While clearly looking to bring in fresh blood for his new Real Madrid project, Julen Lopetegui is also making decisions about players he already has at his disposal. Two of these come in the form of Dani Ceballos and Marcos Llorente, youngsters he would like to remain with the squad for at least the pre-season tour.
Ceballos and Llorente to prove their worth
The young Spanish pair didn't get many opportunities last season under previous manager Zinedine Zidane. Lopetegui, however, who knows them from his time with the Spanish federation has asked the club not to be too hasty in accepting loan deals as he feels he may be able to help them make the leap that they could not with Zidane.
"Ceballos is the type of player I like," said Lopetegui last June, speaking about the future of the Spanish national team. Ceballos then went on to be the Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the Under-21 European Championships in Poland. Although less directly involved with Llorente, Lopetegui received impressive reports on him when representing the Under-19s and is keen to give him a chance with Los Blancos.
They will have their opportunities
With the pre-season preparations underway, Lopetegui has spoken with both players about the situation, as well as his request to the club. He wants to see if they can take their chance with the first team before making a final decision on where they should play their football in the coming season.
Both are expected to get plenty of pitch time across the three games of the International Champions Cup in the United States, ahead of the European Super Cup against Atlético Madrid. The 'friendly' games offer some tasty tests against Manchester United, Juventus and Roma and gaps within the first team squad fit with the plan. Marcos Llorente will be able to show off his attributes in the absence of Modric, Kovacic and Casemiro, and Kroos following World Cup exertions. Ceballos, a little further forward, should see a chance to shine with the departure of Cristiano and the late return to the fold of Isco and Asensio.
With guaranteed interest from other clubs to offer the players a space in their team, some see this as a shot to nothing. Last season, Ceballos was the least used squad member by Zidane (only playing 899 minutes) while Llorente didn't fare much better with just 1063. But this is a Real Madrid with an new-era air about it, one that could provide the ideal setting for some players to take that massive step forward.