After a fantastic season last year under Quique Setien in his first with the Andalucian side, Real Betis will be looking for more of the same next season. Having qualified for automatic Europa League football this coming season – finishing above close rivals Sevilla in the process – a busy summer awaits for Los Verdiblancos.
They have already delved into the transfer market by bring in no less than five players so far; Takashi Inui, Sergio Canales, Joel Robles and Pau Lopez have all arrived on free transfers. Antionio Barragan’s loan deal was turned into a permanent deal as his €1 million purchase option was activated. Bringing in such high quality players in the likes of Canales and Inui in particular (who thrived at this years World Cup for Japan) on free transfers was great business by the club.
On the other side of the balance sheet, Real Betis have brought in a significant amount of money through player sales. The biggest loss has to be Fabian Ruiz, who was at the heart of Real Betis’ midfield last season. His move to Napoli has brought in €30 million however after his buy out clause was activated. On top of this, two other Betis players are making their way to Italy. Riza Durmisi has moved to Lazio in a €7 million deal while Fiorentina have activated their purchase option on German Pezzella – believed to be worth €9 million.
On top of this, Antonio Adan is expected to join Atletico Madrid in a deal worth around €1 million to Real Betis. In total, that is a €46 million profit so far this summer for Real Betis.
It is clear that there is money to spend. It is also clear that there is a need to spend money. William Carvalho, having rescinded his contract with Sporting Portugal is currently in talks with Real Betis and would be a great addition. With the loss of Fabian Ruiz, Real Betis will need a younger midfielder with legs in this team. With both Javi Garcia and Andres Guardado both 31, the addition of European Football will require they have sufficient rest this season. Carvalho will not be one to come in from time to time, but a first team starter where one of Guardado and Garcia can rotate.
Since the introduction of Marc Bartra into this Real Betis team, they have been a revelation. From conceding goals so freely, they turned into a solid unit. This is no coincidence, as Bartra was even regarded by UEFA to be the best performing defender in La Liga last season. He also made La Liga News UK’s XI of the season. The former Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund centre back led Real Betis on a record-breaking run of clean sheets with nine from 16 games in La Liga. With Setien favouring to play three at the back, there is a need to add another centre back to this squad. Aissi Mandi and Zou Feddal are both well capable of playing in this system and worked fantastically well with Bartra last season. Should one of them get injured or need a rest however, Betis are very short of options.
Junior Firpo was played as a third centre back last season – but with him now being the only left back option – it is unlikely he will be deployed anywhere else. Following the arrival of Mouctar Diakhaby at Valencia, they are currently over-stacked with centre backs – five in total. Ruben Vezo would seemingly be bottom of the pile and would be interesting to see what ends up with him this summer. Real Betis would do well to get him in on loan with an option to buy. Granted, he hasn’t looked amazing over the last few seasons, but would be not only a step up from Jordi Amat, but a potential decent signing in the future. The Portuguese international is still only 24 and has shown glimpses last season of the player Valencia thought they were getting when they bought him in 2014.
There has been a lot of talk about Yerry Mina joining the club on loan from Barcelona also. After a storming World Cup with Colombia, Real Betis could certainly do a lot worse than the 23 year old. After scoring three goals at the World Cup this summer, the six foot four centre back will want to get regular minutes this coming season. His place in Barcelona’s set up will be further questioned due to the Blaugrana recalling Marlon from his loan spell in France with Nice. It goes without saying, the impending transfer of Clement Lenglet will also push both Mina and Marlon further down the pecking order at Barcelona.
The signing of Junior Firpo, Loren Moron and Francis to new contracts has also been a welcomed sight at Real Betis. The three players were part of the ‘B’ team at the start of last season but forged their way into the first team by the end of the season. The development of these players, along with Fabian Ruiz has been a great source of pride for Beticos of late. Such pride, as well as achieving European football has led to the club selling 42,549 season tickets … the season doesn’t start for at least another month!!
A great season is expected once again for Real Betis. Being headed by Quique Setien, they are sure to provide ample entertainment again this season. Whether they can get in the necessary recruitment on top of what they have already done, we will have to wait and see. To have such depth of attacking talent both hungry for and willing to share minutes, Real Betis are a dangerous team for the coming season. Should they be able to keep Antonio Sanabria fit for the full season, get in William Carvalho and sign a new centre back; they may well be looking beyond their sixth place finish from last season.