Everyone has heard of one club from Madrid in the form of the imperious Real Madrid while most people would also have heard of the second team in the city Atletico. Some might even know of Getafe as a third club from the Spanish capital but not many will know too much about the cities fourth team; Rayo Vallecano.
This season sees Rayo playing in La Liga yet again for a second consecutive season after financial turmoil saw them playing in the third tier of Spanish football as recently as 2008. Last season they finished 15th but they currently sit in 6th position in the league ahead of Valencia, Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao in the hunt for a European spot. If they were to maintain their current form and finish in sixth spot it would be the clubs highest ever finish since they were formed in 1924.
Yet the club is certainly more well known in the UK for providing us with one of the biggest revelations of the season; Michu. The Swansea attacker was pivotal to Rayo’s survival last season as he scored more goals from midfield than any other player in La Liga.
Another player who has been something of a revelation this season has been Momo Diame. The Senegalese midfielder signed for West Ham from Wigan on a free transfer and his performances have seen him strongly linked with a move to Arsenal this transfer window.
He also played for Rayo for a season in 2008-09 before Wigan snapped him up for an equally bargain-like price-tag as the £2 million pound Laudrup paid for Michu.
So with these two examples of potential bargains at the Madrid club are there any other players who should be on Premier League radars this January?
The simple answer is yes and you can start with the clubs vice-captain Javi Fuego. The defensive midfielder made more interceptions and tackles in the middle of the park than any other player last season and he has continued that form into this season. His contract expires in the summer and teams in Spain have been clamouring to snap him up; so it is no surprise to hear English sides are to late as he will be signing for Valencia this summer.
So should teams look at Rayo for another bargain buy?
Can you think of any other clubs that have consistently produced bargains?
image: © juantiagues