It's been an open secret that Madrid are looking to loan out some of their developing youngsters with Marco Asensio in particular being tipped for a move to Betis; and the Sevilla club's under-19 international Dani Ceballos apparently set to join Real Madrid in the near future.
Along with Borja Mayoral and Marco Asensio, Dani Ceballos was instrumental in Spain's recent under-19 European triumph; and like Marco Asensio, recent rumours have indicated that the Betis youngster is being lined up for a move to the Bernabeu before the new season starts. Additionally, it is regularly reported in the press that both Lucas Silva, Asier Illaramendi, and possibly Fabio Coentrao could all be leaving Madrid in the near future; either on permanent transfers or as part of a loan deal involving any of the potential newcomers.
With Real Betis providing the opposition for Madrid on the 29th August, however, the current loan situation could be interesting. One permutation suggested is that if Dani Ceballos signs for Madrid, then Betis coach Pepe Mel could look to push for a loan deal including Marco Asensio and / or Martin Odegaard going to the Benito Villamarin by return. The possibility of this happening, though, isn't some new innovative idea because as we all know, this has been talked about for weeks and not only on this website. The interesting part is the potential inclusion of Dani Ceballos into any deal between the two clubs; and even more interesting is the potential for all three to be playing in Betis' first team if the Madrid club make the same agreement as they did when signing Marco Asensio from Mallorca.
Real Betis certainly won't be keen on losing Dani Ceballos. Pepe Mel will regard young Dani as one of the first names to be entered on the Andalucian club's team sheet on match days; so some hard negotiating could be on the cards over the next few days. On top of that, Betis president Juan Carlos Ollero, denies that Real Madrid have made any contact with the club and fully expects Dani Ceballos to line up in Betis colours for their opening game against Villareal.
If a deal does go ahead; both Pepe Mel and the Betis president will be pushing for either Marco Asensio or Martin Odegaard to be making the journey south in return; and in addition to that, Betis will certainly be pushing for Madrid to allow Dani Ceballos to remain for at least the next season. It's certainly not impossible to believe that such a deal could be agreed. If not including Marco Asensio or Martin Odegaard, then at least Lucas Silva or Asier Illaramendi could end up wearing the thirteen stripes as part of the deal; thus joining former Real Madrid goalkeeper Antonio Adan in the newly promoted side's first appearance back at the Bernabeu since being relegated to La Segunda two years ago.
There's also been a lot of talk about Denis Cheryshev moving on; even though he's been able to get some quality game time in on the recent tour. It was good to see him involved with Madrid's first team because it's not brilliant when you are signed with a parent club yet almost continually on loan somewhere else. The Australian / Chinese trip might have been Rafa's idea to provide a window of opportunity for Denis to convince him that he's worth a place in the Madrid squad this season; or at least put himself in the shop-window for a permanent move if not. If Rafa's not planning on including Denis in the first team this season, then at least by taking him on the tour as part of the squad he's had the chance to see for himself what the Russian-born player can do.
Although it's been a long three weeks, as the intensity now builds towards the opening weeks of the season proper, players like Denis Cheryshev and Martin Odegaard have now had the benefit of being involved within the first-team set-up and given Rafa the opportunity to see at first-hand what they can do. The same will happen with the Audi cup games as Marco Asensio will become the next to be involved in first-team action; and against good quality European sides on European soil which will provide a better indicator of what's to come in the run-up to the League season.
It can sometimes be difficult to see how the pre-season competitions can relate to the season proper when so many of the games are used as trials or as training exercises without any specific pattern; although it appears that Rafa has put the focus well and truly on making sure that Real Madrid's defence is difficult to break down. With the talking now over as far as Sergio Ramos is concerned, perhaps we can expect to see what Rafa considers to be his settled defence over the next week.
Once the wheeling and dealing has finally been concluded with regards to the loan situations, and where and when (if at all) any of them actually go or who eventually comes in, I think we'll all be able to sit back and say that the team that turns out in the opening game of the season at Sporting Gijon is likely to be the settled one.