The crazy summer is finally over (mostly the craziness happens on the last day of the transfer window) and thankfully this time around, we didn’t have a repeat of the Van der Vaart to Spurs for a cheaper value. The club and the manager knew who were to be offloaded and the players were brought in early on. So who came and who went?
- Nuri Sahin (from Borussia Dortmund for €10m) – The first to arrive in the summer was Germany born Turkish midfielder – Nuri Sahin from Borussia Dortmund. Having had a fantastic last season with the eventual Bundesliga Champions he signed for us and claimed the reason he joined was due to the opportunity to work with Mourinho and also be part of Real Madrid. With his four goals, eight assists and playing a valuable part for Dortmund he was adjudged as best player of the Bundesliga season for 2011. However, he came in with an injury and to make matters worse it has not healed. Add to that, last week he picked up another injury which would keep him out for 15 odd days. Hoping he covers quickly and not be another Gago for us.
- Hamit Altintop (from Bayern Munich for free) – Having played out his contract, Altintop joined us for free. His ability to play on the wings could help the team in formulating a Plan B. However, just like Sahin, he is also injury plagued since his arrival. He underwent surgery just after successfully passing the medical (which at this juncture seems a farce to me!) and will be out for some months.
- Jose Callejon (from Espanyol for €5m) – Callejon, a La Fabrica product, returns to the club after spending 3 seasons with Espanyol. The best part about him is that since he’s a Canterano, he knows how much winning a game for Real Madrid means. For this purpose, he gives it his best. He played fantastically on the US pre-season tour. My only concern about him is his hotheadedness which in the top division can have disastrous consequences.
- Raphael Varane (from Lens for €10m) – Raphael at 18 is a fantastic signing in my opinion. He was first seen by Zizou with Lens and his tall frame of 6 foot 3 inches is a huge advantage for him especially in the role of a central defender. He may be young but in the pre-season games he showed he can give our starters a run for their money!
- Fabio Coentrao (from Benfica for €30m) – The biggest signing of the summer. At first he seemed like a player we didn’t need but with overtime he has shown that with his versatility to play anywhere on the pitch, he brings about another dimension to the lineup. At Benfica, Coentrao played left back, a position Marcelo has been doing exceptionally well in, thereby making it a strange situation to pick between the two. However, so far this season, Coentrao has mostly played in other positions but LB. In the recent La Liga game versus Real Zaragoza, he played in the centre along with Alonso with Sahin and Khedira absent.
Who is your favourite and preferred signing over the summer?
- Jerzy Dudek (End of Contract) – Even though Dudek spent four years at Santiago Bernabeu, he managed only a handful of games. Despite that, he stayed loyal to the club for which he earned praises from fans, staff and even the journalists. He was easily the teams 12th man as he cheered on the team and helped his team mates whenever needed. A big thank you to Dudek!
- Emmanuel Adebayor (End of loan period) – Having come from Manchester City on a half a season loan period, Adebayor failed to make a mark in the eyes of most Madridistas. His goals in the tie against Spurs in the UEFA Champions League were his best performance in the white shirt. The Togolese international tried to persuade the authorities in Madrid to sign him on a permanent basis but the transfer fee wasn’t agreed to between Real Madrid and Manchester City.
- David Mateos (loan return from AEK Athens, loaned out again to Real Zaragoza) – Having spent a year on loan to Greek side AEK Athens, Mateos returned to Madrid hoping to be part of the team but he was further loaned out to fellow La Liga outfit – Real Zaragoza. At Zaragoza he will get the opportuniy to play firs team football rather than staying in Madrid where there would be little to no opportunity for him.
- Ezequiel Garay (sold to Benfica for undisclosed fee) – After signing the player from Racing Santander, Real set him off on loan back to them. Thereafter he was part of the first team squad but in the two seasons he made only 31 appearances. Last season he remained a fourth choice for Mourinho. In Madrid, there was very little chance of him making the cut as he wasn’t the quality Real Madrid wanted in their defenders.
- Sergio Canales (two year loan to Valencia for €2m) – Having moved from Racing Santander, Canales seemed to be a huge prospect but Mourinho barely used him as he was used for substitute appearances at best. Now, the creative midfielder moves to Valencia on a two year loan spell worth a total of €2m. At the end of the period, Valencia have the option to buy for €12m.
- Pedro Leon (loan to Getafe) – The Murcia born Pedro Leon moved to Real Madrid from Getafe in the summer of 2010 for €10m. The hard working right winger wasn’t able to make the cut in Mourinho’s plans as the Portuguese wanted him out of the squad. After a drama filled summer with Leon showing no desire to leave, he finally relented on the last day of transfer window to move back to Getafe on loan.
- Fernando Gago (loan to AS Roma) – Gago joins Luis Enrique’s newly constructed AS Roma as a defensive midfielder on a one year loan deal. Having spent numerous months on the sidelines for us, he seemed more than the requirement in his position with Alonso, Khedira, Lass and now Sahin being the first choices.
- Royston Drenthe (loan to Everton) – Drenthe spent a season on loan to Hercules last year but the club were relegated at the end of the campaign and the Valencia based team opted not to sign him on a permanent basis or extend the loan deal. Eventually on the deadline day with barely hours left for the window to shut, he flew to Liverpool to sign with Everton on a loan basis.
Do you feel someone from the players sold should have stayed? Or, any inputs on our transfer business in the summer?
Squad (23 members):
Keepers – Casillas, Adan
Defenders – Carvalho, Pepe, Ramos, Arbeloa, Albiol, Varane, Coentrao, Marcelo
Midfielders – Lass, Alonso, Khedira, Sahin, Altintop, Kaka, Ozil, Di Maria, Granero, Callejon
Forwards – Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuain