After a transfer saga that seemed like it had no end in sight, Real Madrid announced the signing of Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos earlier this week, signing the 2014 World Cup winner to a six-year contract.
Upon the switch being made official, Sky Sports quoted Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in saying:
"We would like to thank Toni Kroos for his time here in Munich. We enjoyed great success here together. We would like to wish him and his family all the best in Madrid and with Real."
That sentiment ends Kroos' journey in Bavaria, but it marks the beginning of his Real Madrid tale, with some central figures at the Bernabeu likely to be negatively affected by the arrival of their new competition.
Florentino Perez may well be regretting the decision to sanction a big-money investment in Asier Illarramendi, who remains Real's biggest expenditure on a Spanish player at just over €32 million.
Upon making the switch last summer, the former Real Sociedad anchor was being tipped for great things, but after making just 15 La Liga starts in his maiden term, per Squawka, Carlo Ancelotti showed anything but ample faith in his talents.
Football Radar's Jack Rathborn takes note of the value Real have managed to find in Kroos' acquisition:
It's especially damning of Illarramendi that despite his past potential, he's now the same age as Kroos and therefore holds identical expectations as a current asset to the side, an aspect in which he currently can't compare.
In an age where the rounded, box-to-box midfielder is treated with more affection than the more outdated and one-dimensional defensive midfielders, Casemiro may be considered surplus to requirements at the Bernabeu.
Although he's impressed in the Castilla youth ranks, the Brazilian really hasn't shown the kind of signs that would lead one to believe he's capable of becoming a starting XI regular under Ancelotti, where the bar is of an extremely, almost unfairly high standard.
Christopher Atkins of beIN Sports notes this promise, but he does support the notion that Madrid may not be the city to nurture it:
If Ancelotti is to march on with a malleable and versatile midfield three at the core of his side, or even a two-man pivot, it's difficult to see where Casemiro fits in now that Kroos adds a more balanced option.
One very viable option for Kroos in his new setting could be to play as a provision to the forward ranks, but then we won't know entirely what Ancelotti's plans for the players are just yet.
Kroos proved for both Bayern and Germany just how capable he is of filling in behind the attackers in a more advanced central hub, with beIN adding that Isco could be used as a makeweight to sign Monaco's James Rodriguez this summer:
Should it be a more reserved future for Kroos, closer to his engine-room headquarters, Isco may yet live up to his Bernabeu dreams alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, but a long summer lays ahead holding plenty of promise for change.
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