Carlo Ancelotti will reportedly waste no time in raiding former club Real Madrid when he takes over at Bayern Munich this summer after rumours emerged linking the Italian with Karim Benzema and James Rodriguez.
According to Catalonia-based newspaper Sport, incoming Bayern boss Ancelotti has already told the club's chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, to begin working on deals to sign the pair at the end of this season.
Ancelotti left the Real Madrid helm at the end of the 2014-15 campaign, and it was confirmed at the beginning of this year that he would be taking over from Pep Guardiola when he leaves for Manchester City this summer.
Sport claimed Rodriguez's uneasy situation in the Spanish capital could see him leave the Santiago Bernabeu, adding the potential arrival of Chelsea winger Eden Hazard could influence his future in Madrid:
Ancelotti, who doesn't want to enter into a battle with Florentino Perez, knows the Colombian is not comfortable with Real Madrid and the club with him. Madrid aren't happy about his love of the city's nightlife, his demand for a higher salary, his return to Colombia to play games while not recovered from injury, and the recent speeding incident. His performances haven't been good either. The potential arrival of Eden Hazard frees up more space too.
Benzema could be tougher to tempt away from Los Merengues considering he's been with Real for almost seven years, having joined from Lyon in 2009 for a reported sum of €35 million.
However, Benzema's stay has been hit with controversy of late because of his role in the Mathieu Valbuena sex-tape scandal. ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan recently quoted Real manager Zinedine Zidane as saying he's become fed up with the ongoing saga:
Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan
Zidane on Benzema's legal issues “I am a bit tired of this, and him even more. Hope it is sorted soon, I believe it will not be long now.”2/12/2016, 12:48:35 PM
The striker was suspended by the France national team in December, per BBC Sport, and although Real will most likely want to keep the frontman, his future remains somewhat up in the air as long as this controversy continues.
Yahoo's Andrew Gaffney outlined Benzema as an "absolutely crucial" component in the Real Madrid setup, and it's true the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale appear to perform better with him as a target man:
Andrew Gaffney @GaffneyVLC
@FalseNineRole Benzema is absolutely crucial to the side, especially as the wide men like to get in the box/score. Not many unselfish no9s.2/11/2016, 11:04:30 AM
Rodriguez went through a difficult patch of form under Zidane's predecessor, Rafa Benitez, but the Colombian is starting to show shades of his former self, scoring one goal and making two assists in his last two league outings.
The 24-year-old arrived at Real for a fee of €80 million in the summer of 2014. Real Madrid's official Twitter account recently celebrated his impressive assist count in the timeframe:
Real Madrid C.F. @realmadriden
Did you know? @jamesdrodriguez has produced 25 assists since joining us! ⚽✅ 🎥 https://t.co/6sZLZccm8e #HalaMadrid https://t.co/8d2YUtuve82/3/2016, 11:10:10 AM
Of the few clubs that may have the allure and resources necessary to fund moves for the pair, German giants Bayern Munich could be considered to be among them, and Ancelotti's presence merely sweetens the deal.
Both Benzema and Rodriguez will be familiar with the three-time Champions League-winning manager and his work, and the Allianz Arena could prove an appealing destination should either player consider a change.