Real Madrid mercato – the Jovic fiasco or when Real move away from their DNA and pay dearly

Luka Jovic, Militao, Rodrygo, Vinicius. Common points: they all arrived at Real Madrid very young (22 years old at the most), they all cost a lot (203 million euros between them) and all have trouble, to different degrees all the same, to assert itself in the Spanish capital. These four men symbolize, with others (Reinier in particular, on loan to Dortmund), the change of course in Merengue recruitment policy since 2018.

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Fewer stars at exorbitant prices, more young people with great potential. Cooled by the files James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale, whose returns on investment were disappointing, forced by a transfer market gone crazy in 2017, Real has turned away from its DNA. Except that the transplant does not take. Luka Jovic, after a year and a half to lug around his weaknesses (two goals in La Liga), left on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt. He embodies the failures of Real better than anyone. Zidane tried to make him a competitor first and then a possible recourse to Karim Benzema.

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Rodrygo and Vinicius, lightning, inconstancy and weariness

Except that the Serbian does not (yet?) Have the shoulders to take on such a load in the biggest club in the world. Before arriving in Madrid, his greatest feat was limited to scoring 10 goals in a Europa League campaign with Frankfurt. Madrid made a bet. As with Militao, the most expensive defender in its history (50 million euros). The Brazilian has started three games this season (for two losses) and Real are studying the possibility of loaning him to Tottenham this winter.

The Vinicius and Rodrygo cases seem less hopeless but also question. While Eden Hazard’s injuries gave them room to shine, they didn’t quite grab the pole. Zidane begins to lose patience with the first to whom he blames his irregularity and his attitude off the field. Sometimes brilliant, often uneven, Rodrygo, injured, also shines by his inconstancy. The two Brazilians, who cost 90 million euros, are slow to convince and if their young age (20 years) requires patience, it is not the most common quality among the regulars of Santiago Barnabeu.

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Zidane loyal to his old soldiers

This is why, in its history, when Real bet big, they aimed at players with established reputations. From Luis Figo to Cristiano Ronaldo, from Kaka to Gareth Bale. Even if it has never been forbidden to succeed at Real by arriving with the label of great hope like Karim Benzema and Raphaël Varane.

But the mass arrival of these young shoots (Takefusa Kubo, Martin Odegaard, Alvaro Odriozola, Theo Hernandez in recent years) makes their integration difficult and their colossal cost increases the requirement. And there is above all a real border between a direction that pushes to enhance them and increase their price and a Zinedine Zidane who does not consider them ready and maintains his total confidence in his old soldiers.

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Eder Militao, Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior from Real Madrid

Credit: Getty Images

Here is the Real today trapped in a strategy which struggles to bear fruit. The Spanish champion is flanked by a group of young players who are losing value for lack of playing time. Madrid are now wondering if the investments made will be enough to renew the workforce that brought him to the roof of Europe (Benzema, Ramos, Modric, Kroos, Marcelo etc.). The failure of Operation Hazard complicated the matter. This is why Real have been very wise this summer and will follow the same course of action this winter.

A ball in the Mbappé – Haaland files

The strategy now seems to have changed. The targets are called Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappé, two young people certainly, but who have already established themselves as references to their positions. To seduce them, it will be necessary to make room. Jovic’s loan and the potential one from Milito are aimed at reducing the payroll and exposing them to better sell them in the near future.

But Real could well drag like a ball its change of course initiated in recent years. And it could be fatal to him in the Haaland and Mbappé cases. If he wants to return to his DNA, Real will have to clear up his mistakes. Good luck.

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