In the aftermath of Real Madrid's disappointing Champion's League defeat to arch-rivals Barcelona, news from Spain suggests that their manager, Jose Mourinho, is already making transfer plans ahead of his second season in charge at the Bernabeu.
The former Chelsea manager had been widely tipped to return to the Premier League at the earliest available opportunity but according to respected Spanish pundit Guillem Balague's Web site he has already identified a couple of prospective additions to the current playing squad.
Balague claims that Borussia Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin is number one on Mourinho's most wanted list and that Espanol's José María Callejón has already passed a medical ahead of a prospective €5 million summer move.
Real Madrid are losing out to Barcelona in the race for La Liga and were knocked out of the Champion's League by the Catalan club but did at least manage to claim the Spanish Cup final at their expense as a consolation.
The most successful club in Spanish football, Real Madrid are not accustomed to playing second fiddle to any team but there have been a number of positives this season, most notably the performances of the players the new manager was allowed to bring in.
Mesut Ozil has been a revelation while another import from the Bundesliga, Sami Khedira, is firmly established in the midfield holding role.
Argentinian Angel Di Maria has been a joy to behold and the exciting winger who was acquired from Benfica for a comparatively modest €25 million. Mourinho's decision to reunite himself with former FC Porto and Chelsea player Ricardo Carvalho has also paid dividends with the Portugese defender slotting seamlessly into the heart of the defence.
According to Balague both Kaka and Karim Benzema who cost a cumulative €105 million are no longer part of the club's plans and will be sold, presumably at a substantial loss, in the summer, Under these circumstances a transfer market operator as shrewd as the 'special one' must carry a substantial appeal to the people who do the hiring and firing at Real Madrid.
However, Mourinho has been far from an unmitigated success and Los Blancos head honcho Jorge Valdano has been openly critical of his manager's tactics at times. For his part, the man who led Inter Milan to an unprecedented treble last season is entitled to feel aggrieved that he was not given the funds he requested in order to sign an additional striker in the summer.
Emmanuel Adebayor's arrival on a short-term loan was too little, too late after first-choice front man Gonzalo Higuain suffered a serious injury in early December.
The cracks in the relationship are their for all to see, but it appears that both Mourinho and Real Madrid are going to continue with their uneasy alliance, at least for another year. Overtaking Barcelona is not an easy project and expecting any manager, even one who has won league titles in three separate countries, to do this in a single season is patently unrealistic.
Mourinho has provided plenty of entertainment off the pitch, with his histrionics after the first leg of the semifinal an obvious highlight, but his team have not consistently performed in the style in which their supporters have become accustomed on it. Another season will allow him to cull the squad, bring in a few more players of his own personal choice and start to forge a side capable of overtaking Barcelona.
He has succeeded at every major club he has managed and the rabble rousing Portuguese tactician deserves at least another season to try and add La Liga to his illustrious list of honours.