Zinedine Zidane is back at Real Madrid. Tuesday’s Paper Round looks at the players linked with a summer move to the club, and reports of player power blocking Jose Mourinho’s return.
The £300m overhaul
Zidane has been promised a £300m summer overhaul by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, according to the Independent. After convincing the Frenchman to return to the Bernabeu, Perez has come to terms with the fact a major squad transformation is needed after they were knocked out of the Copa del Rey, Champions League and (effectively) the Liga title race in the space of a week.
Who should be Real’s top target this summer?
That word ‘Galactico’ has inevitably resurfaced, with the arrival of James Rodriguez in 2014 the last time Real made a marquee signing.
Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Christian Eriksen and Eden Hazard are the four names mentioned in the Independent’s report. Hazard has recently been linked with a £100m move to Real, though Mbappe or Neymar are likely to cost the club a world-record fee.
‘Chelsea’s worst nightmare’
According to the Sun, news of Zidane’s return is Chelsea’s ‘worst nightmare’ in their attempts to hold onto Hazard.
The Belgian has long flirted with a move to the Spanish club, and the prospect of playing under Zidane has many believing the 28-year-old will finally make his move away from Stamford Bridge – however likely it seemed anyway.
Paper Round’s view: There is little doubt Perez will have offered Zidane the proverbial ‘blank cheque’ to spend on players this summer, and rumours will swirl for the next three months as to what £300m will get you. One-and-a-half Galacticos? One mega Galactico? Hazard and ______?
If Real go big this summer, it could spark one mighty merry-go-round.
No way, Jose
It was player power which reportedly denied Jose Mourinho a return to Real Madrid. The former Chelsea and Manchester United boss was seemingly nearing a second stint at the Bernabeu before Zidane was announced on Monday, and former Real president Ramon Calderon said:
” He (Zidane) will be received well by the players, who were rejecting the idea of Mourinho coming. We are very lucky to have him (Zidane) here. It’s a good choice. The other one was Mourinho and I think in the last days the leaders of the dressing room have pushed to reject him.”
Mourinho fell out with a number of Real’s leaders during his first spell at the club, including goalkeeper Iker Casillas, while it is said to be the second time the players have blocked an appointment, with Sergio Ramos among those said to be against Antonio Conte taking the role.
The next question will be where next for Mourinho, but that – for now – can wait…