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REAL MADRID

Bale and James: is it now time for Zidane to reconsider?

With the failure of Operation Pogba, Zidane could consider two potential "signings" already sitting in his squad as the closure of the transfer market draws closer.

Bale y James, los 'fichajes' del Real Madrid cerca del cierre del mercado.
CURTO DE LA TORRE AFP

Zidane's plans have fallen apart due to the complexities of a transfer market that made it impossible for the club to satisfy his main request before the summer had started, which was to sign Paul Pogba.

United didn’t want to come to the negotiation table with any common sense; it was unreasonable to demand 180 million euros for the French midfielder and then refuse to lower that figure. As such, the operation failed. The club sought a ‘Plan B’, thinking first of Eriksen and then of Van de Beek – both of whom were clearly within reach.

But Zidane imposed his authority and ruled out both alternatives. “If Pogba isn't coming, I'd rather stick with what I have,” was his message to Florentino Peréz. The president has so far been unhappy with the coach’s decisions over the pre-season, during which he has hardly made use of Vinicius, Jovic, Rodrygo or Kubo.

Zidane's conditions upon his return were that he call all the shots, and that’s exactly what he has done in relation to the Pogba situation.

The reality is that the club has invested almost 300 million euros on five signings, of which only one will be a starter: Hazard. It is already known that Kubo and the injured Rodrygo will start with Castilla; while Jovic, Militao and Mendy will be consigned to the bench. Zizou prefers Marcelo to Mendy, Varane to Militao, Benzema to Jovic, and Isco to Vinicius. His conditions upon his return were that he call all the shots, and that’s exactly what he has done in relation to the Pogba situation.

Bale and James

Consequently, with only 19 days before the transfer market closes in Spain, the French coach is left with a thin-looking squad in which two players that he has wanted to see the back of could now remain: Bale and James.

Bale played a half hour against Roma, which could be interpreted as a gesture of resignation from the coach that the Welshman is going nowhere. James, meanwhile, has the support of the club and if it were the president’s decision, the Colombian would stay.

Remember that back in the season of 1994-95, then-coach Jorge Valdano had no place in his team for Amavisca and Zamorano. In the end the pair stayed and ended up being the architects of that season’s league title success. Zizou, take note.