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A busy January transfer window swings open


This January transfer window is going to be busier than others. We have already seen Diego Costa and Vitolo appear at Atlético Madrid in front of 25,000 people. It’s true that Atlético had previously confirmed their transfers, which were delayed due to a FIFA sanction, but now they have properly captured the pair, who represent the firing of the starting pistol in this juicy race for signings. Real Madrid are close to signing Kepa and Barça are hot on the heels of Coutinho. There are many other clubs in search of reinforcements, like Málaga, who were dismantled in the summer and it showed. At Las Palmas, where Paco Jémez has arrived in a sticky situation, Loïc Rémy and Oussama Tannane have already left.

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Kepa to Madrid a bitter pill for Athletic romantics

Real Madrid’s move for Kepa will presumably be an immediate transfer in exchange for a €20 million buy-out fee. It could be more, if Madrid extend a courtesy to Athletic Club. The president of the Basque club, Josu Urrutia, spoke before the New Year with a hint of fatalism in his words. Kepa is pure Lezama. He started there as a kid. For romantics at Athletic, and Urrutia is one of them, his departure is difficult to comprehend. Yet it is inevitable that these players (Javi Martínez, Fernando Llorente, and now Kepa) will fly the nest in search of Champions League football, something that Athletic have rare access to. Back in his day, José Ángel Iribar shunned a move to Real Madrid when José Antonio Eguidazu, the president, proposed it to him. But that was another era.

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Juan Manuel Serrano ArceGetty Images

Nike jeapordise Coutinho to Barcelona

Barcelona are after Coutinho, who would not be able to play in the Champions League but would allow Iniesta to rest in LaLiga, before eventually replacing him. There is an agreement with the player, but Liverpool are angry because Nike jumped the gun and took the transfer as confirmed. The case of Barça is curious. When it isn’t their own people putting their foot in things (Robert Fernández with Arthur and Guillermo Amor with Antoine Griezmann), their kit manufacturer go and do it. This is going to raise the price of the operation. I don’t know whether it will cancel it. I don’t think so. Whatever happens, we’re going to have a transfer window full of moves, management, and rumours. It’s a sign of health for our championship.