It is not a good week for the European Champions. First they lose out on Paul Pogba to Manchester United. Then James Rodríguez, who Real were planning to sell to fund some new purchases, announces that he is staying at the Bernabéu, despite a €85 million bid for Manchester United for the services.
And then to top it all it, Valencia midfielder Andre Gomes, who was the European Champions top target this summer, and who was rumored to be all set to move to Madrid, suddenly ends up at bitter rivals Barcelona, as once again Madrid president Florentino Pérez failed to close out a sure thing.
Real Madrid had been in discussions with Valencia for weeks and it seemed a matter of when the Portuguese international Gomes would sign for them.
Valencia wanted €55m for the midfielder and Real were offering cash plus a player loan deal – with Nacho, Kovacic, Asensio and Jesé all in the talks.
But Valencia did not want a loan deal, they wanted the cash and that left the door open for Barcelona to swoop in and grab the player after paying Valencia €35 million with a further €20 million potential add-ons.
With a looming transfer ban, an aging squad, and losing out on their top targets this season, this is not turning into a good summer for Perez and Real Madrid.
When Real have identified a player that they want, they have rarely failed to sign him. But with David de Gea last summer, and now Paul Pogba and Andre Gomes this summer, Real Madrid are finding that teams are willing to compete aggressively for the same targets, and they are finding it a lot more difficult to land top players than in the past.
As for Barcelona, Gomes is a terrific addition to what has been a really summer so far in terms of signing new players.
Gomes has all the qualities Barcelona seek in a player: incredible technique on the ball, confidence in taking players on, outstanding vision and the ability to summon incisive passes. Set to turn 23 on 30 July, in Gomes the Catalans gain a quality footballer whom they should be able to call on for years to come.
Gomes’s strengths are driving the team forward and supplying forwards with irresistible through balls. “I like to play in midfield, preferably attacking midfield,” he said upon arriving at Valencia. Former coach Gary Neville saw his best role on the left of a midfield three so he could focus exclusively on helping the attack. Almost a decade younger than Andrés Iniesta, Gomes may be considered a long-term replacement for the Spain and Barça veteran, although he could just as easily operate on the right of Luis Enrique’s midfield three, competing with Ivan Rakitić and Arda Turan for the privilege of servicing Lionel Messi.
“André Gomes will help us and add a lot to the team,” said Luis Suárez as Barcelona greeted their newest arrivals.
“We’re delighted to have players like him.”