In the past, before Zinedine Zidane decided to take holiday from Real Madrid and left Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari to deal with the post-Cristiano Ronaldo fallout and Florentino Perez’ impatience, Sadio Mané was a rumoured target.
Today, with Zidane officially back in at Madrid, returning as the struggling giant’s saviour and with more freedom and power over how they rebuild this summer, it’s perhaps no real surprise that Mané’s name has already been mentioned.
Madrid’s season is done. They can’t catch Barcelona, they’re out of the Champions League, and they’re out of the Copa del Rey. Their focus already is on the summer and next season. And so already we have stories about who Zidane wants in.
The long-list or the short-list or just the list—and it certainly is quite a list—at least according to a smattering of reports today in the Madrid-based press, includes Eden Hazard, Paul Pogba, Lucas Moura, Kylian Mbappe, and Sadio Mané.
Conservatively, that’s half a billion pounds worth of players. Less conservatively, given the resources of the target clubs and their likely resistance, it might be a billion. And it doesn’t even address many of Real Madrid’s potential needs.
As such, it’s probably a safe bet Madrid won’t end up with all of them. Assuming the people talking about it have any real insight and aren’t just throwing out all the big names they can remember being linked with Zidane’s Madrid in the past.
Still, despite that, it is Real Madrid. World’s richest club. Winner of the lucrative Champions League three years in a row. A club that, compared to their status, hasn’t spent as much as they might have recently and should have cash to burn.
They will spend this summer, and they will spend big, and it wouldn’t be a shock if a couple of the names on the supposed list do end up there—though for any that do, one imagines the selling club will be very well compensated for their loss.
Beyond that, though, there’s not much to say about it, and as transfer rumours go this is one that, for now at least, is very, very speculative. About the only thing that seems certain is Madrid are about to go very big on their rebuild.