Serie A giants Roma have launched an €8 million (£6.2 million) bid to sign Real Madrid defender Nacho this winter. Plus, Los Blancos have seen their chances of landing Wolfsburg's Ricardo Rodriguez plummet after the Germans ruled out a January sale.
Spanish radio station Cadena COPE revealed news of Roma's move for central defender Nacho after Luciano Spalletti was re-appointed manager of the Italian outfit (h/t Marca). An extract read:
The news of the offer was broken by radio station Cadena COPE and has since been corroborated by our sources. Nacho is said to be giving serious thought to the idea of leaving because of his lack of opportunities under Zinedine Zidane.
The Spain international had more of a look-in under Rafa Benitez, but was left out of the matchday squad altogether by the Frenchman for the Sporting Gijon clash.
Depending on manager Zidane's plans for Nacho, Los Merengues may be willing to cash in on their centre-back, but Real's impending transfer ban makes any departures difficult to envision for the remainder of this month.
Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe and Dean Jones have discussed which players are set to lose out as a result of the potential ban, which would run throughout this summer and January 2017:
The club have signalled their intent to lobby an appeal on the two-window transfer ban after Zidane labelled the punishment "absurd," per Sky Sports' Allan Valente. If Real feel confident of the decision being overturned, Nacho's chances of a January exit would improve.
The 26-year-old has made just 11 starts this season behind the likes of Pepe, Raphael Varane and captain Sergio Ramos, but his ability to cover at full-back is also a valuable resource for Real. Nacho has made only 28 La Liga starts since making his league debut in 2011, and future prospects may not be much brighter.
That being said, Los Blancos have lost just one of the 14 games in which Nacho has featured this season, and ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan recently hinted the club's success without Ramos in the team may be more fruitful:
Ramos out with calf injury. Possibly coincidence but Madrid unbeaten without captain in XI all season [10 wins, 1 draw, 0 losses].— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) December 30, 2015
Ramos extended his deal at the Bernabeu last summer, but according to Alejandro Alcazar of Spanish daily Sport, club president Florentino Perez regrets handing his captain a new contract in the capital.
Should Real Madrid cash in on Nacho?
Roma's defensive record is the joint-worst among Serie A's top six—they've conceded 23 goals in 20 games—and Nacho's fringe status could make him an attainable target in their eyes.
Meanwhile, one of the stars in Real's sights, Rodriguez, won't be moving on from the Volkswagen Arena this month, according to Wolfsburg managing director Klaus Allofs. The 23-year-old scored 10 goals in 39 appearances for the Wolves last season and was nominated 2014 Swiss Player of the Year.
The Daily Star's Marc Williams provided quotes from the Wolfsburg board member, who issued a hands-off warning regarding the club's star left-back and said: “You can forget it, we would certainly not do that."
According to Williams' report, Rodriguez has a £27 million release clause in his contract, meaning Los Merengues will be aware of the sum they need to take the Switzerland international out of his German setting.
The Spanish giants have been forced to use Danilo, Dani Carvajal, Nacho and Alvaro Arbeloa as cover for Marcelo when the left-back is injured. However, Rodriguez himself told German daily Bild earlier in January that there was no concrete interest from Los Blancos, via DW Sports:
Ricardo Rodriguez flattens rumors he is going to Real Madrid, telling BILD he has not received any contact from them. #dwbundesliga— DW Sports (@dw_sports) January 7, 2016
If Real's transfer ban is upheld, it would mean they'd be prevented from registering any new players until the summer of 2017, so the search for cover at left-back could push them into making an imminent swoop.
Time is running out for Real to conduct their January business, after which they leave their transfer future up to fate and run the risk of going 18 months without being permitted to make any transfer signings.