Barcelona acquires João Félix and João Cancelo on loan on final day of transfer market

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona had a hectic final day of the summer transfer window on Friday, acquiring Portugal players João Félix and João Cancelo on loan while shipping out Ansu Fati and other players.

Félix arrived from Atletico Madrid and Cancelo from Manchester City to reinforce a Barcelona side that wants to defend its Spanish league title and return to the elite of Europe by once again challenging for the Champions League.

The 23-year-old Félix spent the second half of last season at Chelsea, while Cancelo did the same at Bayern Munich. Barcelona said neither deal included the option to make their transfers permanent.

Atletico spent 126 million euros ($135 million) to sign Félix’s from Benfica in 2019. He showed bursts of talent while at Atletico but never was a consistent force in its attack and lost his starting role under coach Diego Simeone.

Félix will likely have to fight for playing time with Barcelona already loaded with talent.

Barcelona made lots of moves this summer, even though it spent little and focused on free agents like Ilkay Gundogan from Manchester City and defender Íñigo Martínez from Athletic Bilbao signed earlier this summer. Its only expense was paying a reported 3.4 million euros ($3.6 million) to Girona for holding midfielder Oriol Romeu to replace the exit of Sergio Busquets.

Barcelona sent 20-year-old Ansu Fati to Brighton on a single-season loan.

Ansu was considered to be Barcelona’s next star after he broke out as a teenager and became the club’s youngest goal-scorer in La Liga and the Champions League until he seriously injured his leg. Since recovering, he was unable to earn a starter’s role under coach Xavi Hernández.

It sold Abde Ezzalzouli to Real Betis for 7.5 million euros ($8.1 million) after he excelled on a loan spell at Osasuna last year, helping the team reach the Copa del Rey final.

Barcelona defender Éric García was loaned to Girona, while Clement Lenglet went to Aston Villa on a one-year loan after the French center back spent last season on loan at Tottenham.

Barcelona’s reserve side picked up defender Mamadou Fall on loan from Los Angeles Football Club.

Madrid stood pat after making its big deals earlier in the summer.

Madrid was the big spender for La Liga. Jude Bellingham arrived from Borussia Dortmund for 130 million euros ($140 million). Turkish teenager Arda Guler came on a deal that could reach 30 million euros ($32 million), and Fran García joined for 5 million euros ($5.4 million).

Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, striker Joselu Mato, and forward Brahim Díaz came as free agents to the 14-time European champions.

In other moves, Sevilla parted with Tecatito Corona while it signed former Real Madrid striker Mariano Díaz, who arrived as a free agent.

Getafe took on Mason Greenwood on loan from Manchester United despite his troubled past.

Rafa Benítez’s Celta Vigo picked up goalkeeper Vicente Guaita as a free agent.

According to the website, Spain was the sixth biggest spenders of national leagues. Its 440 million euros ($475 million) was roughly half of what Italy’s Serie A or the emerging Saudi league spent and dwarfed by the 2.7 billion euros ($2.9 billion) spent in England’s Premier League.


AP soccer:

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