The 2011-2012 La Liga season is officially upon us, and, following Real Madrid's 6-0 thumping of Zaragoza, some members of the squad appear to finally be on their way out of Madrid as the European transfer window draws to a close this Wednesday.
As per usual, many of these highly speculated and expected moves will come down to the wire or not happen at all, but the end is surely going to be a climactic one with many known faces on the outside looking in at a very deep Jose Mourinho squad that has already made a host of additions thus far.
Madrid are notorious for offloading players considered surplus to requirements at the deadline's close. Just two seasons ago, Inter Milan snapped up unsettled Madrid playmaker Wesley Sneijder in late August, and Rafael van der Vaart finalized his move to Tottenham Hotspur at the 2010 transfer window's close.
Having arrived in 2007 with fellow countryman Wesley Sneijder, Drenthe has failed to turn his prodigious promise into production.
Despite boasting unrivaled pace, the Dutchman has seen a wide array of off-field issues. Additionally, a well-publicized strike with Hercules (where he spent last season on loan) could curb the interest of possible suitors.
The winger’s rejection of a move to Benfica earlier in the window, in addition to Jose Mourinho having absolutely no use for the 24-year-old amid a number of additions to his side, has sent the player’s future further into question.
Although Drenthe has in the past been linked to Italian giants Juventus, AC Milan and Inter; previously spurned Benfica or a return to the Dutch Eredivisie are much more likely moves, for as of now, no options outside of departing or wearing street clothes all season exist.
Initially a Jose Mourinho favorite, Gago only made seven appearances under the Portuguese tactician last campaign as an injury sidelined the midfielder for several months and sent him sliding an unrecoverable distance down the pecking order.
The Argentine’s efforts during the Copa America may have been enough to reignite some interest from Mourinho, but some disparaging remarks made by the player to ESPN Argentina have since left the relationship between club and player untenable:
"Barcelona are the best team in history. They are well above Real Madrid and the fans do not want to admit it. Last season, the fans thought we could finish above them, but it was impossible."
While former club Boca Juniors have been strongly linked with Gago, it appears unlikely that the club could afford his return. Italian club AS Roma is currently the front-runner to acquire the player’s services as a loan deal with an option to buy for €6 million is reported to be in place.
Since his arrival in the 2009 winter transfer window, the Frenchman has failed to truly set himself apart and find his place among the first XI at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Having already relinquished his number 10 shirt to German international and playmaking phenom Mesut Ozil prior to the start of this campaign, speculation of the midfield enforcer’s future has ran rampant throughout the summer.
A return to the Premier League and, where Diarra would play for his sixth club appears to be most likely as Manchester United, Tottenham and former club Arsenal have been rumored as possible suitors for the 26-year-old's services.
Following his “surprise signing” from Getafe in summer 2010, Leon was very much the golden boy, receiving rave reviews and much love from then new coach Jose Mourinho. Then again, so was Sergio Canales, the 2010 wunderkind signing now on loan at Valencia.
However, things quickly fell apart for Leon following his pivotal equalizer against AC Milan at the San Siro in the Champions League. A number of questionable actions by the Spaniard led to Mourinho publicly criticizing the player to the press, as the Portuguese looked to justify his decision to omit the Spaniard from the squad.
Leon has yet to feature since the bust up and seems destined for a move away with former side Getafe, increasingly ambitious Malaga and possibly cross town rival Atletico Madrid looking to be possible destinations.
Since the Brazilian's then-record breaking transfer from AC Milan two years ago (quickly smashed by Cristiano Ronaldo's unfathomable fee), Kaka has failed to make much of an impact during two injury-plagued seasons with the new Galacticos.
The arrival of Mesut Ozil in 2010, and the additions of even more talent this summer, has seen the possible playing opportunities for the former World Player of the Year decrease even further.
While the playmaker has been steadfast in his commitment to the club, claiming he will not leave the Santiago Bernabeu until he has become a big hit, he may not have much of a choice.
Recently Jose Mourinho has played down talk regarding Kaka's future, which sparked from his lack of use in some recent games, but has refused to rule out a move.
"Kaka is my player. He has worked very hard since the first day. He hasn't missed one single training session. It was my decision not to play him very much in official matches but a lot during preseason. He is called up for Zaragoza, like the good professional that he is, and he will be on the bench. That Ozil will play is nothing new, but I am happy to look to my side and have a player like him there."
As of the present, it is believed that the player's former club, AC Milan, has launched a €15 million up front bid for the player's full rights, in addition to a secondary offer that would bring Kaka backed to the San Siro on loan for the 2011-2012 season with a permanent option of €20 million due next summer.
That said, I do not believe Kaka will be moving on from Real this season as he represents an incredibly valuable insurance policy for the younger Mesut Ozil. However, I would prefer that he return to the Rossoneri and show the world what he is still very much capable of.
He is too talented a player to flounder on the bench.
And if he wants to make an imprint in the new-look Brazilian side, currently testing out possible formations in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup—hosted by Kaka's native country—he needs to start playing again, and fast.