Man Utd favourites to sign Real Madrid's James Rodriguez, says Guillem Balague
Last Updated: 09/05/17 6:28am
Real Madrid's squad strength, potential Premier League moves for James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata, and the managerial merry-go-round in La Liga are on the agenda as Guillem Balague also answers your questions in his weekly column....
James, Morata on the move?
Quite clearly we are seeing a unique situation with Real Madrid in the sense that a team formed by their 'B side', including Isco, Alvaro Morata, James Rodriguez, Lucas Vasquez and Marco Asensio, could actually be in the top four in La Liga. But it was never a plan for Real Madrid, it's one of those freak things in football.
They did not plan to have such a strong second-string team, but it has happened. The problem is that it can't last long. James is wanted by many teams in Europe, and for me Manchester United are the favourites to get him.
His agent is Jorge Mendes who is very close to Jose Mourinho. He is the kind of player who instead of going to a club that is guaranteed to win the title next season, would be willing to help a team on the up, and Manchester United with the investment coming in the summer should be contenders for everything. Although it's one thing to be contenders and another thing to win.
Morata wants to see what happens with Chelsea - there is a choice to be made between Romelu Lukaku and Morata, the first one preferred by the club and the second by Antonio Conte. I think Morata will suit Chelsea much better. His movement, the knowledge of the coach, his intelligence would suit the London outfit.
So, going back to Real Madrid, they are showing this season that the first XI wins you the big games but the squad wins you the title. That's what they have missed in previous years, which is why they only have one title in eight seasons.
Barcelona have shown they haven't had enough solutions from the bench this season, but despite that they are still neck and neck, thanks in a huge part to Messi, the goals of Luis Suarez and the best season so far of Neymar, and it's making for one of the most exciting finishes to a season in a long time.
As the season is nearly finished, futures are being planned. Celta Vigo feel Eduardo Berizzo is leaving and he could be a replacement for Sevilla's Jorge Sampaoli, who could be the new manager of Argentina.
For the Celta job, Juan Carlos Unzue and Mauricio Pellegrino have been mentioned, and Ernesto Valverde is still the favourite to be the Barcelona coach.
And now for your questions...
Is it true Barcelona refuse to pay for Koeman's release clause? (@EFCTweeter1878)
No that's not true. He ticks a lot of boxes for Barcelona, but a lot of people at the club are not convinced fully about him taking over, even though he gave an interview to a Catalan newspaper with the idea of positioning himself for the job. But that's what you have to do at this stage if you want the job.
Do you think Bale's inconsistent form could cost him his place at Real Madrid next season? (Muhammad Zahraddeen)
That will be an interesting one. Real Madrid want two 'Galaticos' in the summer; they want two of Paulo Dybala, Robert Lewandowski, David de Gea, Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann.
Let's see what they get, but if that happens then the BBC will be destroyed and it will be a case of everybody working hard to get in the line-up. Having said that, the one who suffers most will be Karim Benzema, not Bale. When Bale is fit he plays. His inconsistency is explained by his injuries.
Any truth in James to Arsenal? Ospina being his brother in law also... (Elliott @elliottkyne)
I don't believe it. We are talking about 60m euros, which is not the kind of money Arsene Wenger will want to spend if he renews his contract for two more years as people in the club are saying.
Do you see a Conte to Barcelona deal happening? Especially after Conte has spoken about his "Chelsea project". (@utchayabugu)
Not a chance. Conte is definitely, 100% not going to Barcelona. He doesn't suit the style and is not the profile they are after.
Mbappe to Madrid or the Premier League? (@elliottkyne)
Mbappe's situation is that his family, who look after his interests, wanted him to stay one more year unless there were some crazy figures, then he had to think about it. And those huge figures have arrived, both for Monaco and for the player.
Quite clearly people talking on behalf of Real Madrid have let the media know that he 'said yes' to Real Madrid, but there is still a long way to go because there are bigger offers from the Premier League than the one that Real Madrid will put on the table, that is certain. Mbappe's family are playing it cool and waiting to see because they know that he will be wanted by every top side in Europe. We will keep an eye on it.