The Big Three of La Liga have migrated to the top of the table and it looks like a battle between the two Madrid clubs and Barcelona to win the 2020/21 title.
A smart move in the market could give any of the three an edge and the recruitment teams are working night and day to try to get transfers over the line, which is a difficult task at a time when football finances have been severely damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, there are deals to be done.
Atleti strike first
Los Rojiblancos have been the standout team so far in this season’s campaign with four points clear at the top of the table with two games in hand, and they have a chance to extend the lead in a match away to Eibar on Thursday night.
We’ve taken a look at that clash here at SBOTOP and we are tipping Atleti with a -0.75 handicap to win at odds of 1.96.
It’s no wonder that the latest La Liga 2021 betting odds have Diego Simeone’s side heavily odds-on as we approach the halfway stage.
Atleti have a big advantage which could soon stretch to seven points, and they have been the first to make a move to strengthen in the January window.
Lyon striker Moussa Dembele has completed his loan move to the Wanda Metropolitano after head coach Diego Simeone moved swiftly to replace the departed Diego Costa.
The deal includes a 33-M Euro buy option and Simeone might well make the move permanent in the summer.
Dembele, who started his career at Premier League club Fulham, excelled at Celtic and has long been on the radar of Europe’s top clubs and he’ll be keen to make his mark with Atletico.
There could be an outgoing from Atleti as Lucas Torreira’s loan from Arsenal could be cut short according to the Gunners’ technical director Edu.
The London club has been in better form of late by winning four on the bounce until they drew a blank against Crystal Palace last week. And they will be hoping to push for a European place in the second half of the season.
Torreira has struggled to make an impact in Madrid and he might well be open to a move back to the Emirates where he can help this parent club kick on.
Los Blancos close in on Alaba
Over the road at the Santiago Bernabeu, the latest La Liga 2021 news concerns a move for Bayern Munich’s Austrian star David Alaba who is out of contract in summer.
The versatile player, who can operate almost anywhere on the park, would be a superb addition to Zinedine Zidane’s squad and he has declined to extend his contract with the Bundesliga giants.
Real could face competition from Barcelona as agent Pini Zahavi is big mates with Barca presidential candidate Joan Laporta.
But it seems that Los Blancos have already made a breakthrough and 28-year-old Alaba is rumoured to be ready to sign a four-year contract. However, he won’t be in Madrid before June.
Furthermore, the Spanish media has also reported that Los Blancos are working on the numbers to bring Kylian Mbappe to the Bernabeu in 2021.
Zinedine Zidane is a big admirer of his countryman and that would be a massive coup.
Barcelona need numbers
Any excitement in Madrid is matched by anxiety in Catalonia as the problems at Barcelona continue.
Financial struggles, player injuries, and Ronald Koeman’s difficult start at the Camp Nou have all cast a shadow over the players.
Lionel Messi’s contract is due to expire in the summer. To make matter worse, he could well be on his way to Manchester City.
But Koeman first needs to rescue this season by finding support for his captain, who appears to be missing Luis Suarez since the Uruguayan striker move on to Atletico Madrid.
One name mentioned has been Espanyol striker Raul de Tomas. At 26 years of age, he has delivered wherever he has played.
He previously at Benfica and he has scored 12 goals from 19 games for Espanyol in the Segunda Division this season.
At the other end of the pitch, Manchester City centre-back Eric Garcia has attracted the attention of Barcelona’s coaching staff.
The 20-year-old defender’s prospects at the Etihad have faded following the highly successful pairing of John Stones and Ruben Dias which has given the Sky Blues the meanest rearguard in the Premier League.
And with Aymeric Laporte in the wings, Garcia’s chances with City will be seriously limited.
Garcia is apparently keen to return to Barcelona and has agreed personal terms, having declined to extend his stay in Manchester.
He could join the Blaugrana this month if the coaching staff can persuade the money men to cough up.
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