Transfer Window Retrospective: Defense

As we approach the first game of the season (less than a week away, on August 18 at 3pm ET vs. Getafe), it seems like a good time to evaluate the summer’s transfer moves. While the transfer window of course doesn’t close until after the season begins, we’ll be preoccupied with actual games—you know, the small part of La Liga they still try to decide on the field—so this week seems like a good time to look back and see how we did. Let’s start with the defenders and keepers, and we’ll cover the rest of the field later this week.

We begin by noting a somewhat rare situation: this summer we have sold a high-value transfer target (Cáceres, to Juventus for €8M) to fund the rest of our transfer activity. This is of course nothing new, but what’s unique this year is we already know what impact his departure will have because he was gone on loan last year. So instead of wondering if the Uruguayan’s absence will be a factor, we know how we’ll fare without him. Obviously there are other stories and reasons for why our defense struggled last year, but the fact remains that while we lost Cáceres without getting any funds with which to replace him last year, this year the money came to replace him. And if you count goalies, every penny Sevilla has spent this summer went to buying defenders.

So how’d we do? Let’s have a look at our acquisitions:

  • Cicinho has easily been the most exciting of the defensive signings, and may well be the signing of the season based on his impressive pre-season performances. A young attacking right back Brazilian with a strong predilection for playing high up the field and making aggressive overlapping runs, Jesus Navas has likely not been this excited about a signing since our last young attacking right back Brazilian joined the team back in 2002. In pre-season matches, Cicinho’s ambition, quality play, and apparent unspoken understanding with Navas seemed to instantly recreate a fluidity and danger we haven’t seen on the right side of the field since Dani Alves left for Barcelona. He looks like a fantastic signing, and I can’t wait to see how he does this year.
    • Age: 26. Position: RB. Previous team: Palmeiras. Cost: €4M (estimated).
  • Speaking of transfers with Barcelona, Sevilla landed 23-year-old Masia product and Barca-DNA-haver Alberto Botía after his contract at Barcelona and his loan deal at Gijón expired this summer. (While he wasn’t in contract with anyone, due to his complicated contract and management structure, he wasn’t free). While he was a part of Spain’s inglorious, winless and goalless Olympics, he’s a promising Spanish youth national teamer, and as a bonus Barca was allegedly pretty angry about losing him. So, you know, there’s that added bonus.
    • Age: 23. Position: CB. Previous team: Barcelona. Cost: €3M (estimated).
  • I don’t know much about Geoffrey Kondogbia, but given our recent history of losing signings due to the interest of bigger clubs, it’s exciting to have succeeded in signing this young and promising player who had been rumored to be getting a lot of attention from several top clubs. Hopefully he’ll be with us several years as a strong presence in our back four or filling in for Medel while the latter is missing matches for accumulated yellow cards.
    • Age: 19. Position: CB/DM. Previous team: Lens. Cost: €4M (estimated)
  • Finally, Diego López is I suppose not technically a defender, but his purchase from Villarreal for €3.5M merits mention, and I’m not going to write a post just about goalkeepers. With Varas out on loan to Celta, López will I suppose begin the season as Palóp’s backup before taking over the starting job mid-season in a firestorm of controversy after the 38-year-old club legend has a string of matches with terrible blunders that lead to goals conceded. He’s a fantastic signing, and while I feel conflicted about benefitting from Villarreal’s misfortune, I guess it’s better us than some other club.
    • Age: 30. Position: GK. Previous team: VIllarreal. Cost: €3.5M

As far as departures, Escudé was sent to Besiktas on a free. And if I followed these sorts of things I’d mention that this week the papers say some clubs are interested in Spahic and Fazio. But of course I don’t bother with rumors like that, so I won’t.

How do you think the club did reinforcing in the back? Who are you happiest to see, and what other changes do you think should be made before the window closes?