The financial might of the Premier League has been a hot-button topic of late, probably best exemplified by the outrageous spending (almost €1 billion) in the 2023 January Transfer Window. Chelsea alone spent more on players than the combined clubs in La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, and Ligue 1, prompting La Liga boss Javier Tebas to accuse the league of financial doping.
Nonetheless, the Premier League does not work out for everyone, and it is certainly not every player’s dream to remain there for all of their careers. While the Premier League will undoubtedly outspend La Liga this summer, there are plenty of players who will quit England for Spain. Below we pick out five players who we believe could make it in Spain and who will likely leave for bargain fees in the summer. From a quality midfielder down on his luck to a superb full-back who needs a new challenge, this quintet could make it in La Liga.
Donny Van de Beek (Manchester United)
There is good news and bad news about Donny Van de Beek. The good news first: He will be available for a massive discount on the €40 million+ that Manchester United paid for him in 2020. Secondly, his time at Ajax showed that he could be a complete midfielder with the technical ability to grace any La Liga team. The problem, however, is that he has been terrible (and unlucky with injuries) during his three seasons in England. He is just 26, though. And while it would represent a gamble for any team to sign the Dutchman, the risk-benefit ratio would be off the charts if he can get back to his best form.
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea)
Chelsea are a mess at the moment. At the start of the season, the football betting markets had them among the favourites for the Premier League, but they will be lucky to finish at the top half at this rate. The team is the perfect example of how money doesn’t solve all problems in football. The club has spent 100s of millions (breaking in records) across the last handful of transfer windows, and what they are left with is a bloated squad with many unhappy players. One of those unhappy players is Christian Pulisic, and the American is itching to get a chance at a new club. He has the potential to be one of the best in the world.
Fabio Carvalho (Liverpool)
Jurgen Klopp is unlikely to let 20-year-old Portuguese attacker Fabio Carvalho leave on a permanent transfer, yet there is a growing consensus that the youngster should at least leave Anfield on loan for a season. Spanish clubs on a budget should jump at the chance to get his signature, even if it is for a single campaign. Carvalho is definitely one for the future, and all he needs is a bit of game time to prove his worth.
Kyle Walker-Peters (Southampton)
The Premier League has bore witness to an enthralling relegation fight this season, and it remains to be seen who will go down. However, Southampton look the most likely to drop down a division, something that will lead to a fire-sale from a squad that has plenty of talented players. We know that some, including James Ward-Prowse, have the technical ability to play in La Liga, but one of the overlooked players might be Walker-Peters, a gifted full-back with an eye for goals and assists. Called up by England in the past, Walker-Peters could be ready for a new challenge. Premier League clubs will be swarming around him when Southampton inevitably go down, but he has the talent and attitude to thrive abroad.
Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)
We will leave the most intriguing possible transfer to last. Gundogan is perhaps the most underrated player in the Premier League, performing a role as the heartbeat of the Manchester City team yet always in the shadow of Erling Haaland and Kevin DeBruyne. A transfer out of City is by no means guaranteed (he was named club captain in the summer), nor would Pep Guardiola want to lose him. But he is out of contract in the summer and there are reports that suggest Gundogan wants a new challenge. It should go without saying that he would fit into and improve any team in Spain, and we include Barcelona and Real Madrid in that list as they plot their La Liga and Champions League campaigns for next season.