The Knock-On Effect of Zinedine Zidane's Return to Real Madrid

Dean Jones@DeanJonesBRFootball Insider at Bleacher ReportMarch 13, 2019

FILE - In this Saturday, May 26, 2018 file photo Real Madrid's Isco hugs coach Zinedine Zidane, right, after winning the Champions League Final soccer match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. Zidane says he is quitting Real Madrid after two and a half seasons with the Spanish club. The surprise announcement comes less than a week after Zidane led Madrid to its third straight Champions League title.(AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)
Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press

Zinedine Zidane's return to Real Madrid is exciting, surprising and hugely impactful. His presence back at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium will not only affect members of the current squad, but also potential signings and other elite clubs around Europe.

New moves are being made in the transfer market, as a first Galactico signing since 2014 takes centre stage. Players who were getting games under Santiago Solari will suddenly be cast aside, while others will be given a lifeline.

Here, we take a look at the winners and losers from Zidane's return.  

           

Losers 

Chelsea

The fear set in last year that a bid for Eden Hazard may arrive, and there was relief when Madrid made no contact.

However, the Belgium international has refused to pen a new contract at Stamford Bridge, which underlines the fact he is not willing to commit himself to the club.

Now, as Zidane returns, Hazard truly is on the wanted list and initial contact has been made, according to Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph.

Individuals close to the 28-year-old have insisted for a long time that he does have an ambition to end up in Madrid colours, and we will now discover whether his dream move finally comes to fruition.

It will take an offer in the region of £100 million to sign him, and although there is a transfer ban in place for Chelsea, they remain confident they would be able to reinvest any cash this summer.

There is a belief an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport will see their ban frozen, so they can set sights on bringing in one of their own top targets.

            

Gareth Bale 

The writing is on the wall for Gareth Bale, even though he doesn't really want to leave Los Blancos.

Sources who know the Wales international well have told Bleacher Report he enjoys his life in Madrid, loves playing at one of the world's biggest clubs and knows he'd have to take a wage cut to go anywhere else.

On top of that, Madrid President Florentino Perez loves him, too. Bale was his big project, and ideally he wants him and Hazard to feature in the same lineup.

However, the former Tottenham Hotspur man has to consider his situation carefully. The crowd are not on his side, his playing time has already been limited, and historically he is not one of Zidane's favourites.

VALENCIA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 24: Gareth Bale of Real Madrid CF celebrates his side's second goal during the La Liga match between Levante UD and Real Madrid CF at Ciutat de Valencia on February 24, 2019 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by David Aliaga/MB Media/Ge
David Aliaga/MB Media/Getty Images

It means Bale might have to think about a transfer. A move back to England does not seem as straight forward as it previously may have done, with doubts about how Manchester United, Tottenham or Chelsea could finance a move. Yet a new option may open up in Germany.

B/R sources have indicated Bayern Munich are looking into the 29-year-old's situation and intermediaries have made provisional enquiries over the terms that would be needed to agree a deal.

With Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery winding down, it could make perfect sense.

               

James Rodriguez

James Rodriguez has been in good form of late while on loan with Bayern Munich, yet the prospects of him breaking back into the Madrid setup are suddenly slim.

Returning under Solari, many thought the Colombia international could resurrect his La Liga career—and he was keen to do so. But with Zidane at the helm, it's less likely.

In 54 outings for Zidane, James returned 16 goals and 16 assists, yet sources believe the possibility of him getting many chances in the future will be slim.

Bayern have an option to sign him permanently as part of their two-year loan, but the 27-year-old is not believed to be keen on the prospect, so it can pretty much be ruled out.

However, the feeling is James is going to have to search for a new club.

             

Thibaut Courtois

Keylor Navas had almost reached the stage where he was ready to accept defeat to Thibaut Courtois and accept he would need to move on, but now there is fresh hope he can become No. 1 for Real Madrid again.

Zidane always had the Costa Rica international's back at the Bernabeu, believing in him and defending him when the critics came knocking. Many around the club are now convinced Navas will get a chance to oust Courtois.

The Belgian goalkeeper has had some good displays, but he has also made some big errors and is said to be wary of the challenge that now lies ahead for him.

Courtois won't let the tag of first-choice 'keeper go without a fight, but he is aware that life after Solari is going to look very different for him.

It is highly unlikely the 26-year-old will be sold soon, but he will have to fight even harder for his position.

Madrid paid £35 million to take Courtois from Chelsea last summer, and if he does want a transfer, it will certainly be for a much higher fee. 

            

Sergio Reguilon

Promoted from the Castilla side and then given the responsibility of first-team left-back, Sergio Reguilon will be sad to see Solari go.

He is 22 and has loved the experience of being part of the senior setup, even during such tough times, but most informed sources in Spain admit he is going to struggle to hold on to the position.

However, we should not forget Zidane played a big part in his emergence in the Madrid youth setup and does rate him. Yet it's unlikely he would trust him in matches such as the UEFA Champions League ties with Ajax, and so there is a chance of a loan deal.

              

Winners

Isco

If Solari had stayed, then Isco was going to leave Madrid.

The player-coach relationship had reached a stage where things were never going to turn in the midfielder's favour and intermediaries had begun to source potential new clubs for him.

Everything has changed now, though. Zidane knows how to get the best from Isco, and this change will be a huge relief to the Spain international. He will be motivated to get straight into the team and prove to Solari that he should have been picking him all along.

Some Madrid sources still claim his long-term future is slightly unclear, but the message out of the player's camp is that he wants to stay.

B/R Football

            

Luka Modric

Not at his best during Solari's reign, Luka Modric was being touted as a high-profile exit in the summer transfer window. B/R sources now indicate there is no chance he will leave while Zidane attempts to transition the squad back to former glories.

The Ballon d'Or winner is 33 and has certainly begun to think about what the next couple of years hold, with Inter Milan among the clubs interested in signing him.

But if Modric wants to stay, he stays. 

              

Sergio Ramos

Another dressing room battle won, Sergio Ramos continues to rule this Madrid team.

The 32-year-old vetoed the possible return of Jose Mourinho, and his role as captain is going to be a key factor Zidane uses to unlock the full potential of this squad.

      

Tottenham

It's relief all around Tottenham as Mauricio Pochettino now certainly stays. There are not many clubs that could have tempted him away, but Real were one of them.

The Spurs boss is focused on the job of transitioning to a new stadium, and he will then be given funds to strengthen his squad in the summer.

Lucas Moura was his last signing, in January 2018, but there is an acceptance that money needs to be spent in order to ensure the Premier League side continue to challenge at the top of the table.

Zidane is also not desperate to sign Harry Kane, which also helps Spurs. They are huge winners from this appointment.

            

Luca Zidane

Luca Zidane got 90 minutes of action between the sticks on the last day of the 2017-18 La Liga season, but he has not had a look-in since his dad left. The return of his old man can only be a good thing. 

That is not to say he is close to ousting Navas and Courtois, but the 20-year-old goalkeeper will be in line for a more prominent role within the squad.

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