With the European season over, Goal looks at the business set to be done by los Blancos following the departure of Jose Mourinho
By Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Writer
It's all change at Real Madrid. It was a disappointing end to the season for the Spanish side and coach Jose Mourinho departs after failing to win La Liga, the Champions League or the Copa del Rey in 2012-13. Now, the club will look to build again under a new coach - almost certain to be Carlo Ancelotti.
Mourinho added only the Spanish Supercopa in his final season and leaves the side with deep divisions in the dressing room following a series of bust-ups with his players in his third and final season at the Santiago Bernabeu.
President Florentino Perez will now look to begin a new project after retaining the presidency and, following the appointment of a new coach, the attention will turn to transfers.
With that in mind, Goal looks at the potential comings and goings at Madrid this summer and the changes likely to take place at the Bernabeu ahead of the coming campaign.
Madrid missed out on Neymar as Barcelona bagged the brilliant Brazilian, but transfer business has already begun at the Bernabeu this summer.
Dani Carvajal returns to Madrid following a year in the Bundesliga after Real activated a buy-back option on the Spain Under-21 right-back, who will provide much-needed competition to Alvaro Arbeloa in what has been a problem position for the club ever since Sergio Ramos moved to a central role in 2011-12. Carvajal, who was named the best right-back in the Bundesliga last term, was bought back for €6.5 million.
Real will now look to their top targets for this summer and one of those is Gareth Bale. Florentino Perez has admitted his side hope to sign the Tottenham winger this summer, claiming last weekend that he would be a "worthwhile investment" and speaking of Spurs as "a friend" of Madrid. The president also praised Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and claimed the pair had struck up an excellent relationship during the negotiations for Luka Modric's move last summer. Tottenham, however, do not want to sell and this one could drag on all summer long.
In addition to Bale, Madrid are in the market for an elite striker this summer. Top of the list are Uruguayans Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, while the Spanish side are also monitoring the situation of Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney.
There is also firm interest in Malaga's young Spain star Isco, who is currently away with the Under-21 side in Israel. He is seen as a player who can offer more creativity in midfield as Real look to move away from Mourinho's counterattacking style. Madrid will face tough competition from Manchester City for Isco, however, and are likely to be thwarted in their hopes to sign PSG's talented Italian Marco Verratti as the French side will insist during negotiations for Ancelotti that no players can be signed by their current coach at the Bernabeu this summer.
Madrid have also discussed the signing of Barcelona midfielder Thiago at boardroom level after his release clause dropped from an inaccessible €90m to an attractive €18m, but Perez is unwilling to harm relations with Barcelona and has ruled out any bid.
Meanwhile, Madrid are also looking to bring in another young talent to bolster their defence in the same way Raphael Varane did last season. This time, the Spanish side have earmarked Roma's Brazilian centre-back Marquinhos as a potential new signing, although the former Corinthians defender only moved to the Stadio Olimpico last summer and is also reportedly interesting a number of other teams, including PSG and Barcelona.
With winds of change blowing at the Bernabeu, many players are likely to leave this summer as well.
Ricardo Carvalho was out of contract and has already departed to join Monaco, while Fabio Coentrao could follow his compatriot to the nouveau-riche Ligue 1 side in the next few days. Monaco are also keen on another Jorge Mendes player, Angel Di Maria, but the winger is more likely to join Paris Saint-Germain if he leaves at all, as Madrid look to sweeten up the capital club in their pursuit of Ancelotti. However, the Argentine is keen to stay at Madrid. Monaco, meanwhile, have also been frustrated in their attempts to sign goalkeeper Diego Lopez, with the Galician believing he can compete with captain Iker Casillas for a place in the first team next season. He has therefore rejected a move, but may decide on a transfer later this summer if he is told he will be on the bench next term.
Kaka is interesting both Monaco and PSG, as well as Turkish side Fenerbahce. AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi wants the Brazilian to return to San Siro, although club CEO Adriano Galliano has ruled out a move due to the player's age (31) and high wages. However, the Brazilian may have a part to play under his former boss Ancelotti and could yet decide to stay in Madrid.
Meanwhile, Gonzalo Higuain has confirmed he will be leaving Madrid after seven successful seasons in Spain. The Argentina forward has revealed he wants a "change of air" in time for the next campaign and Juventus remain favourites to sign the South American. Arsenal are also interested and Higuain has spoken enthusiastically about both teams. Madrid are yet to receive an official offer, but Juve's long-standing interest means Turin remains the most likely destination for the popular striker.
Another forward, Jose Callejon, says he hopes to stay, but it may not depend on him. Napoli are keen on the former Espanyol man, while Real may use the winger to help lure Suarez from Liverpool.
Raul Albiol's Madrid stay definitely looks to be coming to an end, meanwhile, with Atletico interested in signing the Spain defender. Valencia could also make a move for their former player if Adil Rami leaves the club this summer. A lack of funds due to their failure to secure Champions League football means they are otherwise unlikely to make a bid, however.
Another defender, Pepe, had looked certain to leave Madrid, but the capital club are now keen to hang on to the controversial defender, who was ostracised at the end of Mourinho's reign for supporting benched team-mate Casillas.
With Mourinho moving on after three seasons in Spain, Carlo Ancelotti is set to take over at the Bernabeu some time in the coming weeks.
Mourinho's teams have generally struggled after his departure, but Ancelotti inherits a fantastic group of players and a young squad still capable of competing for the game's major honours. The Italian will also look to add more creativity in midfield as the side move away from Mourinho's counter-attacking style with a more elaborate gameplan next term.
Ancelotti is an accomplished tactician and the Italian brings real pedrigree, having won league titles in three different countries (Italy with AC Milan; England with Chelsea; France with PSG), as well as two Champions League crowns.
Just as importantly, however, he is seen as a 'peacemaker' who can unite a divided dressing room and smooth over all of the problems left by Mourinho's turbulent tenure.
Madrid already boast a tremendous team which is up there with the very best in Europe in terms of talent. And, in theory, it should get even better this summer.
Carvajal's arrival is a boost to what has been a problem position, while one of Mourinho's mistakes was failing to secure a star striker in his time at the Bernabeu. Madrid should sign one this summer, however, and the improved movement in the final third and added goalscoring ability will be a huge help to Cristiano Ronaldo, who assumed much of the burden in attack under his compatriot.
Time will tell, of course, but if Ancelotti can get the best out this team and restore harmony after troubled times over the last few months, Real can challenge for the biggest prizes and maybe - just maybe - he will be the man to finally bring La Decima to Madrid, too.