MADRID (AP) – Barcelona were busy at the start of the transfer window trying to improve their squad and make some high-profile signings, including Robert Lewandowski and Rafinha.
Before the transfer deadline, however, the focus was mainly on getting rid of players to clear additional salary cap room.
Barcelona worked to offload the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sergino Dist and Martin Braithwaite on Thursday, allowing for the last-minute arrivals of defender Hector Bellerin from Arsenal and Marcos Alonso from Chelsea.
Dest reached a deal with AC Milan and Braithwaite joined Espanyol, while Aubameyang returned to England to join Chelsea.
Barcelona have had trouble registering their new signings due to the Spanish league’s strict fair play rules, and can only add new players by releasing others.
It has already left Samuel Umtiti to Lecce, Nico Gonzalez to Valencia, Neto to Bournemouth, Ricky Puig to Los Angeles Galaxy and Scar Mengueza to Celta Vigo.
Others who were on the verge of leaving but are set to stay include midfielder Frenkie de Jong, defender Jordi Alba and forward Memphis Depay.
It was another quiet date for Real Madrid, who had already lost Casemiro to Manchester United and added defender Antonio Rudiger and midfielder Orlean Chuamani.
Isco Alarcon left for Sevilla at the end of his contract, while young Brazilian Rainier joined Girona on loan. Forward Borja Mayor was sold to Getafe.
Atletico have seen Alvaro Morata return from a two-year loan spell with Juventus this season and the striker has quickly established himself as the team’s regular starter in attack. There was talk of Atletico taking Morata out on loan again, but his good performances saw the team decide to keep him.
Atlético brought in Sergio Reguillon from Tottenham at the end of the transfer window. It had already added Nahil Molina, Samuel Leno and Belgian veteran international Axel Witsel.
Atletico are also reportedly trying to negotiate the transfer of some of their players, including Yannick Carrasco and Antoine Griezmann, who is in the second year of his two-year loan from Barcelona.
Valencia lost midfielder Carlos Soler against Paris Saint-Germain but added young forward Justin Kluivert, son of former Netherlands international and Valencia player Patrick Kluivert.
Real Betis, who had also struggled to register their new signings, eventually managed to add Willian Jose to the squad by restructuring some of their players’ contracts to meet the requirements of the league’s Financial Fair Play regulations.
Celta Vigo have signed 22-year-old Norwegian midfielder Jurgen Strand Larsson on a six-year deal.