The seemingly endless Gareth Bale saga is finally over and Real Madrid have landed their man, but with the last-minute departures of the likes of Mesut Ozil and Kaka, are Carlo Ancelotti’s side really any stronger?
Ozil’s transfer from Real to Arsenal on transfer deadline day was described as a strange and risky move by one Betfair blogger, with several Madrid players, including Germany international team-mate, Sami Khedira, voicing their shock at the manner of the 24-year-old’s departure.
In many ways, Ozil’s exit feels not unlike the situation in 2009 at the Bernabeu when Real opted to dispense with their Dutch experiment, allowing Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to leave, while compatriot, Rafael Van der Vaart, followed in their footsteps 12 months later.
Ozil’s German teammate, Khedira, was linked by Betfair writers with a switch to Chelsea but remains at Real, while another German, Mario Gomez, has revealed that he chose to join Fiorentina this summer rather than move to the Spanish capital.
Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and Xabi Alonso were all bought by Real four years ago and have had differing fortunes at the club, with Brazilian international, Kaka, enduring by far the poorest time.
He never seemed to adapt to life with Los Merengues and has taken a massive pay cut to end his Spanish nightmare and return to AC Milan.
However, while Kaka’s departure has brought a shrug of the shoulders from many Real fans, the departure of Ozil has raised a few eyebrows.
He has been described by some La Liga pundits as Real’s second best player last season behind Ronaldo and has played a key role in the club’s success over the last three years following his transfer from Werder Bremen.
It remains to be seen whether he enjoys similar post-Real success as that enjoyed by Sneijder at Inter Milan and Robben at this year’s favourites for the Champions League with Betfair, Bayern Munich.