Galacticos gone?

Given President Florentino Perez’s transfer market strategy of signing at least one big name every summer, it was initially expected that Real Madrid would do exactly the same this time around, in spite of their achievements last season. However, it seems as though Coach Zinedine Zidane is exerting his influence over the club’s transfer policy, meaning a Galactico signing is unlikely.

First of all, it looks as though Kylian Mbappe will stay at Monaco for another campaign and Eden Hazard, who was reportedly a target earlier in the summer, would not have an automatic place in the starting XI. 

Reports from England suggest that Manchester United are anticipating a bid from Los Blancos for David de Gea. This particular signing would perhaps make the most sense, given that Keylor Navas is probably the team’s weakest link, if there is one, and Perez has wanted De Gea for a while. Nonetheless, it is likely that the 26-year-old will remain in Manchester, especially considering the difficulty the clubs faced in agreeing on a deal for Alvaro Morata and the faith Zidane has shown to the Costa Rican.

The main reason for not signing a Galactico this summer, however, is because it simply would not make any sense. It would be illogical to disrupt a team that have just won a La Liga and European Cup double for the first time in 59 years and that became the first to retain the Champions League ever. 

So far, the moves that have been made hint at a more holistic approach to transfers. Theo Hernandez and Dani Ceballos have joined from Atletico Madrid and Real Betis respectively, while Jesus Vallejo and Marcos Llorente have returned from their loans from last season to be incorporated into the first-team squad. 

All four of these players are either 22 years old or younger, and this means that Madrid could be building something very special at the Santiago Bernabeu. Along with Marco Asensio, Isco, Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Borja Mayoral and Morata, if he stays then there would be a core group of players who have not yet reached their potential and could help prolong the success that Los Meringues enjoyed last term. 

The key to this new approach seems to be Zidane, who is taking advantage of the respect that people at the club show him, including Perez, to ensure that he influences all decisions.

“He [Zidane] has won over a dressing room that isn’t easy [to manage, with all the star players] and we’re all close to him,” said captain Sergio Ramos.

“Our objectives must be as high as possible so that we try to exceed ourselves every year as we want to break records and statistics. We’re starting from scratch; we must set the tone [at the start of the campaign] and aspire to win all potential trophies.”

Despite the huge success of 2016-17, Ramos’ words show that the hunger and ambition of the Madrid dressing room remains. Do not put it past Perez to pull a Galactico signing out of the bag before the end of the summer, but with the club’s new approach to the transfer window, there is no reason why they cannot continue to achieve big things in the years to come.