As both Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez begin their careers as Galacticos with Real Madrid, other players’ time in the famous white shirt may well be coming to an end.
Having spent big to bring the pair of World Cup stars to the Bernabeu, Real now look intent on have an attacking-midfielder sale to create pitch time for their latest arrivals.
Here, we take a look at two players who could be part of the Real Madrid exodus and assess how their departures could affect Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Angel di Maria
Argentinian forward Angel di Maria has been the subject of mass transfer speculation of late, with several of Europe’s biggest clubs chasing his signature.
The 26-year-old was one of Real’s standout performers last term, but with Rodriguez arriving and shaking up Ancelotti’s forward system, it appears that he’s now surplus to requirements at the Bernabeu.
As Ben Jefferson of the Express reports, both Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain have been doing their all to lure Di Maria their way, though it seems that the latter are winning the race for the Argentinian.
Making the switch to the French capital would mean joining up with international colleague Ezequiel Lavezzi for Di Maria, and it’s clear that he’d fit in just as well as his fellow countryman at Parc des Princes.
The way that PSG set up means that manager Laurent Blanc deploys two pacey wingers to bring the best out of striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Di Maria certainly has the ability to do that.
As OptaJoe revealed, the Real star chalked up 17 assists in La Liga last term, hitting both a league and European high:
17 - Angel Di Maria provided 17 assists in La Liga last season; more than any other player in Europe's big five leagues. Dispensable?— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 23, 2014
In doing so, Di Maria let the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale shine, and with Ibrahimovic one of the most lethal finishers in the European game, the 26-year-old can look forward to another fruitful campaign should he make the switch.
However, manager Blanc recently insisted that no concrete deal has been reached for Di Maria, alerting the star’s other suitors into the possibility of a transfer—per Chris Waugh of the Daily Mail:
“I'll leave you to speculate. At the moment nothing is done. Are there negotiations? It's not for me to say, but for the board of the club.”
Though nothing is done just yet, Blanc will be keen to finalise the deal in the coming weeks, and Waugh reports that it’ll be an initial season-long loan for Di Maria before a £49 million move is completed next summer to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.
The move would truly bolster PSG’s Champions League chances, and while Real will clearly be OK without the services of Di Maria, his transfer won’t sit well with some fans should it go through.
The forward’s pace, skill, finishing and crossing ability make him one of the hottest properties in world football, and the only consolation for Madrid fans is the understanding that Ancelotti knows exactly what he’s doing.
Another player who’s set to be on the way out of the Bernabeu is young sensation Isco, who, like Di Maria, more than proved his worth to Real Madrid’s cause last season.
With eight goals and six assists in the 2013/14 La Liga campaign, per WhoScored.com, Isco had a coming-of-age season in the Spanish capital last term, but Rodriguez’s arrival means that chances will be few and far between this time around.
It’s no surprise to see Manchester City sniffing around for his signature, then, with the English champions’ options at central attacking midfield rather limited.
As Marc Williams of The Independent reports, manager Manuel Pellegrini is hoping to be reunited with the star he nurtured at Malaga and is reportedly looking into the availability of the 22-year-old.
However, Mike Keegan of BBC Sport believes that it’ll be difficult to lure Isco to the Etihad in the coming months, with City needing to part with several players to make room for the Spaniard:
On Isco to #mcfc, think there is interest but little chance of anything this window. Would have to be outgoing(s) first.— Mike Keegan (@mikekeeganbbc) July 22, 2014
That’s to comply with the UEFA-imposed transfer cap and foreign quota limitations that City have on them, but it’s clear that Isco could be worth a sale or two.
With the vision and awareness to make teams tick at the highest level, Isco would be a welcome addition to City’s cause, having the ability to bring the club’s talented front men to the spotlight.
A like-for-like replacement with Rodriguez in the advanced positions, Isco would have to settle for a life of substitute appearances if he remains under Ancelotti’s guidance, which will hardly aid his promising progression, making City a more-than-viable option for the 22-year-old.
Though two players who undoubtedly have enough class to cut it with the European champions, such is the nature of football that they may well be on the way out in the coming weeks.
Madrid fans will likely be frustrated with their sales, and BBC Sport’s Michael Oti Adjei believes they’re both a little hard done-by:
Isco and Di Maria reminds you just how ruthless football clubs can be. No room for sentiment. Then they scream loyalty when players do same— Michael Oti Adjei (@OtiAdjei) July 22, 2014
For all the gloomy talk of departures, though, Los Blancos still have the kind of squad to do some serious damage next season, and with Madrid being Madrid, that much is a certainty.