Real Madrid could completely overhaul their roster in the coming months, and changes may start with manager Jose Mourinho.
Los Blancos must deal with the growing likelihood of Mourinho’s departure at the end of the season. It appears the two-time Champions League winner is on his way out of the Bernabeu, with a rumored feud with Madrid president Florentino Perez, who reportedly saw Mourinho’s absence at the FIFA Ballon d’Or ceremony as disrespectful.
He has been tied to former club Chelsea, as well as Inter Milan, Manchester City and Paris-St. Germain, and according to The Guardian, while he is still focused on the rest of Madrid’s season , a return to England seems natural.
"To be in London is a very normal thing for us," the 50-year-old coach said to Sky Sports News. "Every time I come, people start immediately to make the connections that I will return. I fuel it a little bit. I say every day I love it here, I had a fantastic time here, I will return one day, so to be fair I contribute to that speculation.
"(However), at the end of the day I am in Madrid, I am very committed for the club for the rest of the season. We are in the last eight of the Champions League. We have a [Spanish Cup] final to play against Atlético Madrid. People who know me, know that I am professional and at this moment I only think about my job in Real."
Whether he returns or not, Los Blancos have been linked to several big moves that could change the entire landscapre of the offense, starting with Brazilian starlet Neymar and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero.
The 21-year-old Santos striker was quoted last week saying, “I dream of playing for a big club like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea.”
Neymar did emphasize his admiration for Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez. According to the Daily Mail, the Nou Camp has a “pre-contract agreement” with the player that means he would join the Catalans after the 2014 World Cup or face a stiff financial penalty if he signs elsewhere.
But the fact that Los Blancos are on the electric scorer’s short list of desirable clubs is a good sign, while his market value, hovering around £44 million, isn’t unreasonable. Since 2009, Neymar has totaled 54 goals for Santos, and pairing him with Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi would strike fear in the hearts of clubs around the world.
Even if Madrid doesn’t land the once-in-a-generation player, they have other plans to reload their attack around Ronaldo.
Frenchman Karim Benzema and Argentinean Gonzalo Higuain were reportedly offered to Man City in exchange for Aguero, according to the Daily Star.
The Star’s report highlighted Aguero’s disenfranchisement with Manchester as one of the reasons he may welcome a return to the Primera Division.
Formerly with Atletico Madrid for five years, the 24-year-old striker totaled 100 goals in all competitions before departing to the English Premier League in 2011. Like with Neymar, Madrid will have to compete with Barcelona for Aguero’s services. His current market value rests around £39.5 million.
Should the Catalans also swoop in on Aguero, Madrid could land disgruntled Man City midfielder Yaya Toure, who is in the midst of a nasty, prolonged contract negotiation. His agent was quoted saying the Ivorian will leave in May unless he has a new contract by the end of the week, as reported by The Sun.
The 29-year-old, already making a club-high £220,000 a week, reportedly has said it is not about money, but rather a lack of respect around the club staff from everyone except manager Roberto Mancini.
Toure is technically under contract until 2015, but could enact a FIFA rule that states unless a player signs a new deal by the end of the third year of his existing contract, they can buy out the remaining amount and move on.
Then there is PSG midfielder Marco Verratti, who continues to impress in his first year at Parc des Princes. Madrid view Verratti as a possible replacement for Xabi Alonso, according to Talk Sport.
The Italian has notched four assists in 26 total appearances for PSG, and has also garnered interest from Liverpool and Manchester United.