If acclaimed transfer guru, Fabrizio Romano is to be believed, (and he quite often is) Real Madrid have signed French midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, although pending official confirmation by the club.
€100 million for a 6th-choice midfielder - Here's why Tchouameni's Madrid transfer was a mistake
French midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni is reportedly on his way to Real Madrid but it might just be a bad idea for both parties.
The 22-year old has been a shining star for Monaco since joining from Bordeaux in 2020 for €18 million and was one of the most sought-after players this transfer window until Real Madrid sealed the deal.
But it's worth asking if this is a good deal for both parties? Did Real Madrid really need a sixth midfielder or are they just trying to get over missing out on a young expensive French superstar by signing another young expensive French superstar?
And from Tchouameni's perspective, there is no doubt Real Madrid are the most prestigious of his suitors but could he have found a better fit in Liverpool or PSG? Let's see…
Squad depth or hoarding talent?
By the end of the 2020/21 season, Real Madrid already had a selection headache in midfield, with the established trio of Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, there was hardly any space left for the emerging Federico Valverde.
Los Blancos soon after added Edouardo Camavinga to that dynamic, a €31 million deal brought the highly sought after teenager to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Valverde's versatility allowed him to keep his influence in the squad as a right-winger or midfielder when Ancelotti tried out the midfield diamond.
But Camavinga wasn't so lucky, starting just 16 games in his debut season despite being so obviously talented and now the addition of Tchouameni further complicates things and creates an even bigger problem for Carlo Ancelotti.
Building for the future
Real Madrid appear to be building for the future with these signings, it is logical to assume Valverde, Camavinga and Tchouameni will form a formidable midfield trio in two or three seasons' time.
And while it may be a good idea in video games such as FIFA and Football Manager, this is Real life and players need to play if they are to develop.
Unlike Camavinga who was signed for €31 million as an 18-year old, Tchouameni is a 22-year old €100 million player who's already established in the French national team, 16 starts won't cut it for him, he has to play.
And for that to happen, it would mean a swifter than anticipated end to their dynamic midfield trio which just won them a Champions League trophy.
The old guard
The problem with that plan is that Real Madrid's loyalties tend to lie with their older and more established players, especially since they appear to get better with age.
Los Blancos have done this before, trying to prepare for the future by stockpiling young midfield talent but the older trio always seems to outlast the new blood brought in to replace them.
Lucas Silva, Mateo Kovacic, Martin Odegaard, Marcos Llorente and Dani Ceballos have all come and gone without fulfilling their intended purpose of earning a starting shirt in Real Madrid's midfield.
The fact that 36-year old Luka Modric has only just signed a new contract and Toni Kroos still has at least one more year on his signifies that the old guard are not quite done at the Bernabeu yet.
Perhaps Tchouameni would have been better placed to sign for Liverpool or PSG where he would instantly earn the reverence due to a marquee signing rather than having to wait at least a year in the shadow of old men.