Real Madrid and Barcelona are growing increasingly close in recent times, particularly since they linked themselves and Juventus together with the The Superleague project. More and more, their transfer policies appear to be aligned, and this summer it would be no surprise to see them target the same players.
In recent summers, both Real Madrid and Barcelona have made it clear that they will look to bring in players for free in the coming years. It has been a publicly stated objective for the Blaugrana and was seen with the deals for Franck Kessie from Milan and Andreas Christensen from the previous European Champions this season. Meanwhile the likes of David Alaba and Antonio Rudiger have come in from the German champions Bayern Munich and Chelsea too in recent years.
Earlier in the season, Leicester City midifelder Youri Tielemans was heavily linked with Barcelona, as the Blaugrana pursue free transfers this summer. The Belgian midfielder will be available on a free this summer, having decided against signing a new deal with the Foxes.
Now Fichajes say that Real Madrid are looking at Tielemans. One of the big unknowns at the Santiago Bernabeu is the future of Toni Kroos. The German international has admitted that he is considering retirement. Despite saying that a decision is close, and the hints from Carlo Ancelotti that he will continue, there is still no confirmation on Kroos with just three months of the season remaining.
It means Real Madrid must put together a back-up plan. Tielemans is obviously an appealing option for several reasons. His price is the chief one. While there will probably be competition for his signature, his wages will not be in the top echelon.
At 25 years of age, Tielemans has already played in three divisions, racking up nearly 500 appearances, 58 of which are international caps with Belgium. He is experienced but also has plenty of time left in his career and will likely have one large sale left in his career a few years down the line.
However the decisive factor should not be the business side of matters when replacing an icon and a legend like Kroos. Firstly, the talent level and the ability to cut it at the top of the game should be a priority. Tielemans could yet prove that he can do so, but the level he has played is not yet at that of a Champions League-winning midfielder.
In addition, Kroos is a major character within the Madrid dressing room. It should be assessed whether Tielemans has the personality to play in Kroos’ role – demanding the ball off the defence and Karim Benzema.
More than anything, it is unlikely that Tielemans would be considered were he not free. Perhaps the opportunity factor can weigh more heavily when it comes to recruiting rotational players, but it should not be a factor when seeking out a replacement for a legend like Kroos.
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