Have Real Madrid lost their transfer market mojo?
Have the nine-times European champions Real Madrid lost their pulling power, or did they just play the market badly this time?
Now they start the new Primera Liga season low on resources, at least in attack. Midfielder Rafael van der Vaart is their one major signing and if he stays fit for any length of time he could be a very useful one. But will it be enough win the trophy all Real fans want and expect — their tenth European Cup?
Raul, 31, and Ruud van Nistelrooy, 32, are getting long in the tooth and as back-up they only have Gonzalo Higuain, who shows potential but not a killer instinct, and Javier Saviola, who hardly played at all last year.
They have one proven winger Arjen Robben, who is injury prone, while Royston Drenthe has yet to set the flanks alight.
Bernd Schuster, who doesn’t look very happy at the best of times, said grumpily after Sunday’s opening day defeat to Deportivo Coruna, “l looked to the left of me on the bench and didn’t see any strikers.”
The player who could have made a difference coming off the bench was Robinho, and he had been left out of the squad in a sign of things to come.
PHOTO: Real coach Bernd Schuster with new signing Rafael van der Vaart during their friendly away to Eintracht Frankfurt, August 12, 2008. REUTERS/Alex Grimm