Rafa Benitez’s work as Real Madrid manager is now well underway, having already met with several members of his new squad. Yet it remains to be seen what players will be arriving in this summer’s transfer window to bolster the former Napoli boss’ party for the upcoming season.
It would appear, though, that the long-mooted move for Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea is getting nearer, with the Daily Mail reporting that Madrid are now set to make an opening bid for the Spain international. Yet with it thought to amount to just £13 million, it has little prospect of being accepted. De Gea has just a year remaining on his contract at Old Trafford, leaving Real Madrid to believe they can get him at a knockdown price.
With the 24-year-old thought to be keen on a return to Madrid, where his family and girlfriend are based, United appear to be all-but resigned to losing him. But having signed the Spain international for £18 million four years ago and seeing him develop into one of the world’s top goalkeepers, the Premier League giants will be reluctant to let him go for anything less than a significant profit. Reports in England, though, have suggested that United are stepping up their search for a replacement, and have their eyes on Netherlands international Jasper Cillessen.
A compromise over De Gea’s transfer may ultimately be reached by a Madrid player being sent to Old Trafford in part-exchange. However, that player is highly unlikely to be Sergio Ramos, despite the Daily Star claiming that United are weighing up a £20 million transfer. United have been credited with interest in several Madrid stars, including Karim Benzema, but the Bernabeu club will doubtless have no interest in losing a player of the importance of Ramos, despite the defender entering the final two years of his contract.
Real Madrid are likely to take an even firmer stance over the future of Cristiano Ronaldo. Having publicly thrown his support behind Carlo Ancelotti before the Italian was replaced by Benitez at the end of the season, reports that the three-time Ballon d’Or winner was unsettled had swirled. It has been widely asserted that Paris Saint-Germain would be prepared to pay a huge fee to bring Ronaldo to the French capital, but, as was always likely, the Portuguese appears set to stay put for at least another year. A report in the Daily Mail states that Ronaldo has given his assurance to Benitez that he wants to stay with the club.
Rather than players going out, Real Madrid’s attention is likely to be focused on bringing a marquee name to the Bernabeu this summer. Unsurprisingly, it appears that the 10-time European Cup winners are one of the clubs interested in perhaps the most sought-after player around at the moment, Paul Pogba. Barcelona and Manchester City are among the prominent clubs to have been linked with the Juventus midfielder, who has excelled since leaving Manchester United three years ago. And, while Real Madrid had previously issued a statement denying they had made an approach for the 22-year-old, Zinedine Zidane, the coach of the club’s Castilla team, has revealed that they are very much interested.
“I think that he’s fantastic,” the former France star said, reports Madrid-based publication AS. “What I like about him is that he has it all. He is a complete player who also has the ability to score goals because he likes to get forward. In terms of footballing qualities, he is extraordinary.
“A lot of clubs are interested in him and so are Real. It is natural that talented players are of interest to all the big clubs. For his continued growth it is important that he has a healthy environment and I hope that he will always have that.”