Spanish giants Real and Atlético Madrid have been hit with a transfer ban this week that looks set to have widespread ramifications for the European market over the next couple of windows.
Similar to the disciplinary measure handed down to Barcelona, both capital city sides have indicated their intention to appeal FIFA’s sanctions – but the likelihood is that both teams will have to serve their punishment.
It will be panic stations at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and Vicente Calderón, with well-hatched recruitment plans, scouting reports and long-term thinking adversely impacted by the ruling.
However, taking a step back and looking at it objectively, the transfer ban could well work in both Madrid clubs’ favour and see them actually improve as a result.
Without going into too much detail of the countless speculated names linked with moves to the ten-time European champions, the ban will prevent Madrid from splurging this summer on their next spate of big-name players.
However, despite the perceived injustice and hardship, looking at the current Los Blancos squad is like reading a who’s who of international football.
It can be argued that Madrid lack a specialist replacement left-back for first-choice Marcelo, but beyond that the capital city side have world beaters in every position and superb back-up options chomping at the bit to play.
As such, new head coach Zinedine Zidane’s chances are surely not going to be adversely impacted too much by a lack of new faces – the ones already at his disposal are more than capable of wiping the table with European football if the retired playmaker can find the right balance and formula.
The ban will also mean that players on the fringes, such as Isco, James Rodríguez and Jesé will surely not be allowed to leave as no replacements can be purchased.
This trio in particular is full of prodigious talent and keeping them could actually work out better for the club in the long run as they mature and prove their worth.
Although the transfer market has played a considerable element in Atlético’s recent rise to prominence, Los Rojiblancos have also been guilty of splurging vast quantities of money on players that simply have not worked out.
The more pertinent reason for the Vicente Calderón outfit’s continued overachievement in the face of a Clasico bias has been Diego Simeone forging a togetherness in his squad and the players buying into his footballing ideals.
As has been shown again this season, Atlético are more than equipped to compete on a number of fronts and have the required players to fit Simeone’s dynamic and be successful.
It takes a certain type of player to fit into the existing Atleti blueprint and as such keeping the existing squad together is more important for the men in red and white than signing new faces.
Key to Atlético’s continued prominence at the elite level is holding onto some of their top performers, with the impeccable Antoine Griezmann the gem in the club’s crown. Others stars are surely coveted also.
As has been shown in the case of Diego Costa, Filipe Luís, Arda Turan, Radamel Falcao – and the list goes on – Atlético have been susceptible to caving in and selling their best players in recent years.
However, the transfer ban gives Simeone’s men a watertight reason not to even consider the overtures of the surrounding vultures.
Given the already stellar team spirit in the Vicente Calderón contingent, another 18 months together with no ins or outs will surely strengthen Atleti further, not diminish them.
The merits of the Fifa ruling certainly can be questioned and queried, but in the long run Real and Atlético should not use the transfer ban as a reason for any failings on the pitch.
Both sides have world-class players at their disposal and big squads to select from, including a cohort of potentials out on loan, meaning that even without any new faces they will continue to function at the pinnacle of Spanish and European football.
There is too much emphasis on the transfer market in the sport currently and little-to-no patience allocated to players; Real and Atlético may well unlock the best from their existing squads as a result of the transfer ban and the subsequent lack of chopping and changing.