So, Rafa Benitez is no longer the manager of Real Madrid.
Actually, he might be when you’re reading this, but at the time of writing (Monday, late afternoon) there are a lot of reports flying around that he is gone and will be replaced by Zinedine Zidane by Tuesday.
It’s no shock – Rafa has struggled to win over the demanding Bernabeu crowd and failed to win La Liga games against fellow big clubs Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Sevilla, Villarreal and, on Sunday, a Valencia side led by Gary Neville.
But what does all this mean for Arsenal? Well, whenever there’s a new manager at such a big club he usually gets a few welcoming gifts. Former Real Madrid managers such as Manuel Pellegrini, José Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti have been welcomed with a number of big name signings. That’s all well and good, but it means someone has to leave.
Xavi Alonso, Kaká, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema joined in 2009, along with the now Manchester City manager, and Real Madrid sold Javi Garcia, Arjen Robben, Klass Jan Huntelaar and Wesley Sneijder, among others.
The arrival of Mourinho just 12 months later was supplemented by signing Angel Di Maria, Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil. Real Madrid legends Guti and Raul were leaving the Spanish giants, and were later joined by Rafael van der Vaart.
Arsenal were finally in a financial position to capitalise in 2013, when Gareth Bale joined Carlo Ancelotti’s new side and one of Mesut Özil or Angel Di Maria had to leave. It was Özil, of course, and he ended up at the Emirates Stadium. Gonzalo Higuain and Kaká also departed, as Jesé was promoted to the first team and Isco was signed from Malaga.
Last summer, when Benitez came in, Khedira, Javier Hernandez (who was on loan), club captain Iker Casillas and Asier Illarramendi all left the club as Mateo Kovačić and Danilo were signed for big money.
This January, or maybe in the summer to come, Real Madrid will once again look to refresh a floundering squad for their big name manager. If players are signed players will have to leave, and you can bet Arsène Wenger will be waiting, ready to pounce on those cast aside in the Spanish capital.