André Gomes, this year's Kovacic

A year ago Kovacic signed for Madrid, as a central midfielder it was said, but it was a position that was never his. In reality he came in to allow Modric some rest time, but the club, aware of the surplus of players they have to play between the lines, masked it otherwise. With the cover up not working, exaggerated praise started to emerge from within the club. I remember one day when someone on the radio station SER said that the club were amazed at just how good he was, referring to what he was doing in training. I dared to suggest that surely if they had just signed him for 30 million euros it was because they knew he was pretty good.

Kovacic didn't make many appearances for Los Blancos in 2015/16.

A year has passed and he’s not really been used for one thing or another. The midfielder of choice ended up being Casemiro who corrected, to some extent, the difficulites that appeared following the departure of Xabi Alonso, including the unfortunate Illarramendi situation. Kovaci hasn’t been used to give Modric some down time. His appearances have been sporadic throughout the season, a little here, a little there, but in the end nothing of note. Neither did he shine for Croatia at the Euros. But he does want to fight for his place in this second year and arrived back early to join the squad after his national involvement in France. He had been given to the 26th July to return, but showed up on the 16th. A nice touch.

Casemiro played a big role in midfield last campaign.

But this coming campaign is going to be more difficult because Madrid are already looking to sign André Gomes, another from agent Mendes' team. He’s a good player, although shows it intermittently, possibly due to his youth. In Valencia they have seen his excellence shine but have also witnessed numerous blackouts. Again, he is a forward-thinking midfielder, the type that catch the eye of Florentino, which he then chooses to accumulate at the club: Modric, Isco, James, Kroos, Kovacic, Asensio, Odegaard all in waiting, and now André Gomes. But he’s very young and is envisaged to be a great player. This is true: but the investment (65 million, covered in objectives) will make the idea of Pogba much worse.

Could André Gomes be just another bit part player at the Bernabeu?