Under Manuel Pellegrini, who was poached from Villarreal by returning president Florentino Perez, they were charged with the task of reinstating the Galácticos and stealing the title back from an exhilarating Barcelona under Pep Guardiola. And they made much of their initial investment.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, the two FIFA Balon d’Or winners prior to Lionel Messi, cost £80 and £56 million, respectively. The Chilean then added Karim Benzema (£30 million), Xabi Alonso (£30 million), Raul Albiol (~£13 million) and a handful of others for a total expenditure of roughly £220 million.
Once a trophy-less Pellegrini was axed at the end of the season, Jose Mourinho came on board and spent around £63 million. He brought in Ángel di María for £21 million from Benfica, Mesut Özil (£12 million), Pedro León (£9million) and Sami Khedira (£10 million), along with Ricardo Carvalho and Sergio Canales for slightly smaller fees.
Last season, that outlay dropped to £50 million, with Fábio Coentrão being the major purchase at £26 million, and Nuri Sahin, Raphaël Varane and José Callejón contributing the rest of the costs.
With the side organized from back to front and their first La Liga trophy in four seasons, Mourinho found it less necessary to splurge this summer. Instead, he brought only two senior players to Madrid: Luke Modric from Tottenham Hotspur for £33 million and Michael Essien on loan from Chelsea. Both players have been largely peripheral this campaign.
So, it makes sense that the giants from the Spanish capital have not been very active in terms of transfers this winter.
However, it may prove difficult for Mourinho to pull off a heist for the Welshman, considering his long-term contract with Tottenham. Also, the Portuguese manager’s protégé Andres Villas-Boas will be highly dependent on Bale as his side pushes for Champions League football next season.
Any potential move for the 23-year-old would most likely take place in the summer. And even that may prove unlikely with the £55 million price tag thrown on the winger in the current window.
But let’s humor ourselves for a moment. What exactly would Bale bring to the table for Madrid that they don’t already have in their squad?