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid fight for the right of the Spanish footballing crown, their inability to continuously fight Premier League clubs for players is evident ever since the new TV deal kicked in for the British teams.
One way to ensure they have the best talents is to buy within the league. A host of other La Liga stars are competent and talented enough to play for the likes of Real Madrid, their cross-city rivals Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.
We look at five players from the La Liga who could join one of the three big clubs:
5) Sergio Rico – Sevilla
Widely considered one of the best young keepers coming through in the game, Sevilla’s Sergio Rico is constantly linked with a move to a host of big European clubs but given Real Madrid and Barcelona are both dissatisfied with their current keepers, a move could be likely.
The 23-year-old has kept 9 clean sheets in all competitions for Sevilla this season. His tall frame and agility off the line are hugely beneficial for Jorge Sampaoli’s men but what separates Sergio Rico from a host of other goalkeepers is his decision making.
He knows when to run out and collect the ball, and when to stay back and hold the fort. He’s got the right response to deal with both kinds of situations and should Real Madrid and Barcelona fail to strike a deal.
4) Jose Luis Gaya – Valencia
Real Madrid has been linked with a move for young Jose Luis Gaya for what seems like an eternity now. The Valencia left-back is a huge talent for Spain and has the kind of blistering pace and ball control that could be comparable to a left-winger.
He’s only 21 and is considered the future left-back of the Spanish national team – replacing Barcelona’s Jordi Alba. He’s got all the right ingredients and has the kind of talent to continuously be linked with a move to one of the big clubs.
3) Joaquin Correa – Sevilla
A top young player who’s largely gone under the radar in La Liga this season is Sevilla’s, Joaquin Correa. The 22-year-old Argentinean joined Jorge Sampaoli’s men only this season from Serie A side Sampdoria for €8.4 million and has since impressed this season already notching three goals and three assists in all competitions.
With his pace, close control and ability to beat defenders on the dribble, a team like Atletico Madrid would hugely benefit from signing him. With Antoine Griezmann and Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco linked with moves to the Premier League.
Correa will not come cheap though given his performances for the club. He’s valued between €30 million and €40 million by the club, given his contract is set to expire only in 2021. He can also score loads of goals meaning that valuation could rise significantly by the end of the current season.
2) Inaki Williams – Athletic Bilbao
There are several incredible talents within the Athletic Bilbao squad but one of their most prized assets has to be 22-year-old Inaki Williams. The Spaniard can play across the front three and has the kind of confidence and talent to succeed.
He’s quick, really quick, and reminds people of a young Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. His finishing has improved drastically this season having already scored three goals. His ability to pick a pass is excellent, too having already gotten five assists in all competitions.
1) Aymeric Laporte – Athletic Bilbao
If Inaki Williams was one of Athletic Bilbao’s prized assets, Aymeric Laporte is their crown jewel. The 22-year-old Frenchman is not only one of the first-ever players born outside the Basque region to feature for the team, but also one of the most talented young defenders in the game currently.
But the 22-year-old has a massive release of €65 million in his contract making him the most expensive player in La Liga outside those who represent Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid. And he has the kind of talent that makes him a truly special player.