Since the news that Spanish giants Real Madrid are facing a two-window transfer ban was released, all eyes have been on the Spanish capital’s biggest club, with fans eager to see whether or not they would strengthen this winter.
As well as rumours surrounding players of other clubs that Madrid supposedly have an interest in, there have been plenty of reports linking the likes of Isco, James Rodriguez, Cristiano Ronaldo and co with moves away from the Bernabeu.
But if recent reports are to be believed, Madrid have set about trying to strengthen their ranks, rather than lose any quality players.
Madrid already have a wealth of attacking talent, and their midfield is overflowing with international stars, so it should come as no surprise that the position head coach Zinedine Zidane and president Florentino Perez are focusing on is the left back spot.
The club have been linked with a move to sign Wolfsburg left back and Swiss international Ricardo Rodriguez - a player that has also been linked with the likes of Manchester United.
They currently have Brazilian full back Marcelo as their first choice left back, with the former Fluminense player having been an integral part of the squad for the last nine years. He has been widely recognised - by pundits as well as current and former professionals - as one of the leading players in his position. With Marcelo being under contract at the club until 2020, it would be safe to assume that if Rodriguez was to join Madrid it wouldn’t be as the Brazilian’s replacement.
When you look at the options Madrid have on the right flank - with Spaniard Daniel Carvajal and Marcelo’s countryman Danilo - it is clear that Madrid are keen to ensure that they have sufficient strength in depth. They do have another experienced left back on the books in Fabio Coentrao, but the Portuguese has spent this season on loan at Monaco, which suggests that he is surplus to requirements at Real.
So Rodriguez would likely be a replacement for Coentrao were he to be signed, and it is fair to say that - judging by his time at Wolfsburg - he would be a brilliant signing.
Rodriguez has established himself as the set piece specialist at the German side and has 13 goals in 115 games as well as numerous assists. He was a key part of the club’s spine that included Kevin De Bruyne before the Belgian’s move to Manchester City. And at only 23 years of age, he has already amassed a respectable 33 caps for his country.
Whilst Marcelo has received worldwide praise for his displays, as well as being named in the most recent FIFPro World XI, Rodriguez would have to fancy his chances of getting into the side.
Madrid’s current number 12 has long been compared to his compatriot and Madrid legend Roberto Carlos due to his attacking abilities. The 27-year-old has scored 19 goals - including one in their Champions League final triumph in 2014 against rivals Atletico Madrid - in 250 games for the club, yet one of the biggest concerns about his game is how solid he is defensively.
Rodriguez, meanwhile, is seen by many as a more assured option in defence. He has also proven that he has a great footballing brain, and he was part of a Wolfsburg defence that conceded only 38 league goals last season. That tally was only beaten in Germany by Bayern Munich, Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen.
Real Madrid themselves conceded 38 goals in La Liga last season, seventeen more than champions Barcelona. In light of the upcoming transfer ban, Madrid definitely need to act if they want to strengthen the squad.
History will tell you that Madrid president Perez will not settle for keeping the squad as it is, so it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Real could make an offer that Wolfsburg would struggle to resist.
If rumours are to be believed, Los Blancos are lining up a €40million bid which works out at just over £30million. There’s no denying that offer would give the Wolves a difficult decision to make, and it could see Rodriguez unveiled as Real Madrid’s latest Galactico.
The real question then would be whether Rodriguez can step up to the levels expected of Real players, and whether he could break into the side ahead of fan favourite Marcelo.