Market close: Mbappé, Griezmann, Falcao... and the anger of Tebas

The craziest market in recent years ends with Barça giving away goals to Atlético and Sevilla retaining Koundé
Kylian Mbappe, Paris St Germain player

REUTERS/STEPHANE MAHE  -   Kylian Mbappe, Paris St Germain player

The year in which Florentino Pérez wanted to launch the Superliga due to the economic ruin of world football has turned out to be the year in which the transfer market in European football has moved the most. LaLiga teams have invested 292 million euros in new players, 117 million euros less than the previous summer, 30% less than a year ago. The agreement with the investment fund CVC to inject money into Primera and Segunda clubs has failed to convince many players who have decided to move to the Premier League or Ligue 1. 

Florentino Pérez, presidente del Real Madrid
AFP/OSCAR DEL POZO - Florentino Pérez, Real Madrid President

Atlético de Madrid and Barcelona are the two teams that have moved the most. The law of communicating vessels has once again benefited the Colchoneros. The Catalan club's serious financial problems led them to part with Messi because of his high salary. Many players have lowered their salaries and there was the case of Griezmann. The Frenchman arrived at Barcelona for 120 million euros at a time when Bartomeu was spending money hand over fist and his performance has not been as expected from a player of his quality. Atlético are living on the edge of the wage bill imposed by LaLiga but Miguel Ángel Gil Marín is capable of attracting great players to Simeone's entourage at minimal expense. Last year he snapped up Luis Suárez to make him the team's top scorer and win the league and this season he has brought back Griezmann. The Frenchman has freed Barça from a very high wage bill and is returning to the club that trained him as a player. Los Colchoneros are obliged to pay 40 million euros next season, but knowing the Simeone-Griezmann relationship and with titles, that amount will be paid without a problem. If we add to that the arrival of De Paúl for 35 million euros, it can be said that Atlético have a better squad and are once again candidates to win the league. 

El entrenador del Barcelona, Ronald Koeman, observa a Antoine Griezmann en acción con Ander Capa
REUTERS/MARCELO DEL POZO - Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman watches Antoine Griezmann in action with Ander Capa.
Saúl to Chelsea

In order for Atleti to sign the Frenchman, they had to release Saúl's salary. The home-grown player did not want to continue as a red-and-white and Chelsea was a good opportunity and a big risk because the European champions are going to demand a lot from him. With Saúl in London and Griezmann in red and white, Barça signed Luuk de Jong, the Sevilla striker that Lopetegui was no longer counting on. Memphis is the only top player Barça have signed, the rest of the team's quality is much lower than last season. In a few years they have gone from having a forward line with Neymar, Messi and Luis Suárez to Braithwaite, Memphis and De Jong. In terms of sales, Laporta has raised 69.8 million for Ilaix Moriba, Emerson and Todibo.

Without Mbappé

Real Madrid have lived this transfer window between two projects. One that made it a candidate for everything and had a clear future with the arrival of Mbappé and another that turned it into an unknown quantity with Hazard and Bale as suspicious lumps whose performance is unknown. Florentino Pérez has suffered one of his greatest defeats since he has been president of Real Madrid. He was able to convince Figo, Zidane, Beckham or Ronaldo, but he has not been able to dress Mbappé in white. The 200 million euros were not enough. PSG preferred to enjoy a historic striker with Messi, Neymar and Mbappé alongside other great players such as Sergio Ramos. Florentino knew it was time to cement the project that will take place at the new Santiago Bernabéu. The option of signing the French player in January is an unknown quantity because PSG will try to convince him to continue and who knows if they will succeed as they did with Neymar. 

Camavinga and Alaba have been Real Madrid's two signings. Ancelotti's side will have to put the value on the expensive gambles of recent years. Vinicius, Rodrygo, Asensio, Jovic are called to lead the team this season to win the league and not crawl around Europe. 

El presidente qatarí del París Saint-Germain, Nasser al-Khelaifi (izq.), y el presidente español del Real Madrid, Florentino Pérez, asisten al partido de fútbol de octavos de final de la UEFA Champions League entre el París Saint-Germain (PSG) y el Real Madrid, el 6 de marzo de 2018, en el estadio Parc des Princes de París
AFP/FRANCK FIFE - Paris Saint-Germain's Qatari president Nasser al-Khelaifi (L) and Real Madrid's Spanish president Florentino Perez attend the UEFA Champions League round of 16 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Real Madrid on March 6, 2018, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France.
Tebas, angry

LaLiga and the RFEF boasted on their social networks of spending a sleepless night to register all the new signings, but the reality was that no stars would arrive in Spain. The marketing was a to-ing and fro-ing of players between teams, transfers and deferred sales to settle the accounts. The salary cap sets the transfer and wage limits. Javier Tebas, president of LaLiga, has spent several seasons trying to give value to a product that is gradually bleeding with the departure of Cristiano, Messi and Sergio Ramos. On his Twitter account, he charged harshly against PSG for not selling Mbappé to Real Madrid. He claimed that there was no economic control over that club and that they were doped by the economic injection that comes from Qatar and allows them to have 500 million in salaries. His anger had another reading: in a few days he has to start negotiating the sale of LaLiga's television rights and the product has lost value compared to England, the competition he has always aspired to match. 

Javier Tebas, presidente de LaLiga
AFP/PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU - Javier Tebas, LaLiga President

Falcao was the dark horse of the night. Rumours said that Mariano would be Valencia's new striker, but the club ché disappeared from the talks. Then it was closed by Rayo Vallecano, but the striker refused. In the end, Mariano will remain at Real Madrid and Colombian Radamel Falcao will be the Vallecas striker. His career went downhill since he left Atletico Madrid in style, a knee injury and a poor adaptation to the Premier League took him to Turkey. Now he returns to a team with a major civil war between its fans and its board that will not end well. 

The Spanish LaLiga breathes a sigh of relief at the closure of the market. Pau Torres, Gerard Moreno or Koundé will remain here and that, given the purchasing power of other leagues, is good news.