Thursday, 3 April 2008

Transfer boredom

Given the week-long gap between games at this stage of the season, press reports on Real Madrid during the greater part of the week have been concentrating on possible transfer movements during the summer. I normally don't bother reporting 90% of this stuff as it's more often than not concocted out of thin air, so I tend to wait till it's either officially announced, or the buzz is so insistent that there's a good chance it will happen. But I thought it would be at least amusing to record what is being said and then come back next September, after the transfer window closes, to see whether there was any truth in any of the stories.

The list of possible additions to the squad includes the following:

  • Diego: His transfer was already hinted at after his display against Real Madrid for Werder Bremen in the Champions League earlier this season. In recent days, his father (and manager) confirmed a number of clubs, including Real, have expressed an interest.
  • Huntelaar: As insists Chelsea and Real will fight it out for the Ajax striker.
  • De Rossi: Mijatovic was in Rome this week to watch Roma and Manchester United in their Champions League quarter final tie and allegedly ask about the contractual situation of a number of players. De Rossi would theoretically be a replacement for Diarra, but with more technical ability.
  • Aquilani: Mijatovic also looked at this more attack-minded Roma midfielder, although it is hard to see where he would fit in given the large number of players able to fill this position.
  • Vucinic: The third Roma player allegedly in Real's books, although supposedly as a back-up striker should other options not pan out.
  • Garay: Supposedly going to Barcelona at the end of the season, the Catalan club's interest has reportedly cooled following an injury that will keep him out until the end of the season. Real may therefore join the bidding, while Spurs and Liverpool also expressed an interest earlier this year.
  • Luis Fabiano: Interest in the Sevilla striker seemed to wane after his performance at the Bernabéu last Sunday, where he was even less able to slot one in the back of the net than Higuaín.
  • Drogba: Sport claims he would follow Mourinho to his next club, and they're convinced that Schuster won't be at the helm next season, so there you go...
  • Quaresma: If FC Porto, at the centre of a match-fixing scandal, is relegated, some of its stars may seek clubs with Champions League potential. This is what happened when Real scooped up Cannavaro and Emerson from Juventus, although in the latter's case, it did not have much of a happy ending.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo: His name is mentioned in connection with every major European club pretty much every week, although As did manage to trick his mother into posing with a Real Madrid shirt and say her son had always wanted to play for the club.
  • De la Red: His agent has stated that Real will exercise their 4.5 million euro buy-back clause with Getafe in the summer, presumably with a view to selling him on for a profit elsewhere.
  • Javi García: He has the same agent as De la Red, and the story is the same, although the club involved is Osasuna.

In terms of those leaving the club, elconfidencial claims there is a "blacklist" of players who will be put up for sale in the summer. This includes Dudek, Salgado, Metzelder, Cannavaro, Diarra, Baptista, Saviola and Soldado. I'd be surprised if both Cannavaro and Metzelder leave, as this would leave the centre of defence rather short of players, even if Garay was signed to replace one of them. Also, from a performance perspective, Cannavaro has had a solid if not brilliant season (regardless of his detractors) and Metzelder has been blighted by injury, so Schuster may give him a chance if he recovers and starts the preseason well. On the striker front, both Saviola and Soldado have been massively underused, so it's almost a given that if clubs are found to take them they will leave.

elconfidencial also claims that an additional four players will be loaned out to let them gain additional experience: Marcelo, Gago, Higuaín and Drenthe. I'm skeptical about this; I think one or at the most two may leave, but not all four.

Sport would have us believe that it is Ruud van Nistelrooy's dream to be a top scorer at each of Europe's main leagues, and thus he is eyeing a move to Italy (more specifically AC Milan) while he can still cut it at the top level. Though the report was published on April 1st, I suspect this is more of a flight of fancy than a April Fool's story (especially since the Spanish "celebrate" this in December).


john said...

Man, I hate this stuff. It gets me all worked up and usually bears no likeness to the truth. The part that really tears me up is the "out" list this season though. What Baptista is doing on that list is beyond me. If he was playing for anyone else, he'd be on the "in" list, almost certainly. I wish Madrid would just calm down and use the players they have. We keep hunting for midfielders, but look at our roster! Sneijder, Guti, Gago, Drenthe, Robben, Baptista, Robinho, and on and on. What team wouldn't kill for a pack of midfielders like that to choose from?

And the idea of trading Diarra AND loaning out Gago? Infuriating. What, replace them with Diego and hope the opposition just let's us have the ball out of kindness? Or replace the two of them with the (dirty, dirty) likes of Poulson? F*** all.

Gonzalo said...

John, the trades don't make sense merely because they're all most likely made up to fill newsprint. YOu only have to look at where the blacklist came from (elconfidencial and sport) to see that it's almost certain to have been made up without any inside information.

I think new players will come in - it's how Spanish presidents keep the fans enthusiastic about the coming season, but which of the ones currently being touted is anyone's guess...

Since I wrote the article, there's been even more speculation about Sevilla's Alves (to replace Ramos?, really?)