Real Madrid the only big club not making signings
With the biggest crisis at the club since Zidane took the helm, while Barça, Atleti, PSG and City strengthen, Florentino has not had to take out the chequebook.
It has been a rather curious situation over the last month at Real Madrid. As February begins we reflect on a January transfer window which saw the Bernabéu club add no signings to their squad while those around them, Europe's big clubs, strengthened. And this at a time when Los Blancos are in most need of a change to lift them out of their depression since their dazzling August, now just a distant memory.
Of the two approaches to respond to such an existential crisis that Zidane's team find themselves in, do nothing or intervene, Florentino Pérez has chosen to do the former, possibly taking heed of his manager's words rather than his own opinion. This decision to let the chaos take its natural course, has not been met positively by many of the club's fans who have had to look on enviously at rivals doing some impressive business in the transfer market.
It stings madridistas that both Barcelona and Atlético, the mirrors that reflect back on Los Blancos, have made movements and done very well in the window, albeit we await the results of their purchases on the pitch to confirm what most believe. Valverde's team - sitting pretty at the top of LaLiga, ready for the Champions League challenge ahead, and in the semi-finals of the Copa - have invested significantly. Philippe Coutinho for 160 million, a Galactico in the making, and Yerry Mina, a 12-million addition to fill the void left by Mascherano. Heading out of the Camp Nou along with the Argentine went Arda Turan, Rafinha and Deulofeu.
Neighbouring rivals Atlético have also left Madrid behind in the market. Purchases of Diego Costa and Vitolo for 100 million following the end to their transfer ban should help their push in the domestic league and in the continent's second cup competition. And from the Wanda to the Mestalla, Vietto has moved to add reinforcements to the much improved Valencia side, where Arsenal also provided strength taking 15 million for Coquelin.
With Real Madrid looking over their shoulder for the challenges to them finishing outside the top four, unthinkable just a few months ago, they have seen Sevilla and Villarreal also bolster their squads.
Champions League rivals prepare
Away from the domestic campaign, those teams with aspirations for Champions League glory have been active in the most recent transfer period. The five English teams still competing have added: Chelsea (Giroud, Emerson, Barkley), Tottenham (Lucas Moura), Manchester City (Laporte), Liverpool (Van Dijk) and Manchester United (Alexis Sanchez). And it's not only the money-laden Premier League doing business. Bayern Munich (Sandro Wagner), PSG (Lass), Besiktas (Vagner Love and Larin Vidal), Shakhtar (Dodo) and even Basle (Albian Ajeti) have aimed to prepare themselves for the months ahead.
While this has all been going on, Zidane chose to put the brakes on the signing of Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper, Kepa, despite the discussions being at an advanced stage. There is a belief in the Frenchman that he already has a squad that can compete with the best. With the visit of the Parisiens to the Bernabéu in just a couple of weeks, the time has come for him to prove it.
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