Inside Spain is a weekly instalment brought to you by Football España, providing an insight into all of the major stories coming out of the rich and intense climes of La Liga and beyond.
The injury crisis across football took several victims during this international break, but the anterior cruciate ligament tear suffered by Gavi felt particularly cruel. The 19-year-old was having a monstruous season, starting for Barcelona and Spain, but will now miss the rest of the club season, the Euros and the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The question for Barcelona is whether they try to replace him. Sporting Director Deco has explained that that is ‘impossible’ on the market, but Barcelona can bring in a loan signing for up to 80% of Gavi’s wages until the end of the season without salary limit restrictions.
So far the debate is whether they should try and persuade Tottenham Hotspur to part with the almost unused Giovani Lo Celso on loan, or bring forward the transfer of Vitor Roque. The 18-year-old Brazilian striker will join for €30m plus €31m in variables next summer, but they don’t have a back up for the creaking legs of Robert Lewandowski.
Meanwhile Real Madrid have lost Vinicius Junior until February and Eduardo Camavinga until mid-January, to add to a long-term injury list already containing Eder Militao, Thibaut Courtois, Arda Guler and Aurelien Tchouameni.
Marcelino will do that, according to Trigueros. pic.twitter.com/r5zfLJewXs
— Football España (@footballespana_) November 22, 2023
Yet the talk about replacements in Madrid is quiet – at least for the players. Conflicting information continues to leak out about Carlo Ancelotti and the potential for him to take over the Brazil job next summer, but Los Blancos have contacted Brighton manager Roberto de Zerbi about a potential vacancy. He is added to an impressive list of candidates already containing Xabi Alonso.
Elsewhere, Real Betis are negotiating with Leeds United for midifelder Marc Roca, who has been excellent since arriving. West Ham are interested in Celta Vigo defender Oscar Mingueza, and Sevilla are after Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi.
In less frivolous news, the public prosecutor has requested a sentence of nine years behind bars and a fine of €150k for Dani Alves if they get a guilty conviction against the Brazilian for rape. Meanwhile former Sevilla and Ajax midfielder Tarik Oulida will escape jail time entirely after sexually assaulting his own six-year-old daughter.