What was anticipated to be a busy summer of off-season signings has turned into a quiet hiatus that feels somewhat unusual to Madrid fans. Essentially what began with Carvajal, Vazquez, Casemiro, and now Morata, has manifested into a new way of grooming players into the Madrid starting XI. The truth is that breaking into the squad via impact substitutions or taking the role of an injured player never guaranteed anyone a substantial future at Real Madrid. Players coming from the youth academy generally would join the team hopeful that at some point their time would come.
With failed projects like Soldado and Granero for example, Madrid has apparently found a better way of getting the best out of their players with potential. Instead of possibly hindering their development due to lack of playing time, The Royal Whites are opting for their impressionable gems to get experience and meaningful game-time somewhere else, with plans for them to eventually return and contribute to the first team. Dani Carvajal was perhaps initially seen to be an isolated catch. However, with players like Vazquez and Casemiro returning to the team with competitive influence and confidence, Madrid has become aware to the benefits of exposing raw talent to different tactics, ideologies, and challenges.
Noted by ESPN FC's Eduardo Alvarez, "they [Madrid] try to hit the jackpot by bringing back a couple of youth team players who have evolved much more that they would have, had they stayed in Madrid." Real have now found the balance in molding hopefuls into champions. Mayoral is another promising player, who Madrid hope will evolve with Wolfsburg. Oddly enough, this concept of blending enthusiasm and class was kicked around by Florentino Perez during Zidane's time as a player, and it is now coming to fruition with the Frenchman as manager.
Nevertheless this new way of thinking may finally permit squad continuity. In a nutshell, the model can be summed as follows: Inexperienced youth get a taste of what it is to play in the Bernabeu by making late-game cameos. - maybe tossed into the mix here and there in order to see what they could possibly offer. The following season, the player is exported to a top-10 side for instance, with playing time in abundance. He learns tricks of the trade and works along the way to cope with pressures that arise. Once the manager feels the player is ready, he can aim to return as a Prodigal Son eager to play in front of a supportive crowd once again.
I asked Alvarez if he felt this was more effective than attempting to integrate the player into the team by rotation. "In previous years, they would go to smaller Spanish clubs, and this still happens, obviously. But the added experience of going to a different country, learn a new language, step up when being disconnected from familiar surroundings makes players mature a lot faster."
Arguably, this is a better way of nurturing young footballers as Madrid like Bayern Munich and Barcelona are expected to fill the trophy case nearly every season. Because of the high demands, managers have the tendency to choose experience and maturity over potential risk. Who can blame them? Though it's not the cuddling process that smaller clubs like Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal conduct, given Madrid's ridiculously high expectations, this is likely the happy median.
Royston Drenthe can be viewed as one of those who got away, along with others like Asier Illaramendi, Nuri Sahin, and more. Drenthe, who was coming off a European competition where he was voted Player of the Tournament, struggled with anxiety when presented with the high-stake and performance-based atmosphere that is Real Madrid. This is something the club would want to have learned from, and perhaps Real feel that loaning their growing talents to the top leagues is the only way to reduce flops.
All in all, a successful transfer policy that focuses on embodying the historical, Spanish and youth academic players with Galactico and game-changing players like Bale, Ronaldo, and Benzema combines that ideas of both the club president and manager, which could mean a dynasty in the works. Stability at Real Madrid is something that frankly fans are not used to, and this could be a direct result of Zizou's power at the helm in addition to an awakening within the club's hierarchy.