Without doubt the surprise of the week was Real Madrid's move to sign Jonathan Woodgate for 20 million, Camacho preferring the Newcastle defender to the Ayalas, Coloccinis and Cannavaros of this world even though they would have worked out much cheaper. The manager wanted him though and Florentino Pérez agreed, even though Woodgate is currently carrying an injury. And if "Royal Madrid" appear to be making their move to join the Premier League with so many English players, Rafa Benítez's "Liverpolona" could well become the 21st "La Liga" side after paying big money for Xabi Alonso and Luis García to add to Josemi and Antonio Nuñez.
Elsewhere it is bargain hunting time, and with only a week or so to go to the end of the transfer window, clubs are dropping the prices of their surplus players. Málaga are usually seen in the shopping malls around this time, but this year they have left it very late, and having failed to sign any of their first choice strikers, they may end up having to take what's left on the shelf. Celta may also be active over the next few days after the break up of their squad, and manager Fernando Vázquez is very unhappy that the club have not moved to replace any of the big names who have moved on. (22.08.04)