They say you should never go back, but Real Madrid has a long history of returning heroes doing a fine job. In fact, the coach who just left, Zinedine Zidane, is ideal proof of this. The arrival of Ancelotti back at the Santiago Bernabeu is an exciting one, with the Italian known for his excellent work the first time around. However, while previous he enjoyed working with legendary veterans such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, and Luka Modric, today only the latter remains.
This could see Ancelotti tap into his massive contact book to make some moves. The first reported move is to bring in Jules Kounde from Sevilla. The French defender has been linked with a move to Madrid after becoming an imperious presence at Sevilla. A fee of around €80m would be needed, but it is believed that Madrid are keen to back Ancelotti. With Ramos set to leave anyway, it would open up a key space within the defence that needs to be filled ASAP.
The arrival of Kounde would offer a new face and a fresh partner for Raphael Varane, though he too might be sacrificed this summer. The other name being heavily linked with Ancelotti has come from the club he just left in Everton. His star forward at Goodison Park, Richarlison, is believed to be desperate to get out from the club.
An exit might seem an overreaction, but it was the arrival of Ancelotti that convinced Richarlison to stick around in the first place. Could he decide that he might be better off getting away from Everton? It appears so. The Brazilian striker is keen to make that next career move, having spent time at Watford and Everton until now – the next step is something desired.
Will Ancelotti get to rebuild Real Madrid on a budget?
For Madrid, the biggest challenge stems from managing their budget accordingly. Budgetary challenges are an essential talking point for any club, and Madrid have not been shy in letting the world know they have financial problems. As such, there is going to be a lot of needed discussion around what happens next, and how they can make the key signings and refreshments needed with such a financial problem.
As such, expect Madrid to get creative as they look to move on squad bloat and remove some of the veterans who played such a key role in the past. Though fans might be sad to see legends moving on from the club, the Ancelotti second act comes with a clear directive: rebuild the team, and put Madrid back on the pathway to winning titles again.
While it certainly will not be easy, it is something that has to happen. The Madrid rebuild has been brewing since the day Cristiano left the club – expect this to be a slow, expensive rebuild that might take more time than most at the club are willing to admit.
For Ancelotti, the challenge is making sure he can retain enough faith during the early struggles to stick around.