After an injury to goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez, Celta Vigo signed Nolito from Seville after Spanish football authorities granted special dispensation to make an emergency purchase.

Second-choice keeper Alvarez, who has twice played this term in La Liga, sustained knee ligament damage in May and is not expected to appear again in 2019–20.

After announcing his absence, Celta was given the go-ahead to complete an emergency signing outside the transfer window, provided the player already played in Spain or was a free agent.

Although one would have expected Celta to strengthen their goalkeeping options in the face of losing Alvarez, they followed a radically different course. Former Spain ‘s international Nolito, a wide-ranging attacker, returns to the club where he spent three years up to 2016, allegedly agreeing to a deal that will keep him in Galicia until the end of the campaign 2020-21. His contract with Sevilla was due to expire at the end of the month.

Spanish football authorities granted special dispensation to make an emergency purchase

A statement on the website of the Celta club said: “The latest reinforcement for this season’s final section could not arouse greater joy. RC Celta and Seville have reached an agreement for Nolito to join the club immediately, pending the necessary medical tests and finalizing contractual information.”

For allowing Celta to use the emergency signing protocol, criticism has attracted La Liga, to recruit a forward rather than a direct replacement for the injured player.

Critics pointed out that rock-bottom Leganes had been unable to replace Martin Braithwaite when they lost the Danish striker in February outside the transfer window to Barcelona.

Celta is still just two points above the relegation zone of the Liga. On Sunday they face Alaves where Nolito could make his second club debut.

It is the first of nine matches remaining for Celta in La Liga, with the Spanish top-flight expected to restart due to the coronavirus pandemic after a three-month break.


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