Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Real Madrid no longer calling the shots in the transfer market...

There was a time not so long ago that a click of El Presidente's fingers would have seen the biggest names in world football scurrying to sign for Real Madrid. However, things appear to have changed somewhat over the last couple of years. Madrid tried and failed to sign our very own Cristiano Ronaldo, they would no doubt have loved to have signed Thierry Henry too, but they did not.

Madrid are currently trying to prize away two Chelsea players in Robben and Ballack, but times have changed I suspect that they will only be allowed to leave Chelsea if the blues want either or both of them out of the door.

Many fans despise many things about the 'play thing' that is Roman Abramovich's Chelsea, but at least the Russian's cash has made it more interesting at the very top end of the European transfer market.

Some things haven't changed though and that is Madrid's seemingly never ending efforts to unsettle players. Bernd Schuster, the Real coach, this week openly invited Ballack to join him at the Bernabeau. Today it's being reported that next summer's No 1 transfer target is Arsenal's Cesc Fàbregas.

Ramón Calderón, the current President has made the rather bold prediction that Madrid will eventually capture Robben, Fàbregas and Kaká: “There’s a chance that they will all be here by the end of my third year in office.” When asked if that could mean Robben this summer, Fàbregas next year and Kaká the next year, Calderón said: “I think so.”

Arsenal only allowed Henry to join Barca because Wenger was happy for that to happen. The same will no doubt apply to Fàbregas, any deal for the Spaniard will be on the Frenchman's terms.

Wenger is a very smooth operator in the transfer market, there is none better. Added to which, unlike Madrid the north London club doesn't have a policy of unsettling other clubs and their star players.

Many Reds supporters despise everything that the 'new Chelsea' stands for and in particular Peter Kenyon (the 'Manchester United fan'), but even the former Reds marketing man doesn't go around openly stating that he will soon sign a top trio from Arsenal, AC Milan and Chelsea. Madrid's continued public advances towards rival star players should be dealt with by UEFA, but don't hold your breath...

Real are still of course a massive club and only a fool would argue otherwise, but they are no longer getting their own way where it concerns signing the very top players because they are no longer calling the shots in the transfer market, they even contrived to allow Beckham to slip through their fingertips.

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