RCD Espanyol has smashed their transfer record to bring in former Rayo Vallecano striker and Real Madrid youth player Raúl de Tomás for around $22.8 million plus add-ons and a 20% sell-on clause for Benfica.
He is expected to lead the line for an Espanyol attack which has scored a league-low 14 goals. They are also in the basement of the LaLiga table on 11 points, four points from safety. The Catalan club is in a buy-now situation and are clearly taking a chance by setting a new transfer record in a January transfer window. They believe de Tomás can be the one who turns around their form and brings them out from the depths of the Spanish top flight.
Raúl de Tomás' career has been full of loan moves across Spain's football landscape. A product of Real Madrid's youth system, de Tomas has been loaned to Cordoba, Real Valladolid and Rayo Vallecano twice respectively. The center forward then found himself a more permanent home, although short-lived, in Benfica where Real Madrid sold him for $22.8 million this past summer. De Tomás was a regular starter for most of Benfica's season, playing in 17 matches in all competitions, but did battle an ankle injury for a short period of time in October. He only scored three goals for Benfica in his brief stay with the club.
It should also be interesting to see de Tomás, a native Madrileño and former Real Madrid player, play in the Catalan region. He joins only one other player on Espanyol’s roster who is from Madrid, Esteban Granero, and the two are the only players from Madrid who are currently playing for either club in Barcelona (Espanyol and FC Barcelona).
The Spanish forward has had experience in La Liga with Rayo Vallecano in the 18/19 campaign where he started in 32 of his 33 appearances in the league. He added an impressive 14 goals in that season including a goal from outside the box to put Vallecano 1-0 up on Barcelona at the Camp Nou in March of 2019. The 25-year-old also added a goal for Benfica this past fall in the Champions League against Zenit in a 3-1 loss.
Only time will tell if Espanyol's gamble will pay off as they look to avoid relegation for the first time in 27 years.