Real Madrid are reportedly plotting a £500 million spending spree in the summer transfer market, with Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, Chelsea forward Eden Hazard and Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea said to be on the club's list of targets.
According to Ian Herbert and Pete Jenson of the Daily Mail, Los Blancos are ready to splash £200 million on separate deals for Kane and Hazard, while they will offer the Red Devils £100 million for De Gea.
Herbert and Jenson added that Real also want Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino as their new manager, with incumbent chief Zinedine Zidane under major pressure.
It's suggested the European champions believe getting Kane to the Santiago Bernabeu would be the most difficult of the three deals.
"There are genuine doubts in Madrid about whether the relationship Kane has with Tottenham, and the lure of playing in a new Spurs stadium next season, will put him out of reach," Herbert and Jenson noted. "Spurs have also made it clear that even a world-record bid will not persuade them to part with Kane, though securing his guide and mentor Pochettino could make the difference."
Madrid's struggles this season are said to be the trigger for the prospective splurge, as they sit a staggering 19 points behind Barcelona in La Liga already. They were also eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Leganes on Wednesday. Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC highlighted they have been particularly poor at home this season:
Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan
Madrid 18 games at Bernabeu all comps this season - 9 wins, 5 draws and 4 defeats - Betis, Barcelona, Villarreal and Leganes.2018-1-24 22:44:20
A footballer like Kane would make a massive difference to their cause, and according to Herbert and Jenson, the striker's "clean-living image" is considered an ideal fit for Madrid by president Florentino Perez.
Crucially, Kane could have a positive impact on the pitch too, as he's one of football's best goalscorers. As we can see, courtesy of the UEFA Champions League Twitter account, he's leading some of the continent's best in the race for the European Golden Shoe:
UEFA Champions League @ChampionsLeague
🥇Harry Kane leads the way 👞🎯 Is there a 2017/18 #UCL winner in this list? *Formula = no. of goals x strength of league https://t.co/3ooy1J0Mrq2018-1-24 14:52:49
Hazard would also be prize acquisition, as the Chelsea man is having another excellent year in the Premier League, having inspired the capital club to glory last term.
The Belgium international and Kane could both refresh a Madrid attacking line that's grown a little stale. In 2017-18, Los Blancos talisman Cristiano Ronaldo has fallen well short of his best domestically, while Karim Benzema, his longstanding foil, has been inconsistent too.
As Marca noted recently, Madrid haven't been able to rely on the previously potent trident of Ronaldo, Benzema and Gareth Bale:
MARCA in English @MARCAinENGLISH
Better late than never. The return of BBC is imminent... After a staggering 270 days. 😳 https://t.co/zmkYxs20FG https://t.co/iCgUKRzKuv2018-1-21 10:40:16
Real's interest in De Gea has been longstanding, with a deal to sign the United man falling through in 2015. Herbert and Jenson noted Los Blancos will be on the hunt for a new stopper in the summer after missing out on Kepa Arrizabalaga, who recently signed a new contract with Athletic Bilbao.
Traditionally, Madrid have spent big in FIFA World Cup summers. Factor in their domestic struggles and some of their stars' indifferent form, and it would be no surprise to see them spend the type of money speculated in an attempt to re-establish themselves at the summit of the game.