Real Madrid finally got over the hump in 2014, winning that elusive Decima, and Los Blancos are reportedly eyeing a number of world-class players to improve the squad even further during the summer transfer window.
Carlo Ancelotti has his list of preferred options, like every manager would, and backed by one of the biggest brands in all of football, the Italian usually gets whichever player he desires.
Here are three of the biggest names currently linked to Los Blancos and the latest news surrounding a potential transfer.
The 2014 World Cup's breakout star has always wanted to play for Real, according to his father, Wilson James Rodriguez, and on the back of his great tournament for Colombia, he could be on his way to the Spanish capital.
Per BeIN Sports, Rodriguez's father said:
Since he was very little he was saying he wanted to play professionally in Spain because it is similar to Colombian football, with great technique.
They have players such as Ronaldo. For the style of football, he prefers Real Madrid. [James] aspires to achieve great things. Zidane was his idol when he was playing for Real Madrid.
Real have always been a preferred destination for some of the world's biggest stars, so it's no wonder the Colombian midfielder grew up dreaming of one day playing in the iconic white kit.
Rodriguez has long been touted as a future superstar, but his keen eye for goal and excellent positioning really caught the eye of scouts during the World Cup. He has all the traits a creative midfielder should have, but his ability to be in the right place at the right time is what separates him from other players.
Los Blancos have a great playmaker of their own in Luka Modric, but Rodriguez has the versatility to play in a free role behind the team's main striker, allowing deeper midfielders to still distribute the ball around the park.
Monaco aren't exactly cash-strapped, but the Ligue 1 isn't exactly the most prestigious of leagues. If Rodriguez has his eyes set on a move to Madrid, it's very likely such a transfer would materialize during the summer.
The German international was rumoured to be on his way to Madrid earlier this week, but he has since denied a deal is already in place. Per Sky Sports (via Fox Sports), Kroos told reporters he'll decide on his future after the World Cup:
I've said all along I will not make a decision on my future during the World Cup. I can't comment on every article that comes out in the press. When the World Cup is over, I'll make my decision and something will be announced.
That won't happen in the tournament. I won't sign anything while I'm with the squad.
Kroos is reportedly unhappy with his contract situation at Bayern Munich and is entering the final year of his current deal, so the Bavarians will likely prefer to sell during the summer rather than risk losing him without compensation.
The midfielder takes up much of the same space as Modric does, using his superb passing skills to set up teammates in excellent positions. He's not a great athlete or a flashy technician, but as a creator, there are few better in world football.
One would expect Bayern will continue working behind the scenes, but as this transfer saga has dragged on for months already, it seems unlikely the situation between player and club can still be mended.
Los Blancos are one of the teams with the financial means to offer the Bavarians a fair transfer fee, taking into account his contract situation, but in order to comply with Financial Fair Play, one of Sami Khedira or Modric will likely be moved as the result of a transfer for Kroos.
Somewhat unexpectedly, it seems Real are looking at bringing Falcao back to Madrid during the summer. The Colombian is still recovering from a severe injury, and Monaco have told potential suitors they have no intention to sell. Via Goal's Duncan Castles, vice-president Vadim Vasilyev said:
"We have not talked about that. We count on him and believe he will have a great season in 2014-2015. Nobody is not transferable, I don't know of any examples in football - yet there is no discussion, we rely on him."
Per Castles, Real wanted to buy Falcao last summer but ran into a strong "no" from city rivals Atletico Madrid, who were not interested in selling to a direct competitor. He believes Real are now in "advanced discussions" for the striker, although they will wait to see if the player is fully recovered from his injury.
Falcao was a massive hit during his first stint in La Liga, but an ACL injury usually takes a long time to fully heal. The Colombian will be able to play at some point next season, but it will take time for his explosiveness to return.
Real aren't exactly shy of attacking options, with Karim Benzema enjoying an excellent season in 2013-14. While there's no denying an in-form Falcao would present an upgrade, the French international would be perfectly capable of holding down the fort for now.
A transfer fee could be a point of discussion for both clubs, as Monaco are looking to recover the €60 million they paid for the striker last year. If the injury worries Los Blancos in any way, they might be forced to look elsewhere as Monaco don't have any need to sell on a financial level.
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