Will Real Madrid’s January cull benefit the Premiership?

Van Nistelrooy is one of a number of top players available

Van Nistelrooy is one of a number of top players available

Real Madrid have always had a plethora of talented players within their ranks but surely they’ve never had so many top class players on their books as now as their summer spending spree added to a big squad which they did not sell as many players as planned from. Now the club have players who are not required for all sorts of positions or roles and interest is bound to be high in January – including from Premiership teams who should make the most of this opportunity to pick up quality players at lower prices than the usual going rates. The question is though whether the clubs will move fast enough to grab the Real players before being beaten to them by continental opposition – this was the case in the summer with top Real talents like Klass Jan Huntelaar and Wesley Sneijder moving to Italy (or other destinations) despite Premiership interest. The Premiership must act quicker next time around to get hold of these players.

The most in-demand of Real’s fringe players is Dutch maestro Rafael Van der Vaart who is being increasingly linked with a move to Liverpool. The quality of the attacking midfielder is not in doubt but he’s lost his place in the first team to Kaka and Madrid want shot of him. Many clubs will be interested and Liverpool, or their Premiership rivals, should try to snap him up quickly. Then there’s his fellow Dutchman Royston Drenthe who is still young and excelled at Under 21 level for his country prior to his move to Real – with Marcelo preferred at left back Drenthe would make a good signing for any team chasing a left back, or a left winger as he can also operate there.

Also available is Mali’s defensive midfielder Mahamadou Diarra who still has a lot to offer and would provide valuable cover to the defence of any top club. And speaking of defensive midfielders, Madrid may even be tempted to part with Fernando Gago as the Argentinean international as no longer a first choice at the Bernabeu and he’d do well for any club that took a chance on him. Further back the field, defender Ezequiel Garay is barely played but will probably fancy staying at Real to try to earn a first team role which will probably never arrive. Then there’s the situation with Guti – the Real vice-captain has fallen out with manager Manuel Pellegrini numerous times this season and could be forced out – although it’s more likely that Pellegrini will get an unfair dismissal before the former Spain international could leave the club.

Perhaps the most appealing player available to a Premiership club though is Ruud van Nistelrooy; the former Manchester United striker has recovered from some bad injuries and has looked sharp when played for Real, including showing that he still has his scoring ability intact. Completely out of favour, van Nistelrooy is used to the English game and still has a few years to offer – he would definitely make a good signing for any team who would move for him although interest from top teams has not been forthcoming with links even suggesting the player could end up at Blackburn!

These players would fit into almost any Premiership side with ease or would make good squad members for any team should their position not be needed within the team. The prices won’t necessarily be cheap but they will not be as much as they would be if they were on top of their game and Real didn’t wish to sell. The main problem though is the seeming reluctance of Premiership clubs to bag the Real players – they were slow to back in the summer and there has been little indication of movement so far. The Premiership teams cannot allow all these players to slip through their fingers and end up in France or Italy once more; not when the importance of strong squads is looking more and more crucial for those teams with something to fight for. I can’t help but feel that the Premiership won’t take full advantage of this fine opportunity to sign Real’s squad members and they’ll end up elsewhere though I would definitely recommend these signings to the Premiership clubs who need new players and would suggest they get a move on as players like these aren’t going to sit on the bench forever.