Goal.com looks at five players who could move to La Liga sides this week

ANALYSIS
By Ben Hayward

They say the league table doesn’t lie. For those teams that are unhappy with their final position in La Liga, therefore, the summer transfer window is the ideal time to redress the balance, to address the team’s needs, to sign the missing link. It’s a time for fantasy football, for dream XIs and misty-eyed visions of what might be next season, but those in charge must keep in touch with reality, too. Whether it’s shopping at bargain basement or in elite boutiques, the key is to improve and evolve – and to go after bigger objectives than before. 

June, though, is already more than half over and while Real Madrid and Malaga have already brought in several new players, many teams, including champions Barcelona, have yet to recruit a single star for the next campaign.

That, however, could all change this week. With speculation spiralling and rumours rising, Goal.com looks at the five signings that could advance towards completion within the next seven days.

ALEXIS SANCHEZ | Udinese to Barcelona

This link is a fairly recent one but has gathered pace at a considerable rate and the Chile forward looks set to seal a move to Camp Nou within the next couple of days.

Barcelona aren’t the only ones interested in the Udinese forward, who has also attracted interest from Manchester United, Manchester City, Inter and Juventus.

The Catalan club looks set to win his signature, however, after he reportedly told his Chile team-mates he is set for a Blaugrana switch this week. A bizarre cryptic message on Twitter from his agent, referring to a pig with an apple in its mouth, was also an apparent allusion to a move to Barcelona for the 22 year-old. So let’s hope he has better luck with pig heads than Luis Figo.

CESC FABREGAS | Arsenal to Barcelona

If you have just emerged from a time capsule or awoken from a long coma, you may not have heard about this one. But Goal.com can confirm that Barcelona really do want to sign Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas. And you know, it looks like it will finally happen this week. Hello? Are you still there?

Yes, it appears that one of the world’s longest ever transfer sagas is about to reach a conclusion. Barcelona president Sandro Rosell claimed earlier this week that his side would not pay over the odds for the Catalan midfielder and the gallery groaned. But Arsenal then revealed negotiations were underway. Cesc wants to leave and he’s in Spain at the moment, so expect big developments to take place this week. It’s finally happening, folks.

FABIO COENTRAO | Benfica to Real Madrid

Real Madrid have already been proactive in the transfer market this summer, signing Nuri Sahin, Hamit Altintop and Jose Callejon. Do they need any of them? That’s a good question and another good question is this one: do they need Fabio Coentrao?

Cynics point to the fact that the Benfica full-back shares the same agent as Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, as well as Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria. And then there’s his position to take into account – he’s a left-back. And Madrid already have a fine, and much-improved left-back in Marcelo.

But when did Madrid’s transfer policy ever respect logic anyway? Mourinho’s interest in the defender is real and a right-back role for the Portuguese could be in the Special One’s mind. Whatever his thoughts are, Madrid look set to seal the signing this week, as reports in Portugal say a deal has been agreed for the 23-year-old, who is set to undergo a medical in the Spanish capital in the coming days.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, has welcomed the arrival of his countryman. “He is the best Portuguese player still playing in Portugal,” he said. Don’t worry Cristiano, there isn’t anyone as good as you out there – not from Portugal anyway.

JOAQUIN | Valencia to Malaga

Remember when Joaquin was linked with Chelsea and Real Madrid? Now he’s linked with Malaga. Nothing against Malaga, of course – the seasiders have come into some serious Qatari cash and having made a splash on Ruud van Nistelrooy, Jeremy Toulalan and Joris Mathijsen already this summer, the Costa del Sol outfit has now turned its attentions to the Valencia winger.

An initial bid of €4.5 is set to be turned down by Unai Emery’s side, but the debt-ridden club aren’t opposed to selling the winger and have an agreement with the player that he can leave for the right money. A higher offer from Manuel Pellegrini’s side is likely to see Joaquin return to his native Andalusia, therefore, just in time to face the club where he made his name, Betis, who are back in the top flight. Isn’t that a nice story?

HECTOR MORENO | AZ Alkmaar to Espanyol

Espanyol don’t pay big money for players and that’s likely to be the hold-up here. The Catalan club have reportedly offered €3 million for the AZ Alkmaar defender, but the Dutch side are said to holding out for €5 million. Somewhere in between probably reflects the real value of the Mexico defender, who has been a success since moving across the pond in 2008, and a deal is set to be struck this week.

Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino knows a thing or two about defending and Moreno will have a great teacher in his new boss. For Espanyol, there are plenty of pluses as well; Moreno is young (23), he’s a good defender, he’s already an experienced international and best of all, he wasn’t one of the five Mexicans to test positively for clenbuterol recently.