Real Madrid: Zidane return leaves host of big names in club's sights
Since Zinedine Zidane was re-appointed as Madrid boss a fortnight ago, marquee signings that seemed unlikely are now real possibilities...
In the mere two weeks since he was re-appointed as Real Madrid coach, Zinedine Zidane's presence in the Bernabéu dugout has pushed Los Blancos into a position in which they are leading the charge for a whole host of big-name signings - several of whom were pretty much deemed impossible before his return...
Coveted by every big club in Europe, Mbappé is now being heavily tipped to join Madrid as part of an expected summer overhaul of the LaLiga giants' squad. It is not the first time the young France striker has been targeted by the club: in summer 2017, he was in contention to move to the Spanish capital, but finally opted to go to hometown club Paris Saint-Germain. According to a report in France Football this week, Madrid are readying an offer of 280 million euros for the 20-year-old.
Another PSG star linked with Madrid, Neymar has also been close to making the move in the past, spurning Los Merengues' advances in 2013 and instead joining their arch rivals, Barcelona. The Brazilian is currently recovering from a broken bone in his right foot, the second such issue that he has suffered in consecutive seasons. He is of interest, but his penchant for travelling to Catalonia and posing for photos with his former club-mates is something that puts the European champions off.
A prime candidate to be added to the Madrid ranks this summer. All the indications are that there is already some sort of deal in place between Hazard and Los Blancos, with an agreement with Chelsea all that stands between the completion of the transfer. Zidane had already urged the club to sign the Belgian back in 2010, when he was still at Lille, and is hugely in favour of a swoop for the 28-year-old. Hazard, who will be heading into the final 12 months of his Chelsea contract this summer, feels his Blues career has run its course and plans to leave at the end of the season.
Zidane's arrival is certainly a boost to the club's prospects of securing Pogba's services. The 26-year-old was close to becoming a Madrid player in 2016, but in the end chose to leave Juventus to re-sign for Manchester United. Now, the Frenchman appears keen to depart the Premier League, either to try his luck in Spain or to return to Turin, where he enjoyed a successful four-year spell. The midfielder's remarks last week ("I'm happy in Manchester, but Madrid are a dream club for every player"), look like quite the statement of intent. The only drawback is his agent: Mino Raiola is not a figure that Bernabéu bosses relish dealing with.
Zidane is a firm admirer of the Danish midfielder, whose abilities he saw at first-hand in Madrid's defeat to Tottenham last term. He would be the perfect replacement for Luka Modric and, in an ideal world, 'Zizou' would like to have the two together in his squad for a season to allow the smoothest and most effective transition possible. He's out of contract at Spurs in 2020, but Madrid would be keen to snap him up this summer and get the process started. A player who learned his trade at Ajax before kicking on in North London, Eriksen is summed up in three words: quality, talent and technique. It remains unclear what Madrid's chances of prising him from Spurs are, though; chairman Daniel Levy is as tough a negotiator as there is.
The Bosnian is another player who is very much to Zidane's liking. Like several others in this list, he has also been in the frame for a switch to the Bernabéu in the past. According to Tuttosport, Madrid failed in a 60-million-euro bid for the midfielder last summer. He ended up renewing his contract until 2023, but on the condition that he was given a pay rise ahead of the 2019/20 season, and his agent is due to meet Juve chiefs at the end of the current campaign to discuss the matter. The Bianconeri wouldn't let him depart for anything under 60 to 70 million euros.
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