Real Madrid have been uncharacteristically quiet in the last couple of transfer windows.
It’s not a case of not signing players, however – a number have been acquired – but it’s the kind of players they’ve been after. Florentino Perez has somewhat changed his transfer policy and instead of chasing Galacticos – proven, high-profile and most importantly, costly targets – he’s been building for the future.
The likes of Rodrygo Goes, Vinicius Junior, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy are all testaments of that. They were all signed for noteworthy fees but none of these newly transferred players could be categorised as a true Galactico – players arriving with strong, lengthy track records at the top of the game – and their ages range from a mere 18 to just 24.
The one exception is Eden Hazard who arrived from Chelsea for a reported fee that could exceed £150m, That figure warrants the Belgian his Galactico status, especially when coupled with him previously helping fire Chelsea to two Premier League titles, two Europa League titles, an FA Cup and a League Cup.
But now, according to Le 10 Sport, Real Madrid are after another big-name signing that would definitely fall into the Galatico category – Sadio Mane. The same report states that Zidane has already made contact with the pacy winger’s representatives, hoping to snatch him away from Liverpool. And what a scoop that would be.
The 27-year-old forward has been one of Jurgen Klopp’s golden gooses practically ever since he arrived at the club but that has only been emphasised even more in 2019/20. Mane has already netted 15 goals and provided 11 assists in the ongoing campaign and also finished fourth in the most recent Ballon d’Or rankings.
He’s electric, clinical, combines well with his teammates and at 27 years of age, he’s now in his prime footballing years. His goal contribution of 26 in the current campaign is proof enough of that.
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But can Real Madrid really get this transfer over the line and land one of the most important players Liverpool have in their midsts?
Needless to say, this will be a true test of their Galactico status – do they still have the pulling power to get any star on the planet their heart desires? Does Perez himself still have that magic touch to lure anyone into his web?
After all, Liverpool are arguably the best team in the world right now – they’re top of the Premier League by a 13-point margin, they’re the reigning champions of Europe and they’re the world champions too.
Real, for all their past glory and pedigree, are no longer on the top of the mountain. They were dumped out of the Champions League’s Round of 16 last season and have only won 10 of their 18 games in La Liga so far. In general, the era of Spanish football dominating the global stage appears to be over; the national team, Real, Barca and Atletico have all regressed in recent years, after a period which brought World Cups, Champions League titles and Europa League titles in abundance.
And that is why Mane, who Transfermarkt value at £135m, represents such a test for Real Madrid. If they’re to return to the top, they need players of the Liverpool star’s quality. But do they have enough allure to draw him away from a club currently enjoying far superior fortunes? Are they still the Galaticos? Are they still the greatest club in the world?
On the pitch, certainly not. What happens next in the Mane saga will be an indicator of whether that has filtered into what they can achieve in the transfer market too.
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