La Liga week three talking points.
By John Fernandez
The English Transfer Window provided a shake up around Europe that has seen alot of impact in La Liga
· Under fire Athletic Bilbao boss Marcelo Bielsa has made it clear that while Fernando Llorente may not be signing a new contract, if he is an Athletic Bilbao player he will be picked for the team if his attitude is deserving to be picked. The striker, who was linked with a move to Juventus, Tottenham and a whole host of other clubs, has been one of Athletic’s most consistent performers.
He netted 29 times in all competitions last season, 19 the season before and 23 times in the season before that. His goals have been important, however his play as a target man is integral in Bielsa’s style of play and with the loss of Javi Martinez, and it is obvious that Bielsa doesn’t want to lose another gem.
· Malaga’s qualification for the Champions League was celebrated with a victory in La Liga this weekend over Zaragoza. After a turbulent summer where finances and internal disagreements rocked the club, something to smile about seems to be arriving.
This victory, courtesy of a Ignacio Camacho's near-post header from a corner in the 56th minute, is going part of the way to showing that the loss of Santi Cazorla and Salomon Rondon will not mean the end of the club’s good fortunes. However, they are only three games in and it’s a long season ahead.
· Falcao’s hat-trick in the European Super Cup raised eyebrows over in the UK; however those eyebrows were dropped when the teams saw his €40m buy-out clause. While some in the UK were surprised by Falcao’s performance, anybody familiar with the striker knew that this was simply a routine show for the prolific goalscorer.
· Michael Essien’s deadline day move reunited the powerful Ghanaian with his ‘Daddy’ Jose Mourinho. With the defensive anchor struggling to find games at Chelsea under new boss Roberto Di Matteo, Essien decided a move to reunite him with the manager who saw his best playing days at Chelsea.
The worry is that with Sami Khedira, Xabi Alonso and Luka Modric all competing for places in the centre of midfield, it seems he could be playing a bit-part role at the Bernabeau as well. However Real Madrid assistant boss Karanka has already said he will have an important role to play. Whether that comes to pass is another thing.
· Ibrahim Afellay moved away from the Nou Camp on deadline day also to gain some first team football after he found opportunities scarce under Pep Guardiola’s team and now new boss Tito Villanova seemingly has no room for him as well. However, Afellay has insisted that his move to Shalke is only for a year and when he comes back he expects he will become an ‘integral’ player in the Barcelona first team. With Xavi and Iniesta’s years rolling on he could be right, but the emergence of winger Christian Tello could stifle Afellay’s claims.
· The transfer window deadline day in England also saw a high profile departure from Valenica in the form of Pablo Hernandez. While Valencia do seem to be well covered in the position, it is yet to be seen whether they have an as dynamic replacement for the influential wide man who will now be plying his trade in Wales.