Following an unprecedented third consecutive Champions League success, Real Madrid’s summer recruitment drive is already in full flow alongside the continued celebrations after their victory over Liverpool in Kiev.
Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo have taken the unusual step of plunging their respective futures at the Bernabeu into doubt in amongst the jubilation. Bale’s lack of regular starting opportunities under Zinedine Zidane last season has apparently lead the Welshman to consider his options.
According to Marca, the Madrid hierarchy have already set about identifying primary attacking targets which could boost Los Blancos’ front line next season, especially if either Ronaldo or Bale were to depart the Spanish capital this summer.
Whilst the uncertainty over Ronaldo could be of lesser substance, the potential exit of Bale seems to be a much more pressing matter on the agenda.
The winger’s match-winning heroics in Kiev are likely to have accumulated ever more interest in the former Tottenham star.
Bale only emerged from the bench to play the final half an hour of the final, and that would have very much epitomised his frustrations at a lack of regular selection.
It is said that, should Madrid look to reinvigorate their attack with a new striking star next term, Florentino Perez and co have narrowed down their shortlist of targets to three names in: Mohamed Salah, Eden Hazard and Juventus’ Paulo Dybala.
Any of those three would cost the European champions comfortably upwards of the £100m mark, meaning that the departure of Bale could be a necessary sacrifice in order to fund a move for a new attacking Galactico.
The Welshman would be likely to at least recoup the £86m which Madrid splashed as a then-record transfer fee to sign Bale from Tottenham five years ago, though the acrobatic wonder strike in amongst the Welsh forward’s match-winning contributions in Kiev may well have added further weight to the Madrid number 11’s price tag.
Snatching Salah away from Liverpool may prove to be the most difficult move of all in amongst the reported three priority targets for Los Blancos.
The Egyptian wing wizard only arrived at Anfield last summer from Roma and his barnstorming campaign, which saw him finish as the Premier League’s Golden Boot winner and PFA Player of the Year, has made him a vital and possibly indispensable figure in Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Hazard, meanwhile, has endured one of his less spectacular campaigns at Chelsea to date. Though the Belgian attacker did hit the winner as his side beat Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup final, the Blues staggered to a disappointing fifth place finish in the Premier League. The prospect of missing out on Champions League football at Stamford Bridge next term could well see Hazard enticed to the Bernabeu, should Madrid make their move.