For many sports journalists, French publication L’Équipe has long been considered as 'the definitive sporting bible' and yesterday the paper featured a cover story that was sure to have sent shivers down the spine of key figures at many leading European football clubs: a list of the players who could end up at Real Madrid this summer as Florentino Pérez looks to rebuild a side that has meandered following Cristiano Ronaldo's departure last summer. It has all the hallmarks of the very same Florentino who over time signed Figo, Zidane, Ronaldo and Beckham in constructing his "Galactico" team. At the time, L’Équipe published a joke on the matter where two fans were conversing with one saying to the other: “You know Madrid have signed Beckham?” With the answer being: “Yes, and apparently Schumacher is set to be the bus driver".
That signing spree was some time ago and Florentino was a different individual with a different view and impetus. He left the club only to return with Cristiano Ronaldo, who was actually signed by Calderón (something that never sat well with Pérez), and Kaká along with the promising Karim Benzema. Sometime later, the now misfiring Gareth Bale joined the fold with James Rodríguez the last major high cost acquisition following his solid displays for Colombia at the 2014 World Cup and costing 80 million euro (an inflated fee even then). Since then, less money has been spent with potential transfer fees being sidelined into the remodelling of the Bernabéu and hope deposited in youth team players who may have done the job as "starters" but have failed to serve up the "main dish".
For a few years, Florentino was happy to ride the wave of success that Cristiano's goals provided but following the departure of the Portuguese player to Serie A, matters have taken a turn for the worse. L’Équipe now cite potential acquisitions such as De Ligt, Pogba, Hazard and Mbappé as key figures for the 2019/20 Real Madrid side. Along with their hypothetical signatures cones the transfer fees, Mbappé alone is valued at 280 million euro. Madrid do have a series of players who they are willing to let go to fund new signings and their respective departures would not overly concern Zidane. Being astute in the current market, I'd hazard a guess that 200 million euro in sales could be generated. The question for me is should the club's finances be directed at the reformation of the stadium or in rebuilding a new side? I strongly believe that fans go a game of football to watch the team.