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Jose Mourinho was unable to bring in Sergio Aguero or Neymar, but the club's five additions will stand them in good stead as they attempt to dethrone their biggest rivals

ANALYSIS
By Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Editor

There was no 'Galactico' signing in the end. Real Madrid fans started the summer excited and expectant, eager to welcome another big name to the Santigao Bernabeu. Jose Mourinho had hoped so too, but things didn't quite work out as planned.

Madrid's two top targets were Neymar and Sergio Aguero; two brilliant South Americans who would bring flair, finesse and fantasy to the forward-line for Madrid and Mourinho. Both deals proved complicated, however, and neither player arrived in the end.

Aguero had once claimed he would never join a club beginning with the letter 'R', in reference to Racing Club, the rivals of his first side in Argentina, Independiente, and Real, adversaries of Atletico Madrid - his home for the past five seasons.

But the forward soon changed his tune when Madrid's interest became apparent, flirting with his side's city rivals and even hinting at his desire to cross the divide. That upset Atletico and the red-and-white side were determined to hold on to their man. Real couldn't sign him anyway, in theory, after incoming president Florentino Perez had accepted a 'non-aggression' pact with Atletico in 2009, thereby agreeing not to bid for any rival players.


REAL MADRID

PLAYERS IN
Name From €m
Hamit Altintop
Bayern Munich
Free
Jose Callejon
Espanyol
5
Fabio Coentrao
Benfica 30
Nuri Sahin
Borussia Dortmund
10
Raphael Varane
Lens
10
  Total Fees 55m [£48.4m]


PLAYERS OUT
Name To €m
Royston Drenthe
Everton
Loan
Jerzy Dudek
Retired
-
Fernando Gago
Roma
Loan
Ezequiel Garay
Benfica 10
Pedro Leon
Getafe Loan
  Total Fees 10m [£8.8m]

So when Madrid declared their interest in signing Aguero, they were told that not only would they have to pay the striker's €45 million [£39.6m] release clause, but that the sum would be made taxable, too. That brought the fee up to over €60m [£52.9m] and the club decided to look elsewhere.

As interest in Aguero cooled due to the excessive amounts quoted by Atletico, Madrid's pursuit of Neymar hotted up. The 19-year-old forward had almost signed for Real for virtually nothing as a promising teenager following a trial when Robinho joined from Santos in 2005, but bureaucracy meant a deal could not be reached. Now, he was going to cost €45m [£39.6m] and Santos claimed several sides had agreed to meet that fee.

Madrid were the front-runners for his signature, but they were also victims of the player's success as he led Santos to victory in the Copa Libertadores. Following that triumph, the Brazilian side were determined to hang on to their star player until the Club World Cup in December and a meeting with European champions Barcelona.

So he didn't arrive either.

A deal to bring in the Brazilian looks set go ahead in January, after Santos' Club World Cup campaign has concluded. However, if Madrid's summer showings and early-season form is anything to go by, Mourinho won't be too concerned.

Real signed five players this summer. Midfielder Nuri Sahin arrived from Borussia Dortmund and has been earmarked as a partner for Xabi Alonso in central midfield. At €10 million [£8.8m], his purchase appeared a bargain, but the Turkey international has been sidelined all summer and is set to miss another two months with a ligament problem. Time will tell whether he can return to his brilliant best.

Fellow Turk Hamit Altintop has also been missing through injury after arriving on a free transfer from Bayern Munich as something of a utility man, a jack-of-all-trades, although his first-team opportunities would appear limited in any case.

Winger Jose Callejon was another surprising signing. The former Madrid youth player was snapped up from Espanyol for €5 million [£4.4m] and featured heavily in pre-season. Callejon can cover both flanks, but is unlikely to start too many games this term either.

GOALKEEPER

Iker Casillas


RIGHT-BACK
CENTRE BACK
CENTRE BACK
LEFT-BACK

Sergio Ramos

Pepe

Ricardo Carvalho

Marcelo


MIDFIELD
MIDFIELD

Nuri Sahin

Xabi Alonso


RIGHT WING
ATTACKING MIDFIELD
LEFT WING

Angel Di Maria

Mesut Ozil

Cristiano Ronaldo

CENTRE FORWARD

Karim Benzema




PLAYERS IN
Name From €m
Michele Pazienza Napoli Free
Mirko Vucinic
Roma
15
 Stephan Lichsteiner
Lazio
10
 Arturo Vidal
 Leverkusen  
One player likely to feature heavily is Fabio Coentrao. The Portugal star became the world's second most expensive defender when he joined from Benfica, in a move many saw as baffling due to the form of the team's current left-back, Marcelo.

It has since transpired, however, that Coentrao won't be a left-back at Madrid - at least not very often. The Portuguese has been used in a number of different roles already, including central midfield and on the wing. And he is likely to fill in alongside Alonso while Sahin recuperates - especially against weaker and defensive-minded sides.

Having sold Ezequiel Garay to Benfica in a separate deal but as part of the arrangement to bring in Coentrao, Madrid then needed a defender as cover for Pepe and Ricardo Carvalho. Zinedine Zidane, who subsequently became Real's new sporting director, was sent to France on a charm offensive and came back with promising young centre-back Raphael Varane, who had also been attracting interest from Manchester United.

Meanwhile, on transfer deadline day, Fernando Gago, Pedro Leon and Royston Drenthe were farmed out on loan to Roma, Getafe and Everton, respectively. None feature in the plans of Mourinho. The new signings do, however, and the Portuguese brought in his players early to ensure instant integration in order to steal a march on Barcelona. And although his side lost out to their fierce adversaries in the Spanish Supercopa, the two matches showed that Real are closer than ever to catching the Catalans. With Sahin to come back and Neymar likely to arrive in January, a fascinating finale to the season awaits.




PLAYERS IN
Name From €m
Michele Pazienza Napoli Free
Mirko Vucinic
Roma
15
 Stephan Lichsteiner
Lazio
10
 Arturo Vidal
 Leverkusen 10
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