Eden Hazard’s transfer to Real Madrid was a number of years in the making. The Belgian had been eyed up by the Spanish club for a long time before Florentino Perez finally sanctioned the £100 million fee to take him to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer. This is often the way of the mega-money deals Real Madrid have a long history of.
Take their pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo, for instance. Originally, Real Madrid wanted to sign the Portuguese forward from Manchester United in the summer of 2008 just after he’d led the Old Trafford club to the Champions League title. Instead, they had to wait until the following summer to get their man.
These transfers are not easy to pull off and take time to put together. This goes some way to explaining why just weeks after the signing of Hazard talk has already turned to who Real Madrid could target as their next long term addition. Many see Neymar as the man destined to one day pull on the famous white shirt.
Indeed, Real Madrid’s interest in the Brazilian has been well documented with speculation heightened following the news that Neymar wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer. But is he really who Real Madrid should be lining up as their number one target for the long term?
Kylian Mbappe has also been linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu and he, over Neymar, should be who Real Madrid prioritise. While there are questions over Neymar’s character and attitude, with his form suffering as a consequence over the past two seasons, Mbappe is widely seen as the face of the future of the sport.
What’s more, Mbappe is a Real Madrid fan, supporting the club since childhood. There have been suggestions that he would be willing to force through a move to the Santiago Bernabeu with the forward reportedly refusing to enter renegotiation talks over a new contract with PSG. This puts Real Madrid in a good position.
Not so long ago, Neymar looked like the future of the sport. At Barcelona, he was the next best player in the world. PSG broke the Brazilian, though. Mbappe, however, has kept his star rising. He is already a World Cup winner and one of the best strikers in the game, but his upward trajectory could still carry him much further.
Real Madrid is a club that prides itself on signing the best players on the planet. They have forged a whole identity from this notion and for many Neymar fits the bill. But does he fit the bill as well as Mbappe? If Real Madrid are drawing up a transfer plan for the long term, they should target the latter over the former.
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