The timing and manner of this particular transfer story provoke a strong sensation of deja vu. It feels like we've been here before.
Confused? Perhaps the following script will help clear things up for you:
It's World Cup season. Germany have made yet another deep run into the tournament. At the heart of their successful campaign is a classy young midfielder, one of the Bundesliga's top talents.
It just so happens that Real Madrid's greatest need is a new midfielder.
It also just so happens that the player in question happens to be entering the final year of his contract at his current team, making it possible to snag him on a bargain deal.
It was under these circumstances that Real Madrid signed Mesut Ozil in 2010. The silky playmaker established himself as a world-class No. 10 in South Africa, as an effervescent Germany side finished in third place.
At the time, Ozil was entering the final year of his contract with Werder Bremen. Real Madrid promptly secured his transfer for €20 million, chump change for a player of his quality.
The German club had no choice but to accept the reduced transfer fee, as Ozil would've become a free agent the following season and could have walked away for nothing.
Fast forward to 2010, and Real Madrid appear to be on the verge of securing a similar cut-price deal for Toni Kroos.
The Bayern Munich midfielder has been enjoying a splendid World Cup. Starting every game for Germany, he has averaged 83 passes per game while maintaining an astonishing pass completion rate of 91% according to WhoScored.com.
He was the mastermind behind the Germans' grotesque 7-1 drubbing of hosts Brazil, winning the Man of the Match award for his brace, assist and all-around control of the game. Bleacher Report's Michael Cummings awarded him a perfect 10 in the post-match player ratings.
At club level, the 24-year-old has been an ever-present in a powerful Bayern Munich side over the past few seasons. However, MARCA reports that the midfielder has felt undervalued by the Bavarian giants for some time now and is eager to seek a move to pastures new.
With the player entering the final season of his contract, Real Madrid yet again find themselves in a strong bargaining position. MARCA claims that the capital club will land Kroos for €25 million, an excellent bargain for a player who is worth at least twice that much.
Real Madrid's impending capture of Kroos—and the Ozil deal back in 2010—are testament to the club's guile in the transfer market.
Los Blancos are renowned as a club that throws ludicrous amounts of money around to sign megastar players, but they are looking to prove once again that they are equally adept at snagging world-class talent on the cheap.
Whether Kroos is the best signing for Real Madrid is a different matter.
Bleacher Report's Samuel Marsden believes that the midfielder's versatility makes him an ideal addition to Ancelotti's midfield. I have already stated my preference for the "silk and steel" package that is Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.
However, Pogba will cost a hefty sum of money because unlike Kroos, he is not nearing the end of his current contract.
Signing Kroos for €25 million represents fantastic business, just as signing Ozil for €20 million did.
So yet another World Cup is drawing to a close with Real Madrid set to secure another supremely gifted German player on a bargain. Signing German talent post-World Cups is proving to be an astute transfer tactic for Los Blancos. Long may it continue.
Watch this space in 2018.
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