Not for the first time, Real Madrid are rumoured to be lining up an audacious swoop for some of the Premiership’s top players. Jose Mourinho is said to be lining up summer moves for Manchester United pair Nemanja Vidic and Javier Hernandez, and Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard.
Of course, Alex Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish will be all too aware of the consequences for their respective sides should Madrid be successful in their pursuit, although it has to be said that this is not the first time these three players have been linked with a move to the Spanish capital.
Gerrard and Vidic were courted by Real last summer, and Hernandez’s impressive start to his United career has also caught the eye of Madrid chairman, Florentino Perez. Unfortunately for the English clubs, when los Bandidos from Madrid set their sights on a player, they almost always get their man.
However, if Madrid’s scouts were watching the FA Cup tie yesterday, they must have been disappointed: Vidic didn’t play, Hernandez was a peripheral figure, and Gerrard got himself sent off! Nevertheless, Real are willing to offer £20m for each player, and will no doubt be their usual arrogant selves in assuming Liverpool and United will find their advances impossible to turn down.
Should they be confident?
Well, as far as Hernandez goes, probably not. This is only his first season in the top flight, and although talented he is still far from the finished article. Moreover, he seems genuinely delighted to be playing in the Premiership, rather than seeing it as a mere stepping stone to a future in La Liga.
Yet can we be so certain about Vidic and Gerrard? The two club captains should be the last players likely to leave, but it’s no secret that Vidic’s wife has wanted him to move to Spain for years now, and although he recently signed a new contract at Old Trafford, he could still be tempted by the promise of a new challenge and a bit of peace from Mrs Vidic.
United wouldn’t give him up easily, but a cash plus Pepe swap deal might just make them think.
As for Gerrard, we know that Mourinho is a huge admirer, having tried to sign him last summer for Madrid and in 2004 for Chelsea. Jose is keen to bolster his midfield owing to Fernando Gago’s continued problems with injuries, and the inconsistency of the two Diarras, Mahamadou and Lassana.
Of course, Gerrard is committed to his club, but times are changing at Anfield. Former talisman Fernando Torres is almost certainly on his way out, and the club will undergo an extensive rebuilding process which could mean years without challenging for a trophy.
A move to Real Madrid, the chance to link up with former midfield foil Xabi Alonso, to be managed by the only man who ever made him think seriously about leaving Liverpool… all this is not to be taken lightly, and Gerrard may have a tough decision to make come June: to be part of shaping his club’s future, or to be part of another generation of Galacticos?
That could be two targets out of three for Real… and they’ll be prepared to wait for Hernandez, too.
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