Real Madrid's reported deal to sign Toni Kroos will be pushed away from the public eye until after Germany's World Cup concludes, despite the midfielder's transfer from Bayern Munich being "almost in the bag," according to Pablo Polo of Marca.
Polo provides the details of a move that will see the well-rounded playmaker galvanise an already impressive Bernabeu squad:
The 24-year-old doesn't want to discuss his future while his country is still vying for glory in Brazil, though he knows it is just a matter of time before a deal is struck. He is expected to sign a five-year contract worth 5 million (Euros) a year.
Madrid are also said to be chasing Colombian World Cup star James Rodriguez, who has underlined his name with five goals in four games during the Brazilian tournament.
Currently representing mega-rich Monaco in Ligue 1, the 22-year-old's fast-paced counterattacks and ability to finish from all angles has allegedly caught the attention of club president Florentino Perez and his Madrid hierarchy, reported by David Kent of the Daily Mail.
Rodriguez has helped push speculation along by admitting he would relish playing in the Spanish capital. "It would be a dream to play in Spain, one of the best leagues in the world," he told Cadena Cope, per Kent. "I prefer Real Madrid."
Rodriguez's future may depend on Madrid's ability to sell Di Maria. The Spanish club are forced to comply with UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules and must ensure they don't spend massively without offloading unneeded talent. If Rodriguez is to be snapped up for around £40 million, a price noted in Kent's report, Di Maria is likely to be sacrificed to drum up vital funds.
Guillem Balague, Sky Sports' resident Spanish football expert and Bleacher Report UK guest columnist, suggests Rodriguez's quotes signal an individual who may be trying to engineer a move:
James Rodriguez: "I prefer Real Madrid to Barcelona". He did not waste much time positioning himself— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) June 28, 2014
While Madrid's interest looks to have finally moved away from Radamel Falcao—largely due to Karim Benzema's excellent form for club and country—the former Atletico Madrid hitman is said to still have his heart set on a move to Los Blancos.
Falcao's only route back to La Liga could be as part of the Rodriguez deal if Jorge Mendes, the player's agent, can mastermind a switch for both. "The striker is even willing to take a wage cut, which would be essential for any move to take place, considering he currently pockets €14 million a season," writes Polo.
Which player would improve Real Madrid the most?
Whether Kroos, Rodriguez or Falcao head to the European champions, it's clear Ancelotti will have the pick of the transfer market yet again. Madrid's accountants may still be counting the cost of Gareth Bale, but the Welshman's on-pitch performances helped capture the Copa del Rey and La Decima in his debut year. When Madrid go searching for world-class talent, the supporters are rarely let down.
Kroos' passing and ball retention would offer the side greater control, while Rodriguez's directness and natural creativity could slot in alongside Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo. Falcao is perhaps the least needed right now, considering Benzema's improving work rate and ability to effectively pace across the forward line in a lone role.
Whether one, two, none or all arrive, we can expect Real Madrid to drop major funds in order to become the first team to successfully defend their Champions League crown.