Like a chubby man deciding to join Slim-fast on Christmas Eve, Real Madrid may well have left it too late to trim the fat of their squad before the transfer window closes on September 2. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The age it’s taking to land Gareth Bale has left a number of Madrid players wondering about their future at the club, but with little time to find a new home.
The most high profile, and surprising, potential benchwarmer is Mesut Ozil, who was chief creator for Jose Mourinho’s Madrid last term in dishing out 35 assists across all competitions.
Under Carlo Ancelotti, however, Ozil has been preferred on the right wing with new signing Isco playing in behind the main striker. With Bale obviously going to form a winged partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo upon his arrival, Ozil is no longer a guaranteed starter.
The German’s potential availability will have the ears of signing-light Man Utd boss David Moyes firmly pricked, not least after the creatively-lacking display that his side – bar Wayne Rooney – put on against Chelsea.
Another potentially peripheral figure is Angel di Maria, who may find opportunities to start restricted once Bale arrives, but he has declared his desire to stay, making him an extremely dangerous game-changer from the bench.
Elsewhere, Kaka is still around but his reduced game time has kept him out of the headlines, the benefit being that there aren’t as many suitors as in previous transfer windows.
This should mean that they’ll be able to call on the former Ballon d’Or winner as a rotation player when the biggest stars are rested and squad players of his quality can only enhance the side’s 6/5-rated title chances.
So with so many world-class talents sitting around waiting to impress, the Madrid squad looks to be shaping into an even more formidable one than last season’s, no matter how unintentional it might be.