As the world reaches the final chapter in the summer-long soap opera that has been Paul Pogba’s world record move to Manchester United, it will have been easy to overlook how quiet Real Madrid have been in the market under Zinedine Zidane.
Los Blancos are no strangers to breaking the world record for a transfer, and as and when Pogba’s deal goes through, it will be the first time since 2000 that a global record fee has been forked out by a team other than Madrid.
Luis Figo, Zidane himself, Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale have all headed to the Bernabeu for record fees.
But with Real’s only signing this summer being Alvaro Morata – and that was a buy-back clause with the intention of selling the Spaniard on for profit – it seems Zizou is going to place his faith in youth.
And as usual, the reigning Champions League holders aren’t lacking in genuine top class talent.
Raphael Varane and Isco are just two young stars to emerge into the Real first team in recent years, and the capital club have three more ready to become established figures.
First up is Marco Asensio, a 20-year-old attacking midfielder who has already been capped by Spain.
Signed by Real in 2014 from Mallorca, Asensio – comfortable through the middle or on the wing – spent last season on loan at Espanyol.
Already valued at over £10m by transfermarkt.co.uk, the Palma de Mallorca native showed maturity beyond his years for the Barcelona-based club last term, setting up an impressive 13 assists in addition to four goals.
It’s now seemingly a matter of time before Zidane hands one of Spain’s hottest talents his competitive Real debut.
Then there’s Mateo Kovacic, a central midfielder who Madrid shelled out £26m for 12 months ago from Inter Milan.
It was a steady first season in Spain for the Croatian, with 17 of his 25 appearances coming off the bench. Real lost only one of those 25 games however, and Kovacic will be much better prepared in his second year in Spain.
And finally Real and Zidane can call upon Mariano Diaz, a 23-year-old who could be handed his chance in the first team following a stunning 25 goal in 28 games for the B squad last season.
Reports suggest the Dominican Republic international may head out on loan, but either way, he’s one to keep an eye on in Spain.
Zidane may well feature all three of them at some stage in Tuesday night’s Super Cup clash with La Liga foes Sevilla.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.