Are we headed towards a Galacticos 3.0?

Real Madrid are known for being some of the biggest spenders in the history of sport. They’ve often splurged hundreds of millions over successive summers and epitomizes the philosophy of their President, Florentino Perez. He’s assembled Real Madrid under banner of the Galacticos – which once meant virtually endless spending for Los Blancos on new superstar players. Over the past two seasons though, business has almost grinded to a halt for Perez. Even though the club is always linked to superstar players, they have not thrown truckloads of money to acquire a player since the signing of James Rodriguez. Once a club known for their buying, they’ve sold a number of their players on high transfer fees.

Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus and Alvaro Morata to Chelsea has yielded over €180 million in transfer fees that Real Madrid have pocketed. Danilo was sold to Manchester City for an additional €30 million and they’ve somehow not spent that money on a Galactico. In the last two years, they’ve signed the likes of Vinicius Jr for €45 million, Rodrygo for €45 million, Alvaro Odriozola for €30, Theo Hernandez for €24 million and Dani Ceballos for €16.5 million. This is extraordinarily unusual for Perez as these are young players who still need years to develop in either their reserve team or on loan. The big question now for Perez is who could he possibly sign to kick start the third generation of the Galacticos.

The first indication of Real Madrid’s spending is that it is a reflection of a new line of thinking for Florentino Perez. He’s continuously brought up the fact that the market for players has dramatically shifted – a point that is just now being realized by the average football fan. Even for clubs like Real Madrid, money is not a commodity with unlimited supply. If players like Richarlson are being sold for an excess of €50 million, one can only imagine the skyrocketing price tags for world-class players. The market for players has always been competitive but in recent years Real Madrid have struggled to compete with other teams. This has been fueled by new influx of foreign owners into the footballing world. This gives clubs like PSG and some of the big clubs in the Premier League to outmuscle the likes of Real Madrid.  This means that the Madrid club have taken a conscious decision to invest in the best young players with some first team experience.  There’s a realization in the Spanish capital that it simply makes no fiscal sense for them to by every big name player. They haven’t signed a Galactico since James Rodriguez. This is for multiple reasons.  

It’s conditioned by the fact they had so many star players to begin with. Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema, Modric, and Toni Kroos are all in their primes while Isco and Marcos Asensio were up-and-coming world class talents. They didn’t need to get more given the stockpile of talent in their war chest. It’s also because they have tried but failed to attract players. Either they were outbidded by other teams or players saw opportunities outside of Madrid that offered them more playing time. In the past twelve months, they’ve made attempts to attain Kylian Mbappe and Neymar Jr. though it’s easier said than done. With the departure of Ronaldo, they do have the capital to flex their muscles and try to get a star player. The ideal replacement for the Portuguese forward would be Mbappe or Neymar Jr. though it seems as they it would be impossible to sign them this summer. Los Blancos are still in the hunt of a world class player with Hazard and a striker like Edison Cavani being on the top of their list. They are still going after some of the world’s best and yet arrival of a generation changing player to the Spanish capital this summer appears to be very unlikely.  

Real Madrid are desperate for a striker. With Ronaldo gone to Juventus, there is gaping hole in the Madrid lineup for a goalscorer. Cavani would be the ideal choice. He’s scored 33,33,38,25,31,25,40, and 49 goals in his last eight season; the first three seasons with Napoli and the past five in Paris. It’s only rumors at this not with no strong indication that Real Madrid will push heaven and earth for the Uruguayan. One way to look at it is Ronaldo’s 40+ goals a season simply won’t come from one player. The burden will likely be spread to the likes of Bale, Isco, and Asensio who will all have greater roles and will see much more of the ball. Bale will now become Real Madrid’s number one offensive threat. He obviously will not be able to duplicate Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal scoring record but will certainly get very close to matching his numbers. Talks with his camp have borne fruit as he is going to stay for the foreseeable future.

Icardi is another player who has been on Madrid’s radar. He has accumulated quite the resume for Inter Milan and is scoring goals for fun in Italy. Real Madrid will definitely try to buy a striker in the coming days and weeks. The likelier approach as they are taking a more long-term approach and will target the Summer of 2019 to try and lure Mbappe or Neymar Jr. to the Spanish capital. 

 

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