When it comes to the crazy season, Real Madrid is the name that is heard more often. Pick up any world-class player and attach it with Real Madrid’s name and presto – you have a transfer rumor.
However, this season is slightly different by Real Madrid’s standards. No talks about unnecessary signings or hasty, ill thought departures. It helps that a coach as strong as Mourinho is at the helm to quash all meaningless rumors. A classic example was the very public defense of Higuain. Mourinho made it clear that no amount money can fetch him a striker like Higuain and that he was not for sale at any price.
The fact that the Real Madrid squad is extremely deep, it would seem ridiculous to talk of any arrivals. Yet despite the squad depth and talent there are some obvious deficiencies which need to be addressed.
Real Madrid – Transfer Needs
In reality Madrid have a very well-balanced squad and not too many areas need strengthening. One of the obvious area is right back slot. Here, Arbeloa is the only option ever since Sergio Ramos was moved to the center. However, that makes 5 recognized center-backs for 2 positions. Going by the fact that Mourinho wants just 2 players for each position, 1 center back might be shown the door.
In midfield, although a surfeit of riches seems to be at Real Madrid’s disposal, Kaka’s form is worryingly below par. As an attacking midfielder, his form is woeful and for a 65 mil€ player, he is definitely not up to the mark. So in a way Madrid needs a play-maker who can be either an understudy to Ozil or a backup.
Also, with some of the other players under-performing, it is time bring in some other young players hungry for success and untarnished by failure. Mathematically speaking taking 2 players for every position, Real Madrid and Mourinho could do with a winger. Also, since the return of Gago after his loan spell from Roma, Madrid have way too many central midfielders. One or two may just need to offloaded.
The possible departures
“Operación Salida” as touted by Marca and AS is definitely required. As seen some players are surplus to requirements and some are just not up to the mark when called upon. Coupled with the fact that Real Madrid Castilla has been promoted to Segunda Division, blooding some youngsters for the future may not be such a bad idea after all.
While wholesale changes are neither needed nor desirable, some minor tweaks will make the squad perfect.
The most illustrious of the possible departures, Kaka is definitely a right signing gone wrong. He is now more of a white elephant than the white knight he was supposed to be for Real Madrid.
Kaka was never supposed to be a play-maker in the mold of Zidane. He was essentially a trequartista who could accelerate and leave defenses to lick the dust.
However, his injuries have left him bereft of that extra yard of pace and the close control that made him such a feared player in the world. While statistically he has not done badly, it will be good for both Real Madrid and him if he leaves and seeks regular football elsewhere.
Verdict: 50% chances of departure. Salary demands may prove to be a stumbling block
Replacement: Sergio Canales
Possible fee: 15-20 mil €
Possible Buyers: PSG, City, Brazilian clubs, Chelsea, Milan
When he arrived, it seemed Real Madrid had found another Makelele. In his very first match, Bernabeu gave him a standing ovation when he was substituted.
However, since that glorious day he has not done much. Costly errors against Barcelona and Liverpool still linger fresh in the memory. His tendency to commit niggling fouls in or near the penalty box area remains a concern and while his work rate is second to none, his anticipation leaves a lot to be desired.
With Khedira’s arrival, his game time has been reduced severely. Khedira has grown by leaps and bounds and his excellent game reading skills make him a better match to Real’s game.
Verdict: 70% chances of departure. Salary demands may prove to be a stumbling block
Replacement(s): Yann M’Villa, Javi Martinez
Possible fee: 8-10 mil € since his contract is about to end next year.
Possible Buyers: Manchester United, Spurs, Arsenal
A fringe player at Bayern; almost an outcast at Real Madrid. Altintop’s first season was marred by injuries and perhaps extremely unfairly his most examined match was against Barcelona at RB position. Needless to say, he failed miserably and since then things have gone bad to worse.
When a player like Sahin could not get enough minutes, a player of Altintop’s caliber was always going to struggle. Combined with relatively high salary of 1 mil € a year plus his desire to play regular football, his departure is almost a certainty.
Verdict: 100% Chances of departure.
Possible fee: 1-1.5 mil € to pay for the amount of wages during his stay.
Possible Buyers: Galatasaray
Gago had arrived with much fanfare in the capital and he was touted to be the next Redondo. He had arrived with a price tag of 20.4 mil€ as compared to 13 mil€ for Higuain. In fact, River Plate were hesitant to part with their brightest young talent but the duo’s desire to play only for Real Madrid forced their hand. His assist for Roberto Carlos’ decisive goal which won Real Madrid one of their titles seemed to be a sign of things to come.
Yet somehow his progression stopped and despite being handed many more starts than Higuain, he somehow failed to convince that he was the Real deal.
Lacking the controlling ability of Alonso and the defensive capabilities of Khedira, Gago found himself on the sidelines when Mourinho arrived at Real Madrid. He was later on sent out on a loan spell to Roma where he did get regular minutes.
Roma refused to exercise the 7 mil€ clause after his loan spell. Perhaps it is a ploy to get him still cheaper, considering players with much less talent are sold for a lot more; or perhaps the departure of Luis Enrique and new manager’s lack of trust in him saw him return to Real Madrid.
Verdict: Not a bad player. But lack of buyers might make it difficult to sell him.
Replacements: Javi Martinez, Yann M’Villa.
Fee: 5-7 mil€
Possible Buyers: Argentinian clubs may be a possible destination
Overall verdict for Real Madrid
In terms of departures not too many drastic changes are needed. Some players are not suited enough while others have better options in terms of their kind of play like Sahin and Alonso. If the possible departures of Gago, Altintop and Diarra are taken into account, one position opens up in the midfield. Although Javi Martinez and Yann M’Villa will be good signings, it is unlikely they will want to play a fringe role.
A better choice would be an older player who is willing to be a backup option.
In play-maker/AM position, an understudy for Ozil will be welcome or an older player who can be rotated. Although if Kaka stays and finds his form, Real Madrid will become even more lethal, if that’s possible. But a player of Kaka’s caliber deserves better and somehow it does not feel right that he will be consigned to a rotation role.
In the next part of this series, we will separately examine the possible arrivals at Real Madrid.