I must admit, I'm not a massive fan of the summer; I guess nobody is. Just get on with the football already, the real stuff, not the pre-season preparations or the exhibition matches that many clubs, especially Madrid, find themselves playing over the summer. Pure team preparation, or money in the bank and a marketing job well done? I'm sure Jose doesn't have the final say in his side's pre-season whereabouts, but at least the sun will probably be shining.
I used to enjoy the transfer speculation. Who's coming in? A Galactico? Who's going out? What's happening at Barca? Who are the big movers and shakers in La Liga? Since the mass use of social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook, the speculation has spun wildly out of control and I take every rumour with a pinch of salt - you have to.
But with the fixtures for the new season now out and Madrid returning to training, we can at least start to look forward to the new campaign - Madrid's defence of La Liga and their quest for that next, relatively long-awaited Champions League triumph.
We can also talk about transfers, and how they'll impact the team, with a degree of certainty. Luka Modric in from Tottenham? Maicon from Inter? Lass, Kaka, Carvalho, Gago all out? What about Jese Rodriguez, Madrid's young Castilla player who shone for Spain U19s as they claimed their respective European Championship. And Alvaro Morata? The young Madridista keen to make his mark on the first team after a couple of years impressing with Castilla. The changes aren't going to be huge, but they're going to be crucial.
Let's start with Modric. As close to a certainty as we're probably going to get this summer. Spurs are listening to offers, albeit it requiring the right one, and Madrid look set to complete the capture. A couple of million pounds short in add-ons is the latest 'stumbling block', but that should be smoothed out in the coming days and Modric is set to become a Blanco. Spurs are set for a trip abroad for pre-season, starting this weekend. If he's not on that plane you can bet he'll be on a plane for the Spanish capital.
So what of the Croatian? A key cog in Tottenham's recent campaigns, Carlo Ancelotti admitted he wanted him at big-spending PSG, Manchester United and Chelsea both wanted him last season - quite a list of suitors for the midfield maestro. He won't look out of place at the Bernabeu. But where will he fit in? With the talent available in Madrid's midfield and attack it'll be a tight squeeze - but at upwards of £30 million you'd think Mou will be signing him to play a regular, key role.
Mourinho has already praised Mesut Ozil as the best number ten in the world, and rightly so. CR7 isn't worth a mention of being dropped to fit Modric in, while Xabi Alonso is another definite name on the starting list week-in, week-out. The positions most likely would be out wide, complementing Ozil and Ronaldo in the three just behind a lone attacker - this presuming Mou will opt for the same line-up but just tinker with the personnel - and in the holding role alongside Alonso.
The most likely is alongside Ronaldo and Ozil. While Modric could play deep, linking the play between Alonso and the forwards, Mou will undoubtedly go for the solid, and superb Sami Khedira alongside Alonso, a tried, tested and extremely successful double act in the middle of the park. Angel di Maria, as superb as he was in the first half of last season (he was up there as one of my players of the year until that point), drifted away in the second half of the campaign, not helped by injuries, granted. Modric and Ozil could comfortably inter-link, playing down the middle and out wide, while di Maria was stuck to the wing.
It's well known that Ozil rarely finishes games. Playing Modric in his role, rotating them both as successfully as Mou has with Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain last season, could well be a master-stroke. Keeping them both fit for what's undoubtedly going to be a long, hard season with Madrid going for every trophy they can possibly win.
This is also, of course, going on the fact that Kaka will be leaving the club. The Brazilian has a big fan club, and it's easy to see why on his career so far, but he's failed to live up to the standards set at Milan and before while at the Bernabeu. As nice as it would be for him to stay, the depth of the squad should Modric come in, and the wage bill, could make his stay problematic. But who would take him? PSG are throwing money about - maybe them. Manchester City? Probably not now. A return to Milan? With their cost-cutting, I'm not so sure; although recent high-profile departures could allow them the funds to do so.
Of course, the Modric deal could also include a player moving the other way, Nuri Sahin being the main name mentioned so far, while Lass has also been thrown in with his future in doubt. It'd be a shame to see Sahin go without being given a chance. The injuries, of course, didn't help and they hampered his fitness for the rest of the campaign. Hamit Altintop has left, freeing up a bit of space in the midfield and heightening Sahin's chances of more game time, but just how much game time will he get? I'd like to see him stay and really battle for a place this season.
Maicon is the other name being thrown around with a bit of certainly that he'll be reunited with Mourinho at Madrid next season. He's made no secret of his desire to bolster his defence, and bolster his defence with big, strong players. Maicon fits the bills, he has plenty of experience and he's worked with Mou in Milan, winning the Champions League with him. His arrival at the Bernabeu would certainly be welcomed by me. I've been keen to see two new full-backs come in this summer and the Brazilian would certainly strengthen Madrid's back-line. The only problem is Chelsea also hot on the chase for the full-back.
Ricardo Carvalho and Fernando Gago are both expected to leave - both didn't feature in the evening session in Madrid's first pre-season training session. Their time has been and gone. For Carvalho, his injury, as harsh as this sounds, may have been one of the best things to happen for Madrid as a team. Bringing Sergio Ramos into the centre alongside Pepe worked a treat. With Raphael Varane also waiting in the wings for his chance, the time has come for Carvalho to move on to pastures new.
The rumours are probably going to heighten now, but maybe, just maybe we'll have some confirmed transfers to talk about in the coming days and weeks. The players who featured in Euro 2012 will return to training next week before the club jets off to the USA - Marcelo will be the only one absent as he plays for Brazil in the Olympics.
Two of Madrid's youngsters, Jese Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata, are also surely going to get some newspaper inches as the season edges nearer, no doubt being touted as potential first team players next season. They'll both be players I'll be looking at more over the close season as the blog updates get thicker and faster.
On a slightly side note, I enjoyed a week in Bilbao and San Sebastian last week - enjoying visiting both Anoeta (Real Sociedad) and San Mames (Athletic) stadiums. Both interesting in their own way. I had my picture taken with the Pichichi bust in the main stand at San Mames. Of course, I knew the Basques weren't very fond of anything Madrid, so decided against wearing the new Blancos shirt. I did bring up Athletic's rivals, and knew what to expect as a response from the tour guide. "We hate Real Madrid" was his response. Fine, expected, I guess. But the response was milliseconds.
Bring on the new season!
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