Germany's World Cup exploits have led to a number of the team's stars catching the eye. Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho is so taken by a number of Germans, he's allegedly planning to build his new team around them.
Jose will be just as happy if he signs some Germans for Madrid
Jose Mourinho is not a coach who likes to play by anyone else's rules but his own. When the former Inter Milan coach left the Italian and European champions for Real Madrid at the end of last season, it was clear that he was not moving to the Santiago Bernabeu to become the next in a long line of coaches forced into accepting tactical and transfer advice from the suits in the boardroom.
Anyone who has followed the Special One's career will know that he would never have swapped a historic treble-winning Internazionale side for an underperforming, bloated team of galacticos had he not been given carte blanche to ring the changes. From the start it was clear that Real Madrid under Mourinho would be a team in his own image and with his stamp of authority all over it.
So it is of little surprise that Mourinho is already laying down big plans to turn Real Madrid into a dominant force once again. After beginning his cull by letting legendary striker Raul look for a new club and selling stalwart midfielder Guti to Besiktas, Mourinho is looking to the future – and he sees Germany's young World Cup team as his blueprint.
Mourinho lining up German stars as basis for new Madrid team
Mourinho is said to be so taken with the performance of Germany's young stars that he is planning to rebuild his Real Madrid team around a German nucleus. The Portuguese is keen to bring in midfielders Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mesut Oezil along with strikers Thomas Mueller and Mario Gomez as he bids to end the hegemony of bitter rivals Barcelona, who have won La Liga four times in the past six years.
Madrid sports daily AS, along with rival Marca – the paper close to Real president Florentino Perez – have both been forecasting a German revolution at Madrid in the last few days with the cream of Joachim Loew's crop regularly mentioned as priority signings in Mourinho's rebuilding program.
Khedira's move to Real Madrid has yet to be confirmed
Khedira, it seemed, was set to lead the way after reports suggested he had already signed for Real after the Stuttgart midfielder flew in to Madrid last week to hold talks with Mourinho over a 10 million-euro ($12.94m) switch. But more recent stories suggest the deal is far from being completed, with the player himself joining officials from Stuttgart in denying any transfer is in the offing.
All this, of course, could be a smokescreen while details are thrashed out behind the scenes. Khedira fits the bill as the box-to-box midfielder that Mourinho wants to turn Madrid into a more competitive team.
Germans fit the bill as Mourinho looks for power and creativity
Schweinsteiger, on the other hand, seems less ambiguous about his plans and appears to be more than keen to come to Madrid should Bayern Munich cash in on him. One of Germany's best players at the 2010 World Cup, Schweinsteiger would give more than a little bite to a midfield that already oozes class but lacks physicality, one of the dominating features of Mourniho's teams in the past.
Madrid calling? Bremen are listening to offers for Oezil
Oezil, who is now reluctantly being hawked around by his club Werder Bremen, would certainly provide some extra creative spark and some youthful hunger to a Madrid offensive line that looked jaded at times last season. However, Real are not the only ones interested in the 21-year old midfielder but the allure of Madrid – especially if joined by a number of his compatriots – will be hard for the youngster to ignore.
While Thomas Mueller is unlikely to leave Bayern Munich this summer after only just completing his first full professional campaign with the German champions, team mate Mario Gomez may be on his way to Madrid to replace the departing Raul, with playmaker Rafael Van der Vaart being offered in part exchange. Gomez may not walk into Madrid's starting line-up but he would be an interesting proposition to have in reserve.
Germany's World Cup exploits may have turned Mourinho's eye but the coach's shrewd knowledge of soccer history may also be playing a part in his logic. Coaches of some of the great Real Madrid teams of the past have assembled the flamboyant talent at their disposal around a powerful, technical and hard-working German heart.
Mourinho aware of past German successes at Madrid
Paul Breitner swapped Bayern Munich for Real Madrid
World Cup winners Guenter Netzer and Paul Breitner moved to the Spanish capital and ran the Madrid team which won back-to-back La Liga titles in 1975 and 1976, Breitner adding the '75 Copa del Rey to the one Netzer won in 1974 along the way.
The German influence continued during that decade with Uli Stielike commanding the Madrid engine room a couple of seasons later, helping Real to a trio of titles in 1978, 1979 and 1980 and both domestic cups.
Bernd Schuster, the man the Madrid faithful christened the Blonde Angel, also helped Real to consecutive titles in 1989 and 1990, along with the Copa del Rey in another of Real's double-winning seasons in '89. His successes were followed up by goalkeeper Bodo Illgner who won La Liga in 1997 and 2001 as well as two Champions League titles in 1998 and 2000.
Despite the strong record of Germans turning out in the famous white shirt, former star Netzer has recently warned Sami Khedira against moving to Real Madrid, saying that his old club have lost their status across Europe and that the club is "full of problems."
Former Madrid star Netzer warns Khedira over Real move
Ex-Real star Netzer says his former club has many problems
"Real Madrid has lost much of its appeal. It is a club full of problems and the chaotic last season showed again that tradition does not win titles," Netzer recently told Bild Sport. "They have spent a lot of money, but have many unhappy players. Khedira must be aware of this."
"Obviously playing for a foreign club is always a personal learning curve. Players such as Franz Beckenbauer, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Paul Breitner benefited from this type of experience," he was quoted as saying. "But going to another country only for economic reasons is not always worth it. The priority for a decision of this type should be to want to, and that should be the criteria of Sami Khedira in his possible move to Real Madrid."
However, the German legend suggested that if Mourinho had personally targeted him for Madrid that could change the situation.
"If he is specifically the player he wants.... Well, Mourinho will have freedom at Real, no one will interfere in sporting matters. He is an autocrat, and in that case for Khedira it would be an excellent starting point," he added.
Author: Nick Amies
Editor: Rob Turner