With the World Cup around the corner and the transfer window closing earlier this summer, Premier League clubs have already begun their hunt for reinforcements. And there are several stars from La Liga who will be attracting interest from the best and brightest of England’s top flight.
With that in mind, our friends at Football Whispers have identified and profiled five La Liga players who might be calling the Premier League home next season.
Almost from the moment Bale completed his then-world-record move from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid in the summer of 2013, the Welshman has been linked with a Premier League return.
However, after five hugely successful seasons in the Spanish capital, speculation in the British and Spanish press suggests this could well be the summer Bale exits the Bernabeu, with the 28-year-old reportedly a target for Manchester United and former club Spurs.
Although injuries have hampered the former Southampton man in recent seasons, when fit and firing, Bale remains one of the very best attackers in the world. Indeed, the Madrid star ranks in the top three for goals per 90 minutes among La Liga forwards this season (0.79) and demonstrated his creativity with 1.94 open-play key passes per 90, the fourth-best return among attackers in the Spanish top tier.
Bale has retained his electrifying pace, too, enabling him to burst past opponents and completing 1.54 take-ons per 90. His stock may have fallen recently as he is no longer a certain starter for Zinedine Zidane’s side, but Bale is still one of the most devastating attacking players in the world and more than capable of shining in the Premier League once again.
Likened to Manchester City star David Silva, who also rose to prominence in La Liga with Valencia, Soler was reportedly a target for the Premier League champions’ great rivals United in January.
The 21-year-old has been a regular feature for Los Che in their rise back up the table this term under former Villarreal manager Marcelino, impressing with his control, technique and dribbling ability.
The above Football Whispers Player Persona diagram illustrates how dribbling and crossing are key tenets of Soler’s game, while he is also active defensively and regularly shoots for goal. Soler ranked in the top 90 per cent of La Liga midfielders this season for open-play key passes per 90 (1.09) and touches inside the opposition’s box (2.42 per 90).
Only once a scorer in the league this season, the youngster, who reportedly has a release clause of £71million, could improve his goal contribution, although his average of 0.15 assists per 90 ranks seventh among La Liga midfielders.
Having failed to make the impact anticipated at the Camp Nou since joining Barcelona from Valencia two summers ago, reports in Spain suggest the La Liga champions are ready to cash in on the Portuguese playmaker in order to raise funds for incoming signings.
Once a rumoured Tottenham transfer target, Gomes, who is still only 24 years old, could well be a consideration for Premier League clubs aiming to add quality to their midfield.
Gomes only featured in 629 minutes of La Liga action this term, failing to register a goal or an assist in that time. But his 50.22 passes per 90 minutes showed a willingness to get on the ball and conduct play, while his 89.1 per cent pass accuracy is evidence of his technical quality.
If able to restore Gomes to his confident Valencia pomp, any suitor would be getting a high-quality central midfield player.
Real Sociedad right-back Odriozola has been one of the breakout stars of 2017/18 in La Liga, impressing sufficiently to secure a place in Spain’s World Cup squad ahead of Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin.
Just 22 years old, Odriozola is already an accomplished La Liga defender, starting 32 of La Real’s league games this season and registering four assists. Still improving defensively, despite respectable averages for tackles (1.29) and interceptions (0.89) per 90, Odriozola’s main gifts are what he offers going forward.
As the above Football Whispers Player Persona graphic shows, the youngster’s crossing is a consistent threat, resulting in 1.26 open-play key passes per 90, the third highest average among La Liga full-backs.
He did, however, lose possession more than any full-back in the Spanish top flight this term. The two-cap Spain star is another player being linked with a move to Old Trafford in the British media, with a fee in the region of £18million mooted for the youngster.
Former Stoke City and Blackburn Rovers midfielder N’Zonzi was reportedly an Arsenal transfer target in January and the Frenchman is once again linked with a move to the Emirates in the British press now that Unai Emery, who worked with the 29-year-old at Sevilla, has been confirmed as Arsene Wenger’s successor.
At 6ft 5ins and able to actively cover space in front of the back four, N’Zonzi appears to be the perfect fit for an Arsenal middle third that has lacked such a presence in recent years.
Indeed, no La Liga midfielder won more aerial duels than N’Zonzi this season (103), and he won the ball regularly with a combined tackles and interceptions average of 2.79 per 90.
He’s also a fine conductor of play, ranking in the top five La Liga midfielders for accurate (66.18) and forward passes (23.4) per 90. With a reported contractual release clause of £35million, N’Zonzi could be the perfect midfield reinforcement without breaking the bank.