“This year we will bring in big players,” said Florentino Pérez during the official presentation of Álvaro Odriozola last week. Besides the ex-Real Sociedad full back, for whom Real Madrid paid 40 million euros, there have been other presentations this summer: new coach Julen Lopetegui, Vinicius, who came from CR Flamengo for 45 million euros, and, lastly, Andriy Lunin, whose cost could reach 13 million if bonuses are factored in.
There are two others who remain high on Florentino’s agenda, Thibualt Courtois and Eden Hazard. Signing Courtois should be easy, as the goalkeeper’s contract ends in 2019 and he has already expressed his desire to return to Madrid to be closer to his children. But the situation has been made complicated by the fact that Chelsea have yet to find his replacement, and Roman Abramovich, it seems, would not mind allowing him leave for free next year when his contract ends.
The signing of Hazard seems to be still far from becoming reality. Real Madrid have already come to an agreement with the player’s father (who is his agent), but what remains is the most difficult part, convincing Chelsea to sell him.
Neymar and Mbappe, a major setback
The situation in the transfer market has left Florentino cold. Just days after the confirmation of Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, the club suffered a major setback when both Mbappe and Neymar had to be ruled out almost at the same time. The two players, who have decided to remain loyal to PSG for at least another season, were the two biggest candidates with ‘Galáctico’ credentials. To the Real Madrid board, Hazard will seem a good option, but paying 200 million euros for him would not have the same financial return as paying the same for Mbappe or Neymar.
Harry Kane, yet to convince Florentino
The other possibility would be England centre-forward, Harry Kane, but Florentino (who is acting as the club’s de facto sporting director) is not convinced by him. Kane will not enter Florentino’s plans until he can assure he can score more than 40 goals a season. Moreover, the difficulty that British players have had acclimatising to Real Madrid and LaLiga (Michael Owen, Jonathan Woodgate, and more recently, Gareth Bale) would also advise against signing him.
Apart from Eden Hazard, Real Madrid have not been convinced by any possible options they have seen at the World Cup (unlike in 2014 when they signed James Rodriguez and Keylor Navas). Bringing in Hazard remains a possibility, but the Belgian international would enter into conflict with Isco and Asensio for a first team place. With Ronaldo’s exit, Real Madrid will be eager to bring in a marquee signing, but considering the current situation on the transfer market, Florentino will ask for patience as he does not want to make any hasty moves.