It was a big surprise when Cristiano Ronaldo ended a nine year stint at Real Madrid in the summer of 2018 but an even bigger one was that nobody was signed to replace him. The Portuguese superstar averaged more than a goal per game for Los Blancos, contributing to a huge percentage of the goals they scored during his long and illustrious spell at the club.
Having failed to reinvest the £99.2m earned from his sale in the summer, surely January is the time that Real invest in attacking areas. The club is willing to spend €200m in the January window according to rumours and here we take a look at some of the players they may have their eye on.
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard has long been an admirer of Real Madrid. On several occasions in the past he’s spoken highly of the Spanish giants, helping fuel rumours of a possible transfer. In October 2018 he publically stated that “If I ever play for Real Madrid I will be very happy” as well as describing a move there as a “dream”.
While the allure of a La Liga switch has most certainly caught his eye, the Belgian remains torn on the idea. He’s not ruled out signing a new contract with Chelsea and he’s been keen to reiterate that he’s more than happy playing for the London club.
Brother Thorgan Hazard seemed to play down the possibility of a January transfer on a couple of grounds. He first believes that Eden would not want to join Real Madrid while they are in transition, nor would he want to leave Chelsea at an awkward time like January.
The Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder also stated that his brother is “not thinking about a move right now” but didn’t rule out anything happening in the future. Real Madrid would no doubt be keen to acquire the talents of Hazard but it seems that they will have to wait until the summer, at least, before making a move.
Chance of a January transfer: 3/10
A series of poor displays from Alexis Sanchez in Manchester United colours combined with some off-field troubles at the club makes a January departure appear mutually beneficial. The Chilean is unhappy with the tactics used at United, a lack of game time and more ridiculous reasons such as being forced to sit next to a fridge in the changing room!
Other rumours have suggested that Sanchez doesn’t get along with his teammates and that his selfish playing style has made him an unpopular figure. He’s not a player that looks content with his current situation and this could be why the ex-Arsenal man looks a shadow of his former self.
If able to return to his north London highs, a punt on the Chilean may be something that tempts Real Madrid. Sanchez himself is keen on a move and has reportedly been offered to a range of big clubs via his agent. How any approach has been received hasn’t been revealed but, whilst not a marquee signing to really excite the fans, he’s not a name you would think Florentino Perez would instantly dismiss.
It’s feasible to think United would be willing to offload him for a modest fee but his wages could be a stumbling block. Currently Sanchez is enjoying a £391k weekly salary with an additional £75k appearance bonus. Real Madrid would surely be unwilling to pay anywhere close to this for a player who may simply be past his peak.
Chance of a January transfer: 4/10
Liverpool fans will be familiar with the name Iago Aspas after he joined the Merseyside club in the summer of 2013. The move did not turn out to be a fruitful one as the Spaniard struggled for first-team opportunities. His stint in England is perhaps best summed up by the horrendous corner taken against Chelsea that quickly led to internet infamy.
The 31-year-old has since built rebuilt reputation though at the club where he first established himself, Celta Vigo. In the 2016-17 season he recorded 19 league goals from 32 appearances and then managed 22 from 34 a year later.
His form for Celta over the past couple of seasons has seen him regularly involved in the Spanish national side and perhaps he’s deserving of another attempt at a big move. Following questions from the press regarding his future, Aspas stated that Real Madrid will have to speak to his current employers if they want to sign him.
A response like this does indicate the forward would be open to a move if Los Blancos were to pursue it. It’s something the European Champions did weigh up in the summer before moving for Mariano instead. At 31, he would not be a long-term solution and, again, is not the sort of Galactico likely to appease the fans, but his proven La Liga record and familiarity with Real’s Spanish contingent would help him settle quickly.
Chance of a January transfer: 6/10
James Rodriguez (loan return)
The future of James Rodriguez has been cast in doubt amid reports that he desperately wants to leave his loan-club, Bayern Munich. The attacking Colombian, who made a name for himself at the 2014 World Cup, is contracted to the German club to the end of the season but it is possible for Bayern to agree to an early termination.
Given that he’s fallen out of favour this campaign, this is something not beyond the realms of possibility. Neither is a return to Real following the departure of Zinedine Zidane. The Frenchman was never a fan of the 27-year-old, regularly keeping him on the sidelines, but new boss Santiago Solari may hold the midfielder in higher regard.
There have been whispers that senior Real Madrid players such as Sergio Ramos and Isco are not keen on seeing their former teammate return to the Bernabeu and the former certainly holds a lot of sway. That said, for the club’s hierarchy it may appeal as the most economical option but it would hinge on Bayern being willing to end the loan early.
Looking at perhaps the most important party in the deal, however, a move to a club like Juventus would surely make for a more attractive proposition for the player than a return to Madrid. Rodriguez’s time in the Spanish capital was soured by accusations of excessive partying and fitness issues as well as boos from the crowd. Unlikely to be welcomed back with open arms, this is a move hard to see happening.
Chance of a January return: 2/10
There are many reasons why Real Madrid would love to have Harry Kane among their squad this January. He’s still relatively young, a proven goal scorer, no history of being injury prone and is a model professional. There were initial suspicious that his 21 goal breakout league season was going to be a one-off but he has long dispelled any suspicion of being a one season wonder.
Over the last two full seasons he’s netted 59 league goals as well as nine in the Champions League. His goal scoring record speaks for itself and he would provide a more deadly alternative to more assist-focussed Karim Benzema. Moreover, as the top goalscorer at the last World Cup, Kane is just the sort of big name that excite the fans.
For every reason that Real Madrid would want Kane however, there are five more to say he would stay in north London. He’s a boyhood Spurs fan who reiterated his commitment to the club by signing a new long-term contract last summer. Furthermore, not once has he ever shown a genuine interest in moving to Spain.
When asked about a potential move after England’s 3-2 win over Spain he simply responded “sorry, not today”. While Spurs remain one of the top sides in England there is no real danger of him forcing a move away and even less chance of Daniel Levy ever agreeing to sell one of his star men. Even if Kane did push for a move, Levy is renowned for getting top dollar for any player Spurs let go and Tottenham would probably be looking for a fee in excess of £200m. Florentino Perez may be a fan of the Englishman but we strongly suspect he’ll be forced to look elsewhere for a new striker.
Chance of a January transfer: 1/10
It feels like there must be something in the Neymar to Real Madrid rumours if his former Barcelona teammate has decided to chime in on the issue. Andrés Iniesta, who now plies his trade in Japan for Vissel Kobe, said that he wouldn’t feel hurt if indeed Neymar did secure a move to one of his former club’s bitter rivals.
Another former Barca man sharing his thoughts on the potential transfer was Luis Figo who believes that a move cannot ruled out. His own experience playing for both Spanish giants may put Neymar off but the hate the Brazilian would face will be less extreme having not moved straight form one rival to another.
Despite his huge wages, rumours have for some time suggested that Neymar is not fully content at PSG. He’s a player who relishes the limelight and performing in Ligue 1 does not give him enough of that, especially now with Kylian Mbappe on the scene.
Champions League failings will not have helped either as it will lead the Brazilian to doubt if European glory is possible in Paris. PSG boss Thomas Tuchel firmly stated that Neymar is “our player with a contract” but players hold so much power these days that they can often force a move away. He would cost an absolute fortune but Real Madrid certainly have the allure and the finances to pull of such an outrageous transfer.
With PSG in danger of being forced into a sale by Financial Fair Play rules, this is a deal which may well happen. However, January may just be a little soon and the summer may be when Neymar makes yet another huge transfer.
Chance of a January transfer: 4/10