Real Madrid is poised to spend big to land a midfielder, but it won’t be the much-discussed Paul Pogba. Instead the club will shell out an initial 50 million euros ($55 million) to sign Valencia’s Euro 2016 winner Andre Gomes, reports Marca.
Particularly given that it faces the likely confirmation of a transfer ban that would prevent the signing of players until January 2018, Real Madrid has been unusually quiet so far this summer. The only arrival to date has been the activating of a buy-back clause to re-sign Spain striker Alvaro Morata from Juventus.
Only on Monday, as Real Madrid began its preseason tour of North America, coach Zinedine Zidane claimed he was more than satisfied with the players who had led the club to another Champions League title in May.
“I'm happy with the squad I've got and it's difficult to improve on it,” he said. “There are still lots of players yet to join up with the squad and with the Euros going on we couldn't do anything. We have three games coming up and that's the focus at the moment.”
An ongoing pursuit of Gomes, though, now looks to have reached its conclusion. Valencia’s demand for a seemingly exorbitant 65 million euros ($71.6 million) for the 22-year-old had threatened to prevent any deal. However, Marca reports that a compromise has now been reached, with Madrid agreeing to pay between 5 and 10 million euros ($5.5 million-$11 million) in addition to the initial fee.
On the face of it, that is still a startling transfer fee for a player who has yet to cement himself as a genuine star performer and remains more potential than anything else. It is also debatable that Real Madrid needs another midfielder of his type. Already Zidane has Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic. If anything, it could be argued that Madrid need another defensive midfielder, either to act as a backup or an upgrade to Casemiro.
Despite those factors, it could be argued that if a deal could be done for Pogba, his extraordinary set of skills and potential is such that it would be worth the enormous cost. Yet, in a break from tradition for a club that has broken the transfer record on the last five occasions, Real Madrid appears unwilling to stump up the cash. In contrast Manchester United is readying a bid of 100 million pounds ($131 million), although even that is not expected to be enough to yet tempt Juventus to sell, according to The Guardian.
It is widely believed that Real Madrid would be Pogba’s first choice, but Los Blancos’ move has stalled as it struggles to finance another record-breaking deal. It is likely to take a major sale, as was required when Madrid signed Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, in order to make a deal happen. But by then it could be too late. What is known is that Zidane is a big fan of his compatriot.
“Do I like Pogba? Of course, he's a very good player and every club wants the best players,” Zidane said. “But right now he's at Juve and we have a large squad already.”