Writing for The Athletic, journalist Laurie Whitewell has revealed that Casemiro’s departure from Santiago Bernabeu wasn’t really a surprise as the Brazilian had asked to leave soon after winning the UEFA Champions League in Paris last season.
Following the humiliating 0-4 defeat to Brentford, which left United reeling at the bottom of the table, a Manchester United delegation was sent to Madrid to negotiate a deal for the Brazilian.
United’s decision to move their attention to Casemiro came after the deal for Adrien Rabiot collapsed. It is even claimed that the Premier League side had settled on a fee, but the player’s wage demand took the deal south.
This was when Casemiro became a reality for Manchester United. Three days after the Brentford defeat, the Manchester United representatives flew to Madrid to set up a meeting with Casemiro.
Interestingly enough, talks concluded within 24 hours and unlike what’s been said in Spain, Manchester United did not actually double his salary. In fact, the Brazil international only received a slight raise.
Furthermore, his contract with United includes a potential cut down as well, but that will only be activated if the record Premier League champions fail to qualify for next year’s UEFA Champions League.
What worked in United’s favour during the talk was Casemiro’s appeal to take a new challenge. The 30-year-old had first asked Madrid president Florentino Perez to let him leave after the UCL triumph and repeated his wish upon returning from holiday.
Madrid were initially reluctant, but as the player continued to push, the defending La Liga champions agreed and the player’s agent informed United to carry on with the formalities.
Whitewell also writes that all this was done while United continue to pursue a certain Frenkie de Jong. Any deal for the Dutchman, however, was costing United over €150 million which included transfer fee and wages over four years combined.
But as soon as Casemiro was acquired, the interest in de Jong cooled and everyone involved carried on.
Key Real Madrid defender still not 100% fit ahead of Club World Cup semi-final – report
Carlo Ancelotti heads into the FIFA Club World Cup in a pressure cooker situation. The pressure on the manager’s shoulders is immense, for his job could be on the line after Real Madrid’s poor run of form.
The injury situation does not favour the Italian tactician either. Lucas Vazquez, Ferland Mendy, Karim Benzema, Eder Militao and even Thibaut Courtois are out of the semi-final against Al Ahly, leaving him very few options to play with.
According to reports from Jorge C Picon, David Alaba too is not completely fit yet. The Austrian International was given the medical all-clear and entered the squad for Real Madrid’s game against Mallorca, yet started on the bench as he was not at 100%, and that remains the case ahead of tonight’s clash.
The report, however, adds that his mere inclusion in the squad comes as a breather for Ancelotti. Alaba is highly valued by the technical staff, not only for his reading of the game on the field but also for his leadership.
The defender has already missed seven games for Los Blancos since sustaining a muscular injury against Villarreal at La Ceramica. He did indeed come off the bench for under half an hour against Mallorca, but will likely not be risked to start on Thursday.
In his absence, Nacho Fernandez and Antonio Rudiger are expected to take centre stage in defence in Morocco. Eduardo Camavinga, meanwhile, could start as left-back again.
Alaba has played 17 games for Los Blancos this season and was one of the players with the most minutes until his injury. In his league campaign so far, he has scored one goal and provided three assists while also averaging a key pass every ninety minutes.
It remains to be seen if the Austrian recovers completely in time for the Club World Cup final should the European Champions make it. As it stands, using a cautious approach is in Real Madrid’s best interest.