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From Hazard to Jovic - Real Madrid blowing rest of Europe away with €315m summer splurge

7:50 AM EDT 6/17/19
Eden Hazard Luka Jovic Real Madrid
With Zinedine Zidane back at the helm and having lost their Champions League title, the Blancos have embarked upon a massive spending spree

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane couldn't wait for last season to end. Now he can't wait for the new campaign to begin.

Just over two weeks after seeing Liverpool succeed them as European champions, los Blancos have already finalised transfers for five players, for a grand total of €315 million.

Eden Hazard's arrival has obviously generated the most headlines.

Ten years after Zidane first recommended the former Lille winger to club president Florentino Perez in his role as an unofficial adviser, the Belgian has finally arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu, from Chelsea - and at a cost of €100m.

Despite Karim Benzema's fine form in an otherwise dreadful season for Madrid, an additional €70m has been spent on a centre-forward, Serbian sensation Luka Jovic, who is coming off the back of a prolific campaign at Eintracht Frankfurt.

And let us not forget that Real reached an agreement with Santos last year for teenage sensation Rodrygo, who will complete his €45m move to the Spanish capital this summer.

The Brazilian is still only 18 and could easily be sent out on loan but it is also worth remembering that compatriot and fellow forward Vinicius was also expected to spend last season with Real Madrid Castilla.

Instead, Vinicius proved one of the revelations of Real's dismal 2018-19 campaign before injury checked his progress, as well as denying him a chance to make his Selecao debut in the spring.

Madrid will, thus, be privately hoping that Rodrygo – along with €2m Castilla signing Takefusa Kubo – can make just as instantaneous an impact in Spain and reinvigorate an attack that looked tired and predictable last term.

The 13-time European champions have also addressed their issues at the back, though.

Real may have persuaded club captain Sergio Ramos to reject a lucrative move to China but that doesn't mean that they aren't planning for the future, as the €50m acquisition of Porto's versatile centre-back Eder Militao underlines.

In addition, Marcelo didn't just lose his status as the world's best left-back last season, he also regularly lost his starting berth to Sergio Reguilon.

As a result, Madrid splashed €48m on Lyon's Ferland Mendy, the fantastically fast and offensively-minded Frenchman who has been described as "The Kylian Mbappe of full-backs".

With all of this in mind, Zidane's revamped Real look set to thrill fans of attacking football.

However, they represent a terrifying proposition for all of their rivals, many of whom have not moved nearly as quickly in the summer transfer market.

Even Barcelona, who wrapped up a €75m deal for Ajax ace Frenkie de Jong in January, have lost some momentum, with their move for the midfielder's team-mate, Matthijs de Ligt, having stalled amid fierce competition from elsewhere.

What's more, the Blaugrana are still searching in vain for a worthy replacement for the brilliant but ageing Uruguayan centre-forward, Luis Suarez.

Still, Barca could yet pull off a major coup by landing Antoine Griezmann, the fickle France forward who, a year after riling the Catalans by publicly rejecting a move to Camp Nou, is now interested in joining the Catalans again.

Elsewhere, newly crowned European champions Liverpool are not expected to make any major moves in 2019, having gone all out to address their defensive issues last season with big-money deals for centre-half Virgil van Dijk and goalkeeper Alisson.

Beaten finalists Tottenham should at least sign their first player since January 2018 but how much cash Mauricio Pochettino will have to spend remains as uncertain as his future in north London.

Bitter rivals Arsenal certainly don't have much money in the kitty and while Chelsea's coffers have been bolstered by the sale of Hazard, the Blues still have a transfer ban hanging over them, meaning it's just as well they snapped up Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund in January.

Speaking of which, the American has already been replaced at Signal Iduna Park, which has seen plenty of activity in recent weeks, with BVB signing two wingers in Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt, as well as full-back Nico Schulz – all for approximately €75m.

Unsurprisingly, Dortmund have still been outspent by the side that pipped them to last season’s Bundesliga title, Bayern Munich, who have already bolstered their defence with two of France’s World Cup winners, Lucas Hernandez (€80m) and Benjamin Pavard (€30m), though questions remain over the strength of their attack.

The Abu Dhabi-backed Premier League champions Manchester City are expected to splash the cash once again, as they attempt to turn their domestic dominance into long overdue European success.

Pep Guardiola's side won the English treble last season but are looking to sign a replacement for departed captain Vincent Kompany, a right-back (probably Joao Cancelo of Juventus) and an heir to Fernandinho's throne (Atletico Madrid's Rodri). However, like Chelsea, they are also under investigation from the authorities for alleged financial wrongdoing - and could face a Champions League ban in the future.

Juventus should also be busy in the transfer market. Like City, they are obsessed with winning the Champions League and with a new coach in Maurizio Sarri will be desperate to make the world-class signings required to propel Cristiano Ronaldo to another European title.

The Portuguese has already urged De Ligt to move to Turin, while it is also believed that he is trying to persuade former Real team-mates Marcelo and James Rodriguez to join him in Turin. Paul Pogba is also a player they are working on bringing back to Piedmont. However, the team in pole position for the Frenchman is - yes, you've guessed it - Real Madrid!

The team Pogba is desperate to leave, Manchester United, have had another rather unremarkable start to the summer transfer season, bringing in only young Welsh winger Daniel James from Swansea. United will have plenty of money to spend, as usual, but with the club in sporting disarray the chances of bringing in big-name stars seem unlikely.

As ever, the summer transfer market brings with it a cloud of uncertainty.

Madrid, though, have already cut through that by getting a huge amount of their business done early.

Indeed, the rest of Europe has already been warned: Real want their Champions League crown back, and they're already assembling a squad capable of reclaiming it.