Real Madrid have been consistently linked to Brazilian right-back Maicon this transfer season as they look to shore up their leaky back-line. There's no doubting Maicon's quality; his tremendous performances for Inter and Brazil over the last few seasons have solidified his claim as one of the best right-backs in the world, and he has even managed to keep Barcelona's Dani Alves, coming off of a stellar treble-winning season, on the bench for the Brazilian national team.
But do Real Madrid really need Maicon, or would they be better served spending their money elsewhere?
First, Maicon would be very, very expensive. While Real haven't shied away from paying out obscene sums for players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaká this summer, rumors put Maicon's price somewhere around €40 million.
That is a very, very steep price for a defender.
Perez's recruitment strategy revolves around the idea that spending more to purchase a true super-star is always more economical than spending a sum that isn't substantially less for a good, solid player of the kind favoured by the Calderón administration, for example.
This is because players like Ronaldo can recover their transfer fee and actually generate money for the club due to their massive merchandising value. Beckham alone is rumored to have made Real Madrid more than €600 million during his tenure at the club, vastly eclipsing his price of £24.5 million.
Maicon, while very talented, perhaps more so than David Beckham, simply does not represent the kind of asset who can recoup a €40 million investment. It would certainly be a rather large outlay on a player who, on the face of it, Madrid don't really have a place for.
With the acquisition of Raúl Albiol, the 23-year-old Spanish international defender (for a paltry €15 million), Madrid look to have a fine centre-back cadre. With Portugal international Pepe, considered by some, despite his violent outburst this season, to be one of the best defenders in Europe, and Ezequiel Garay, the 22-year-old Argentine, a promising prospect, Real look good in that area.
Madrid also have Sergio Ramos, acclaimed as one of the best right-backs in the world. Were Maicon to arrive, logically Ramos would have to move to the centre, displacing one of the perfectly good centre-backs that Madrid already has, or move to the left, where he is less effective. Is this really what Madrid's money would be best spent on?
What Madrid need more is a good left-back, unless they are willing to entrust the left flank to the as yet unformed Marcelo or to the young cantero Miguel Torres, as I might advise.
A better buy might be Arbeloa, who can play all along the defensive line and would shore up the squad in case of injuries. He's available for less than €9 million, and has the advantage of being a Madrid cantera product himself.
If Madrid buy Maicon, no matter how good he is, he might well destabilize an already-fragile squad.
Better to outlay their money elsewhere.