La Liga’s Influence on the English Premier League’s Title Race
The influx of players that have come into the English Premier League from La Liga in the past few years have made immeasurable contributions.
The overwhelming success of Real Madrid and Barcelona can be suffocating at times in Spain. Talented players from other teams in La Liga see their efforts go unrecognized for the most part due to the dominance of Real Madrid and Barcelona. Lately, talented La Liga players have sought out the shores of England for a more meaningful purpose.
One of the first major signings to prompt La Liga’s influx of players to the EPL was Yaya Toure of Barcelona. Toure, an Ivory Coast International, left Barcelona for €24M to big spending Manchester City in 2010. He has been a revelation in the Premiership since his arrival, having to have played in a withdrawn role at Barcelona to make way for Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta’s creative magic.
Manchester City took the handcuffs off Toure to let him express his creativity allowing him to showcase his versatility to the world. Known for his box to box mentality, Toure’s physical presence combined with his passing and shooting ability make him an integral part of the Manchester City squad. His performances haven’t come without notice winning the African Player of the Year award in 2011 and 2012.
David Silva followed in Toure’s footsteps just a few days later leaving Valencia to join Manchester City in a €30M transfer. The diminutive playmaker has taken the EPL by storm, his dribbling runs, considerate passing and unheralded vision make Silva a nightmare for opposing defenses. The Spain International has become the catalyst for Manchester City’s success and was instrumental in helping Manchester City hoist its first ever Premier League trophy in 2012.
Sergio Aguero would join Manchester City from Athletico Madrid the following season in 2011 for a transfer fee of €35M. City had officially ransacked La Liga to build a championship caliber team, scoring 30 goals in 48 appearances in his first Season with City. Aguero has set the standard of excellence high, but none higher than his game-winning goal in the last minute of the last game of the season to clinch the Premier League title and beat out bitter Rivals Manchester United.
With the exception of Vincent Kompany, one could surmise that the three La Liga imports were the deciding factors in Manchester City winning its first ever EPL title.
Juan Mata’s name has been synonymous with greatness during his time in the EPL. Mata came over from Valencia in a €23.5M transfer fee to Chelsea Football Club. In Mata’s first season in 2011-12, he became a mainstay in the Chelsea midfield finishing second in the EPL in assists only to Silva.
Mata helped Chelsea to its first ever UEFA Champions League title and an FA Cup title to make it a double winning season for Chelsea. Mata’s achievements at Chelsea are worth noting. The Spain International was voted player of the season for Chelsea by the fans for his performances during the 2012-13 campaign.
Santi Cazorla, Spain International formerly of Malaga, came over to Arsenal for a bargain basement price of €16M. In Cazorla’s first season in 2012, he was instrumental for Arsenal as a midfield maestro notching 12 goals and 11 assists. Cazorla was the main reason Arsenal squeaked out a fourth place finish one point ahead of Tottenham for the EPL’s last Champions League birth.
Michu was the steal of the season by all accounts in the soccer world. Michu came to Swansea City for a pedestrian €2.5M from Rayo Vallecano in the transfer market in 2012. Known as an attacking midfielder, Michu became a goal-scoring machine in the Premiership. In his first season in England, he scored 22 goals in 43 games in all competitions. Michu played for one of the smallest clubs in Spain, was relatively unknown in La Liga, but his exploits in the Premier League have made him known around the globe.
Not only have all these players taken their games to the next level, they are arguably the most talented and productive players on their respective teams. Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo, Gary Medel and Roberto Soldado are the latest crop of supremely talented La Liga imports to move to the EPL. A fan can certainly expect this new batch of imports to maintain the same lofty standards that have been set by their former La Liga colleagues.