Candidates to Follow Bale as Real Madrid's Next Galactico Signing
Here is a list of 15 candidates Real Madrid president Florentino Perez should consider as his next Galactico signing after Gareth Bale's €91 million transfer from English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.
A Perez-type Galactico signing is often a nameable footballer whose career is trending upwards.
Don't hesitate to comment below with your own suggestions.
15. Davy Klaassen, Ajax CAM, Age: 20
Ajax: Real Madrid...Again?
In 1979, Real Madrid offloaded Danish international Henning Jensen to Ajax.
It wasn't until 2007 when Real finally signed a player from Ajax.
This was after Jari Litmanen, the De Boer brothers and Richard Witschge followed the precedent set by Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens to go to Barcelona, Real's El Clasico rival.
The Ajax player was Wesley Sneijder, who had taken up the mantle from Rafael van der Vaart, and cost Real €27 million.
Incidentally, Van der Vaart, who played for Ajax from 2000-05, arrived at Real from Hamburg for €13 million to cover Sneijder's knee ligament injury.
Ajax received another substantial bid from Real, this time in the 2009 January transfer window for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in a deal worth €20 million potentially increasing to €27 million.
Now in 2013, Ajax's rising star Davy Klaassen should be on Real's radar.
Klaassen To Compete With Isco
In Klaassen's last two games for Ajax, he has scored four goals, including a wonderful hat-trick against NAC Breda, a team that had beaten PSV Eindhoven 2-1 earlier in the season.
Klaassen possesses an immaculate first touch, his finishing is class, his upside is high and he can push Isco for a starting position.
14. Mattia Perin, Genoa GK, Age: 21
Sign Him Up Before Inter Milan Does
Inter have raided Genoa of their players in recent memory: Diego Milito, Andrea Ranocchia, Rodrigo Palacio and Thiago Motta.
Mattia Perin's transfer stock is at its highest after making nine saves against AC Milan to keep Genoa, down a man for 58 minutes, in the game.
"I had studied Balotelli's penalty technique, though of course in these situations you also need a lot of luck," Perin said after stopping Balotelli from 12 yards out, via Football Italia. "I was going to my right, but then I saw he was watching me during the run-up, so the moment he looked down at the ball I changed direction at the last second."
When Genoa beat Lazio 2-0, Perin made important saves off Antonio Candreva and Miroslav Klose to keep a clean sheet.
If Carlo Ancelotti wants an Italian at Real, he should buy Perin.
13. Remy Cabella, Montpellier CAM, Age: 23
Taking Over From Younes Belhanda
Even with Belhanda playing 30 Ligue 1 games last season, Remy Cabella led Montpellier in assists (eight), key passes per game (1.9) and dribbles per game (1.3).
Belhanda's summer transfer to Dynamo Kyiv handed Cabella the keys to the team.
|League Only||CAM Starts|
In Cabella's most productive league game of the season, he attacked relentlessly through Lyon's centre, linking up with No. 9 Victor Montano, as the duo both netted braces.
Cabella set up Montano for a goal and created another for Anthony Mounier.
Cabella being involved in four of Montpellier's five goals against Lyon in a deep-lying forward role is a sign he should be deployed permanently in a central rather than a wide position.
12. Ever Banega, Valencia CAM/DM, Age: 25
Fernando Redondo, Fernando Gago and Ever Banega?
From a talent perspective, Banega is superior to Gago and on par with Redondo.
Valencia have played Banega in the No. 6, 8 and No. 10 position to no avail.
In possession, he is the epitome of class but he has yet to play at a high level over several years to turn his status from a world-class talent into a world-class footballer.
If you have not been following Banega's career, you probably know him as the guy who "tried to stop it [his car] the way a footballer stops a ball—with his foot. The car crushed his ankle, breaking his fibula," via Sid Lowe at Sports Illustrated.
A few years ago, he was wearing a Real Madrid shirt despite receiving paychecks from Valencia.
He might now get paid wearing the Real shirt because he has the talent to be a Galactico.
Whether he will succeed is another matter.
11. Mehdi Benatia, Roma CB, Age: 26
Best Centre-Back In The World Right Now?
With Mehdi Benatia leading Roma's back line, the club have conceded five goals in 15 games, which is a better defensive record than Bayern Munich (seven), Atletico Madrid (nine), Barcelona (nine) Juventus (10) and Arsenal (11).
Only a Vincent Enyeama-inspired Lille (five goals conceded in 17 Ligue 1 games) are better than Roma's stout defence.
What about Real Madrid? Seventeen goals conceded in 15 games. If you tripled the amount of league goals Roma have conceded, they would still have a better defence than Real.
Three clubs in Spain have conceded a lesser amount of goals than Real (Atleti, Barca and Villarreal).
This is unacceptable.
Adding Benatia, a 2013 African Player of the Year nominee, to Real will shore up their defence.
10. Mario Mandzukic, Bayern Munich CF, Age: 27
Bayern Munich | OUT: Mario Mandzukic IN: Robert Lewandowski
If Lewandowski signs with Bayern on a free transfer, Mandzukic will be on the outer looking in.
He should be a target for Real Madrid but is he a bit old for the club?
Well, Real have signed strikers 27 years or older in the past: Predrag Mijatovic (27), Davor Suker (28) and Ruud van Nistelrooy (30).
Mandzukic, a tank in the air, with nine headed goals this year, would add an extra dimension to Real.
9. Robert Lewandowski, Borussia Dortmund CF, Age: 25
Robert Lewandowski U-Turn?
Lewandowski to give Borussia Dortmund the kiss of Judas and join Bayern Munich on a free transfer.
It's a done deal, according to Lewandowski, from Sport1 via The Guardian: "When asked by the Sport1 television channel whether he could announce his switch to Bayern, the Poland international responded: "Yes, because then I can officially sign a contract."
You can never be certain.
Three years later, McManaman became Real's controversial Bosman signing.
Should Lewandowski change his mind, he can be an even bigger Bosman signing than McManaman.
Lewandowski 4-1 Real is why club president Florentino Perez would jump at the chance to sign the world-class Polish centre-forward.
8. Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Borussia Monchengladbach GK, Age: 21
This Is For Bodo!
Bodo Illgner, West Germany's 1990 FIFA World Cup-winning goalkeeper and the 1991 UEFA Keeper of the Year, was ushered out of Real Madrid by a teenager called Iker Casillas.
That was in 1999, Marc-Andre ter Stegen was a seven-year-old. Fourteen years later, if he joins Real, he can end Casillas' career at the club just like Casillas brought an end to Illgner's career.
Ter Stegen, the Bundesliga's most esteemed keeping prospect since Manuel Neuer, is so good that if there was a potential rival to Gianluigi Buffon's world-record transfer fee for a goalie, it would be Ter Stegen.
7. Radamel Falcao, Monaco CF, Age: 27
Monaco PR Team Working Overtime
"There is absolutely no problem with Radamel [Falcao]," Monaco manager Claudio Ranieri said, via Kickoff.com. "But even if I say that there's no problem, some people will still write the exact opposite, so everybody should write whatever they want."
Why is Falcao presumably unhappy at the club? Broken promises?
Cristiano Ronaldo had to tell the world "I am feeling sad" before Real management bent over backwards to rectify the situation.
Once that was done, Ronaldo responded by extending his contract.
Falcao's theatrical reaction to being substituted against Nantes suggests some discontent towards Ranieri.
If Monaco don't appease Falcao, Real will be ready to sign a striker who scored 70 goals in 91 games for Real's inter-city rival Atletico Madrid.
6. Hugo Lloris, Tottenham Hotspur GK, Age: 26
Real Madrid's Feeder Team: Tottenham Hotspur
First it was Luka Modric, then it was Gareth Bale and now it could be Hugo Lloris.
Real weren't lying when they said they were going to use their "special partnership" with Spurs.
Zinedine Zidane, a living Real Madrid legend and France's 1998 FIFA World Cup-winning hero, is the assistant manager to Carlo Ancelotti.
French international Raphael Varane is the future leader of Real's back line.
Karim Benzema, a teammate of Lloris at Lyon, is also at the club.
So the French contingent will help Lloris settle into life in Madrid.
Real need a world-class No. 1 to succeed Iker Casillas (Diego Lopez is just a good stop-gap) and Lloris, an integral part of the French national team, is a qualified candidate.
5. Robin Van Persie, Manchester United CF, Age: 30
Manchester United Set To Rebuild
When Sir Alex Ferguson convinced Robin van Persie to become a Manchester United player, you would assume Ferguson didn't tell van Persie he was going to retire after one more season.
Everyone knew if you were a manager, you didn't want to be Ferguson's successor, you wanted to be the successor to Ferguson's successor.
United need to give David Moyes time and as long as the club qualify for the UEFA Champions League, he should not lose his job this season.
If Moyes keeps his job, will be cleaning out the squad in the summer.
Does van Persie want to be part of a team in a rebuilding phase while watching Arsenal win? No.
Real Madrid can match his wages at Manchester United and offer him a chance at winning trophies.
Real will give United their one and only chance to recoup the £24 million they paid Arsenal for van Persie.
4. Paul Pogba, Juventus CM, Age: 20
Sir Alex Ferguson Underestimated Paul Pogba
If Ferguson was given a chance to see into the future: Pogba breaking into Juventus' MVP midfield, leading France to the FIFA U-20 World Cup, winning the U-20 World Cup Golden Ball, becoming a French senior international and receiving the 2013 Golden Boy award—Pogba would still be a United player.
Pogba and his agent Mino Raiola (also represents Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mario Balotelli) tried to strong-arm Ferguson, who resented being treated this way because he did not project Pogba to be this good.
It is only a matter of time before Real Madrid assistant Zinedine Zidane tries to recruit Pogba.
Like Zidane in 2001, Pogba is Juventus' cash-cow.
3. Andrea Pirlo, Juventus DLP, Age: 34
Andrea Pirlo On His Last Legs?
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has ruled out signing Pirlo.
"You know how strong a bond I have with Pirlo," Ancelotti said, from Radio Monte via Ben Gladwell at ESPN FC."But it's something which is impossible."
What if Juventus decided against renewing his contract after knee ligament damage?
Surely, it's not impossible to sign Pirlo via a Bosman on a one-year deal.
2. Luis Suarez, Liverpool CF, Age: 26
€85-90 Million For Luis Suarez
Let's say Liverpool don't win any trophies this season and Pere Guardiola, Suarez's agent, demands his client receive a substantial pay-rise (Cristiano Ronaldo money territory).
If this becomes an issue for Liverpool management and Real Madrid submit a €85-90 million bid for Suarez, it would be hard for the Reds to turn down.
Suarez has been smiling, scoring multiple Goal of the Season contenders and has set himself up to make a run for the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or once the first month of the New Year commences.
Even if Real do come calling, staying at Liverpool would be the smart choice.
1. Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal CM, Age: 22
Why Aaron Ramsey To Real Madrid Could Happen
- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said £50 million would not tempt him to sell Ramsey. How about £50 million plus £1?
- Real management need to think about adding a Welsh contingent to the squad to ensure Gareth Bale's long-term future. Cristiano Ronaldo had a group of compatriots around him and so should Bale.
- Ramsey in the Real engine room and Swansea City's Ben Davies at left-back are logical transfer targets.
- Ramsey is the only player in the Premier League with eight goals, five assists and four tackles or more per game.
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