As you're all well aware, the summer's transfer window has just closed with Real Madrid doing little-to-no business. Aside from bringing Morata, Asensio and Coentrao home, and offloading a few fringe players, the club hasn't done much of anything.
As Mike Platania expounded on yesterday in an always well-written and entertaining piece, what's startling to some, aside from Perez not splashing huge on a new Galactico, is that Madrid didn't make any big moves to prepare for the impending transfer ban.
As a quick refresher, Real Madrid face a two window band for allegedly securing 39 underage players against FIFA regulations. Madrid has currently appealed to the CAS but the track record for successful appeals is slim.
So now that the current window is closed, the debate is whether the lack of transfers this past summer was a woeful mistake or a stroke of genius.
Why most people think it's terrible
No new signings means the club stays largely as it his been for the last season, and likely will be for the next two, as quality winter signings are pretty rare. If fans of this club are used to anything, it's a revolving door of talent. Many think that if we don't swoop up the latest talent, they will go elsewhere and we'll be worse off for it. Additionally, fluctuations in form are not tolerated by the hyper-demanding Bernabeu, so no new signings means no new scapegoat for the sideline vitriol.
Potential injuries are also a problem, and probably the biggest reason most fans are surprised at so little movement this summer. Many feel that we should have gone after the absolute best second choices for each position. Alaba at left back, Pogba at (well, anywhere in the midfield), Lewandowski up front are just few examples of signings the fan base got all riled up about to shore up our squad. The season is long, and injuries are bound to happen (to some more than others). The challenge with this thought process, is that most of the big names Flo has conditioned us to crave every year would never settle for being back-ups.
Finally, who is the body-double for Uncle Flo, and what did he do with the original? Given the absolute madness of a few of the most recent windows, plus his seemingly inherent need to buy the most sought-after or expensive players regardless of how many number 10's we have, I think many of us are left wondering if someone swapped out the real Florentino. Not sure how semi-serious the rumors regarding Pogba were (I for one don't think we seriously went after him), but those aside, zip, nada, nothing even remotely indicative that we were going to add anyone big to the lineup. I'm waiting for him to lose all his hair or completely ruin his reputation of an usually unflappable demeanor live on camera since he wasn't able to get his big-spend jollies this summer.
Why this transfer ban timing is absolutely-perfect-and-is the-best-thing-that-could-happen-right-now
One phrase - Almost incomprehensibly deep squad. Seriously. Even Perez made a comment about how impossible it is to improve this team.
One could certainly argue about whether or not we could get stronger individuals to back up our starters, but the big question is always would they want to? It seems from our well-removed vantage point that even the Isco/James dilemma has been sorted. So if you look at the sheer talent of both presumed starters and their respective back ups across the entire line-up, it's pretty scary how deep this squad is. Even the (mostly?) unproven youngsters had a fantastic pre-season and show huge signs of being major contributors to the success of this team this season.
The squad balance and cohesion is another reason why this ban is a great thing. For the first time in what seems like forever, we have a truly solid, deep squad, an amazing coach, and the opportunity to develop into a fine-tuned machine. The personality mix, skill mix - all of it, to me seems perfect to really forge a phenomenal team. What this team hasn't had before, until now, is a stretch of time to actually accomplish it. Only time will tell, but all the ingredients are there for it to be successful.
And to top it all off - The Zidane Effect. Call it/him what you will, but the man has what it takes, has already started off most impressively, and has now been given what few coaches have, the luxury of the same squad to work with over two year's time. If he can't do it…I don't know that anyone can.
So on the face of it, Real Madrid not being able to bring in any new players for almost two years could seem disastrous. But with this incredibly talented, incredibly deep, and incredibly well-balanced squad, I think this ban is exactly what Real Madrid need at this stage, and I'm looking forward to watching some history-making over the next couple of seasons.