No sooner had the World Cup concluded and Cristiano Ronaldo been announced as a new Juventus signing, than a new look Real Madrid were back at it on the training pitch.

Julen Lopetegui‘s first day was mainly spent with the youngsters in his squad, though Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale were also in attendance.

Speculation is rife that one or maybe both could be on their way out of the Santiago Bernabeu, but with no confirmed offers on the table, it would appear unlikely.

After the loss of his talisman and also one of the best coaches the club have ever had, Florentino Perez needs some good news to lift spirits around the club.

Eden Hazard has been openly courting Real and Thibaut Courtois hasn’t been averse to their overtures either, so Perez might yet get his wish.

The winger is now as short as to make the move to Spain before the summer transfer window is out, while Courtois is to return to Madrid.

With Maurizio Sarri now in charge at Chelsea, he won’t take too kindly to an immediate approach for his best player and his goalkeeper, and it’s perhaps with that in mind that a €200 million price tag has been touted for Hazard.

Though the attacking midfielder has made no secret of his desire to pull on the all white kit, he’s Real’s third choice behind Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Paris Saint-Germain, as they did with Barcelona when the Catalans were trying to procure Marco Verratti, don’t appear willing to enter into negotiations for either of their players, leaving the way clear for Hazard to become their new Galactico.

Less individualistic than Neymar, his style and the way that he’ll link play is more suited to what Lopetegui requires, albeit, in Isco, the coach has a player – that he’s very fond of from their time together in the Spanish national team – who has much the same skill set.

One can only see Mbappe entering the conversation if Real dispense with either Bale or Benzema’s services.

From a goalkeeping perspective, Courtois clearly wouldn’t be coming to play second fiddle.

What appears to be a consistent desire by Perez to replace Keylor Navas – something that irked Zidane – will ensure competition for places, but may upset dressing room equilibrium.

Sergio Ramos and others have stood right behind the Costa Rican before now when it appeared his position had been under threat.

The odd mistake aside, Navas has consistently shown he’s up to the task although there’s little doubt Courtois would be an upgrade and, at €35m, a bargain.

Odds are correct at the time of posting

Join the discussion