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Grading Real Madrid's Transfer Window Signings

Samuel MarsdenFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2014

Grading Real Madrid's Transfer Window Signings

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    Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

    Real Madrid lightly indulged themselves on deadline day with the signing of Mexican forward Javier Hernandez on loan from Premier League side Manchester United.

    Prior to the final day of the sales, however, they'd heavily indulged themselves.

    Big money was spent on Monaco's James Rodriguez, while Toni Kroos and Keylor Navas were signed at more modest prices.

    The incomings haves come at a loss, though, with Xabi Alonso and Angel Di Maria among the players to depart Los Blancos this summer to free up space and cash.

    Cristiano Ronaldo, reading between the lines, isn't completely happy with Florentino Perez's work.

    "Maybe I would have done things differently," Catalan publication Sport quoted the Portuguese forward as saying.

    But on a man-to-man basis, how do the new guys fit in at the Bernabeu? Over the following slides, each new player is given a grade.

    In giving the grade, the following factors were considered: price, ability, need, age, top-level experience and, factored in slightly less than the others, the player's marketing pull.

James Rodriguez

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    Daniel Ochoa de Olza/Associated Press

    At over £60 million, Real Madrid probably paid over the odds for James.

    His ability, judging on his performances at the World Cup especially, is unquestionable, while at 23, he has the best years of his career ahead of him. But you feel as if the fee inflated on the back of his showings for Colombia in Brazil.

    Long term, he is likely to prove a fantastic player for Madrid, however it feels like Carlo Ancelotti's been forced to make drastic changes to accommodate James immediately.

    That said, the player’s promise was always evident during his spells with FC Porto in Portugal and Monaco in France.

    He won three Portuguese league titles and the Europa League with Porto, before helping Monaco into the Champions League in his solitary season with the club.

    On top of that, as Perez well knows, the appeal of the baby-faced superstar, on a marketing level, in Colombia and beyond is huge.

    And it will only grow if he does well in a white shirt.

    Price: B-
    Ability: A-
    Need: C
    Age: A
    Top-level experience: B
    Marketing pull: A-

    Overall: B-

Toni Kroos

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    Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

    To pick up a World Cup and Champions League-winning midfielder, particularly one who is still just 24, for around £20 million is outstanding business in the current inflated market.

    Kroos is a fantastic footballer, extremely comfortable on the ball and is likely to develop into an integral part of Ancelotti's side.

    With so many midfielders at the club when he signed, however, Kroos' arrival wasn't a complete necessity.

    It is unlikely the German international was directly to blame for the departures of Alonso and Di Maria, but it does now feel like Madrid's midfield harbours a lot of players with similar attributes.

    All in all, though, Kroos appears well set to become a top signing for Los Blancos.

    Price: A
    Ability: A
    Need: B-
    Age: A
    Top-level experience: A
    Marketing pull: B-

    Overall: A-

Javier Hernandez

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    Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

    Although the opening slide suggested Madrid indulged in the deadline-day madness, signing Hernandez was actually a long way from what might be considered an indulgent signing.

    Radamel Falcao, however, would have been.

    With Jese Rodriguez injured and Alvaro Morata sold to Juventus, Madrid have been left with no back-up option to Karim Benzema.

    In Hernandez, they have added a goalscoring striker who will have arrived safe in the knowledge that he is likely to be handed a bit-part role by Ancelotti.

    His first few seasons with Manchester United, under Sir Alex Ferguson, were exciting, although with limited opportunities, he hasn't been as impressive since.

    His Mexican roots will also ensure shirt sales and the like, even though he has only signed on a one-year loan deal.

    The 26-year-old actually represents a sensible signing for the European champions.

    Price: B
    Ability: B-
    Need: A-
    Age: A-
    Top-level experience: B+
    Marketing pull: A-

    Overall: B+

Keylor Navas

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    One of Diego Lopez or Iker Casillas always seemed likely to leave Real Madrid this summer, and that proved the case with Lopez signing for Italian giants AC Milan.

    Navas had already been signed by then, but the point still stands—Madrid needed a new goalkeeper.

    And after lighting up the World Cup with a string of fine performances for Costa Rica, at just under £8 million, Navas represents a splendid piece of business for Los Blancos.

    If there has to be one doubt, however, it would be that the last 12 months of the 27-year-old's career may have been a flash in the pan.

    That seems unlikely, though.

    Navas, it could be said, was the best stopper in La Liga last season and the best at Brazil in the summer as well.

    With Casillas already under pressure, it seems a matter of time until Ancelotti hands Navas his official debut.

    Price: A-
    Ability: B-
    Need: A+
    Age: A
    Top-level experience: C+
    Marketing pull: C

    Overall: A-

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