Talk of transfer deals involving Real Madrid refuses to go away. Sami Khedira, Raphael Varane and now Luka Modric have all been mentioned as players Jose Mourinho would like to bring to Chelsea from his former club. Meanwhile, Carlo Ancelotti remains fixated – for reasons seemingly known only to himself – on bringing Ramires to the Bernabeu whatever the price, if you believe the reports that’s .
We’ve commented before on how both Khedira and Varane would make fine acquisitions for the Blues. As for Modric, he is a player Chelsea have long coveted. We tried to prise him from Spurs in a protracted transfer saga three years ago, which culminated in Modric refusing to play and threatening to go on strike unless he was allowed to leave for Stamford Bridge, and Chelsea having a £40 million offer refused. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said Modric wouldn’t be sold for any price, and then accepted a £33 million bid from Real Madrid the next summer. A classic case of hurting yourself to spite your neighbours.
It was, of course, Mourinho who was the beneficiary of that deal, but he seemed less convinced of Modric’s ability than the Chelsea board. He spent most of his first few months at Real on the bench or playing out of position, and it wasn’t until late in the season that he was really given the chance to shine as a deep-lying play-m aking midfielder. The departure of both Mourinho, and his rival for the play-making position Mesut Ozil, saw him cement his position at the heart of the Real Madrid team. His form since then has seen him honoured by inclusion in UEFA’s Champions League Team of the Season for 2013/14.
Whether there is any truth in the stories of Real Madrid players coming here, or Ramires going to Spain, is open to doubt. The only comment on record is from Mourinho who stated in an interview with the Spanish sports newspaper Marca that Ramires was not for sale and wouldn’t be leaving Stamford Bridge.
However, Real do seem to value Ramires highly and the sheer persistence of the rumour implies that there has at least been some contact between Madrid, Chelsea and the player or his agent. Trustworthy sources suggest that Real made an opening inquiry about Ramires’ availability, and that Chelsea replied by asking about Modric. Whether any sort of swap deal was mooted could not be confirmed.
Chelsea’s response may have been a way of warding off Madrid’s interest. It is doubtful that the Spanish club would be willing to allow Modric to leave so soon after letting Ozil go. And it is unclear why Chelsea would want to buy another playmaker having already recruited CescFabregas.
Mourinho’s assertion that Ramires will stay may not be credible, however, if Real really are prepared to offer Khedira or, more importantly, Varane in exchange. Khedira would offer competition to Matic and Varane would not just fill a hole in the squad following the departure of David Luiz, but would also be a ready-made replacement for John Terry in a year or two’s time.
The intelligent guess is that there will be no deal between the two clubs this summer, unless one makes an offer the other an offer that can’t be refused. It does however feel as if they are feeling each other out and testing their resolve – so even if nothing happens this summer, it would be unwise to rule out a deal in January or next year.