Real Madrid will need to undergo a root and branch clear out in the summer if they want to get anywhere close to Barcelona’s current level. The transfer window also presents them with probably their last chance for the next 18 months to get rid of the dead wood and replace them with players befitting of the famous all-white kit.
The one key but obvious question is this – why?
Although Real and Atletico Madrid will try their hardest to have any FIFA-imposed ban overturned, they have essentially broken the rules regarding minors in exactly the same way as Barca did two years ago.
Fortunately for the Catalans it engendered a siege mentality at Camp Nou, something which helped them go on and win another treble. A triumph over adversity if you prefer.
There are already strong rumours doing the rounds as to who may depart the Santiago Bernabeu and who may consider Los Blancos as the next stop on their football journey. One player almost certainly leaving the club will be James Rodriguez.
The player of World Cup 2014, the Colombian has fallen right into the trap of believing his own hype.
Parties, brushes with the law and authority and a general indifference towards the club have all contributed to Zinedine Zidane finding him a semi-permanent home on the substitutes bench.
For a £75m signing that doesn’t represent decent business for either side. To that end, the player is already being hawked around by President Florentino Perez and an offer has already been made to Chelsea as to a straight swap for Eden Hazard.
The Blues are in transition at present and with new manager Antonio Conte expected to be announced in due course, it remains to be seen if the Belgian forms a part of his plans. A player that was Football Writers’ Player of the Year last season, Hazard has only registered twice in two 5-1 FA Cup wins in this campaign.
Having no Premier League goals by mid-March is an astonishingly poor return for Hazard. Mind you, James only has five, which for a player of his evident quality is nowhere near good enough.
If you look at the pair as an attacking threat then, despite playing 700 minutes more than his contemporary, Hazard is off the chart with 65 successful take ons compared to just 14 for Rodriguez.
Twenty-six shots at goal by the Belgian compares to 28 from James, indicating that whilst Hazard is the more industrious, he rarely has an end product. Almost 1000 passes for the 2015/16 campaign is pleasing from Chelsea’s point of view, and Hazard does always intend to be ‘busy’ in the attacking third. James’ 665 is on par given the less minutes played.
Neither player’s forte is in their defensive duties and the amount of interceptions from the pair as seen in the attached graphic is poor. Arguably the chance creation leans towards the Madrid man too.
Neither player on their day is particularly poor, but then again neither player have had ‘their day’ very much recently. A change of scenery for both may well bring out the mercurial talents that we are used to seeing from the pair.
Quite who will get the best of the deal we will have to wait and see…
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