As the dust settles on what has been yet another exhilarating summer transfer window, Real Madrid look back at the dealings with a feeling of satisfaction.
Despite the loss of former captain and club legend Karim Benzema, Los Blancos opted not to replace him with a marquee forward even though there were strong links with a move for a certain Kylian Mbappe.
Real Madrid have been chasing the 24-year-old French superstar for close to six years now, and as is the case with almost every summer window, the links to Mbappe resurfaced again this year.
What made the possibility of a move concrete was the Frenchman’s announcement of not wanting to renew his contract at PSG beyond 2024 and the subsequent exile from the first team.
Eventually, Mbappe was brought back into the fold at PSG, but the Real Madrid rumours refused to go away until the deadline day was done.
Real Madrid never negotiated with Mbappe
Now, MARCA is reporting that Real Madrid had no intentions of signing Mbappe this summer and that they never held any kind of negotiations with the owners of PSG in Qatar over a move.
The report states that a move to sign Mbappe this summer would have cost Real Madrid in excess of €400 million, with the transfer fee, contracts, and commissions involved.
And the Spanish capital club had no intention of paying such a sum to secure his signing despite the need for a marquee forward to lead the line along with Vinicius Jr.
Real Madrid have always maintained that they do not want to pay PSG any money to sign Mbappe, ever since the Parisians rejected the club’s offer back in 2021. And the idea did not change this summer despite the relentless speculations.
Plans to negotiate in January
Instead, Real Madrid’s plan is to approach Mbappe on January 2, 2024, when he enters the final six months of his contract with PSG, so that they can negotiate a pre-contract agreement with the French superstar.
The idea has always been to sign the 24-year-old for free when his contract expires next year and some people in the club believe that he will not renew with PSG despite recent talks of a potential extension.
But in case Mbappe does renew, Real Madrid will move on from him for good and focus their efforts on signing Erling Haaland from Manchester City.
Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Atletico Madrid
Following Barcelona’s awe-inspiring comeback win against Celta Vigo yesterday, the pressure is on Real Madrid to regain top spot in La Liga as they travel to Civitas Metropolitano to lock horns against Atletico Madrid.
The first Madrid derby of the season will not feature Vinicius Jr, who had to pull out of the travelling squad today due to a stomach bug.
Jude Bellingham has been given the green light, though, and is likely starting as the out and out striker for this game, with Joselu benched. The Englishman is joined by Rodrygo by his side, while Luka Modric plays behind them as the attacking midfielder.
Behind this trio, Toni Kroos has been handed the keys as the pivot, with Aurelien Tchouameni benched. Eduardo Camavinga starts alongside Federico Valverde as the central midfielders.
Lucas Vazquez fills in for the injured Daniel Carvajal at right-back, while Fran Garcia comes back to take over his left-back spot from Nacho. David Alaba and Antonio Rudiger round off the quadrant in central defence, screening Kepa in goal.
Confirmed Madrid XI: Kepa; Vazquez, Rudiger, Alaba, Garcia; Valverde, Kroos, Camavinga; Modric; Rodrygo, Bellingham