As if managing a team in the latter stages of the World Cup isn’t stressful enough for international bosses, things get even more difficult when a host of the team’s star players are at the centre of rife transfer speculation.
Even though the World Cup isn’t typically the most common time of the window to conduct transfer business, rumours are rife when it comes to the future of various players, Toni Kroos in particular. And as arguably the biggest club in European football, Real Madrid are naturally at the centre of a lot of them.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team have been linked with moves for two men starring at this World Cup: Germany’s midfield metronome Kroos and the standout player in the tournament so far, James Rodriguez. Here’s the very latest on the future of both players.
No Deal For Toni Kroos Says Agent
The agent of the Bayern Munich midfielder has moved quickly to quash rumours that Kroos is on his way to the Santiago Bernabeu. According to Carlos Carpio of Marca, Los Blancos are on the verge of completing a deal for the German international for a fee believed to be between €25 million and €30 million.
But Kroos’ agent, Volker Struth, has denied the existence of any such agreement, as noted here by German football writer Alex Chaffer:
Toni Kroos' agent, Volker Struth, has completely denied any deal between Kroos and Real Madrid. (Bild) pic.twitter.com/2p5gfSb4dN— Alex Chaffer (@AlexChaffer) June 30, 2014
Kroos has yet to commit his future to the German champions, but with his contract set to expire next summer, speculation about his future is naturally rife. According to Carpio’s piece, Kroos has also been targeted by three other European giants: Manchester United, Chelsea and Barcelona.
The 24-year-old enjoyed a wonderful season at Bayern, playing a key role in the implementation of Pep Guardiola’s stylistic mantras. He’s also been very impressive at the World Cup, as Squawka notes here:
Here are some of the best bits from his domestic campaign:
But despite what looks to be a perfect marriage on paper at Bayern, Kroos could be set to jet off in search of pastures new.
If he was to turn his back on Bavaria, would Real Madrid really be his preferred destination? Ancelotti struck a wonderful balance in central midfield last season, with Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric and Angel di Maria performing superbly as a midfield triumvirate—players the German would find himself in stern competition with.
Kroos would also be fighting with the likes of Isco, Sami Khedira and Asier Illarramendi for a starting berth. If one of those players was to leave then Kroos would surely be much more privy to a move. But it’s difficult to see the player swapping guaranteed, first-team football with his long-term employers for a battle for a first-team place in Madrid.
Roberto Carlos Wouldn’t Be Surprised By James Rodriguez Deal
Real Madrid legend Roberto Carlos has insisted that anything is possible when it comes to club president Florentino Perez, and that he wouldn’t be surprised to see James Rodriguez at the Bernabeu next season.
Carlos spoke of how impressed he has been with the Colombian forward, who has netted five times in four games at the 2014 World Cup, and he discussed the possibility of the 22-year-old joining his former club in an interview with Spanish news agency EFE (h/t Marca):
James Rodriguez is very good; he has already shown that at Monaco. I follow the leagues around the world and I have seen him play at a high level in France. We will see in the match against Brazil how they will handle him.
He is at Monaco, which is a great team, one of the best in France, but if we have a word with Florentino who knows what might happen, Florentino can do anything he likes.
The quotes from Carlos come after Rodriguez himself claimed that in a straight choice between Madrid and Barcelona he would prefer to play for the capital club and that “it’d be a dream to play in Spain,” per Cadena Cope (h/t Paul Collins of the Mail Online). But, as is the case with Kroos, where would Rodriguez fit in at the Bernabeu?
Should Rodriguez be Madrid's main summer target?
Ancelotti has an embarrassment of attacking riches at his disposal, meaning Rodriguez would have a major fight on his hands if he wanted to nail down a first-team spot. Not only do Madrid have Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema as attacking options, they have other young talents such as Alvaro Morata and Jese Rodriguez.
Madrid have something of a penchant for signing the star player after a World Cup, as they did with Ronaldo in 2002 and Fabio Cannavaro in 2006. Rodriguez would be a fine capture and, at 22 years old, could be a longstanding cog in the Real Madrid attack.
After signing for Monaco from Porto for £38.5 million last summer, per BBC Sport, you suspect Rodriguez would command an extremely extortionate fee. With that in mind, if the player is going to end up anywhere other than Monaco next season, it’ll most probably be the Bernabeu.