Cristiano Ronaldo's €112million transfer to Juventus caused plenty of shock waves but, given the rumours about his growing unhappiness with life at Real Madrid, it was not a monumental surprise.
The same could not be said about Luka Modric. Inter are said to have enquired about the midfielder and, more surprisingly still, it is claimed he is interested in a switch to Serie A.
Florentino Perez has already proclaimed they would need to match Modric's €750m release clause to get him, but it is likely an offer 10 times lower than that figure would tempt Madrid if the player starts agitating for a move.
That might sound unthinkable to some. Modric, after all, has won three consecutive Champions Leagues in the Spanish capital and was just named the best player at the 2018 World Cup after helping Croatia to the final.
However, as Madrid prepare for a UEFA Super Cup clash with Atletico Madrid, there is an argument that, as with Ronaldo, now is the right time to cash in…
IN RESULTS BUSINESS, MADRID ARE BETTER OFF WITHOUT HIM
There is no doubt Modric has enjoyed exceptional success with Madrid since his 2012 move from Tottenham, winning 14 major trophies in six years.
And yet, surprising as it seems, Madrid have had a better record in that time – in LaLiga at least – without him in the team.
In 166 games with Modric in the top flight, Madrid have taken three points 115 times, meaning they have won 69 per cent of their games on average. Without him, they have won 47 of 62 games, at an average of 76 per cent.
In total, they have claimed an average of 2.2 points per game with the Croatian, and 2.4 without. They have also scored fewer goals (2.7 compared to 2.9) and conceded the same (one per match) when Modric has played.
It feels unquestionably harsh to boil down Modric's contribution in such statistics. However, Madrid are a team for whom results are paramount, and, were Modric allowed to join Inter, the numbers suggest they do not have to be too concerned at life without him.
HE DOESN'T SUIT LOPETEGUI'S REBUILD
When Zinedine Zidane stepped down after winning the Champions League this year, it was suggested he did so to avoid having to oversee the necessary rebuild of a Madrid squad in need of new blood.
That honour has fallen instead to Julen Lopetegui. The former Spain coach's appointment comes with a shift in style – and arguably no place for Modric.
Zidane's set-up owed more to getting the ball forward quickly rather than patient play, which is a hallmark of Lopetegui's system, and although Modric is perfectly capable of operating as a ball-carrying midfielder, there are others who suit the role better.
With Toni Kroos and Casemiro preferred in the axis of a 4-2-3-1 formation, and Isco, Marco Asensio and Gareth Bale better suited to the attacking roles, squaring the circle of Modric in this line-up might be unnecessary.
Plus, with two years left on his contract and a 33rd birthday coming up in September, now is the best time to get a sizeable fee for the former Spurs man.
HE MUST MAKE ROOM FOR THE FUTURE
The point about the possible size of any transfer fee is key. This is the prime opportunity to get a substantial sum for a player heading towards the latter part of his career at the top, and that will help Madrid's plans to replace him.
Arguably, they already have the right men on their books to fill the gap. Mateo Kovacic is on loan at Chelsea but, assuming that temporary spell away goes well, he will return a prime candidate to succeed his compatriot. Dani Ceballos will also hope for a happier time under Lopetegui, having been on the fringes under Zidane.
If they want to sign a replacement, however, selling Modric now would help. Thiago Alcantara has been linked with a move and, with Bayern Munich said to be ready to move him on, this would be Madrid's best chance to snare a player who played a crucial role in Lopetegui's Spain system.
Beyond that, removing Modric from the squad – as well as the wage bill - can only aid potential bids for Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Eden Hazard, even if such deals must wait until 2019. A Paul Pogba approach in January would not be out of the question, either.
It would be no easy task to simply swap in another player for one like Modric, one of the favourites for this year's Ballon d'Or, just as a stand-in for Ronaldo does not really exist.
But cashing in now would be the most efficient way to bolster Madrid's transfer budget and continue the refit of the squad. Waiting until next year or beyond could be costly.
|Laporte 2025: New deal earned through winning habit from Man City´s pass master|
|Watford and Everton reach agreement over Silva|
|Hodgson inspired by Attenborough ahead of Premier League record|
|Chelsea will challenge Manchester City in EFL Cup final - Laporte|
|Wolff compares Ferrari new recruit Leclerc to young Hamilton|
|Messi not Sevilla´s only worry with Navas in doubt|
|Kvitova outlasts Hsieh, Bencic dumps out champion Svitolina|
|Patriots owner Kraft charged with soliciting prostitution|
|Laporte signs long-term extension with Manchester City|
|Ellis set for Super League comeback with Hull FC|
|Ill Hummels out of Hertha game|
|Halfpenny to make Scarlets comeback against Cheetahs|
|Sri Lanka sense historic win after dramatic day two|
|Lacazette banned for both Europa League last-16 legs|
|Vidic: I wouldn´t take Van Dijk over United´s defenders|
|Widnes Vikings face uncertain future after going into administration|
|Valverde confident Barcelona´s dry spell is a blip|
|Manchester derby: United v City at Old Trafford set for April 24|
|Sane the best in the world out wide, says Manchester City boss Guardiola|
|Cronin handed rare start, Italy make five changes|
|Inter director Zanetti hopes for swift Icardi return|
|BCCI urges cricket community to ´sever ties´ with terrorism-emanating countries|
|Reus and Piszczek still out for Borussia Dortmund|
|I wish it wasn´t 6-0 - Guardiola fears fuelling Chelsea fire|
|Tuchel hopeful of new Alves deal at PSG|
|Klopp ponders PSG´s Manchester United blueprint|
|AEK Athens handed suspended European competition ban|
|Toronto Wolfpack ´will pay whatever it takes´ to sign Sonny Bill Williams|
|Welcome to the club! Chelsea earn sympathy from non-league Gateshead|
|Hazard, Hudson-Odoi, Higuain and Sarri - how does Chelsea´s transfer ban affect them?|
|Europa League last-16 draw: Chelsea face Kiev trip, Arsenal meet Rennes|
|No doubt Solskjaer will get United job - Klopp|
|Gatland: Time-bomb Sinckler could go off in Cardiff|
|Central Coast Mariners 3 Brisbane Roar 5: Lopez inspires win in eight-goal thriller|
|Chelsea to appeal transfer ban|
|Harden: Rude and arrogant Foster should never officiate Rockets|
|Jones won´t dissuade Tuilagi from joining Racing|
|Solskjaer: United must keep emotions in check against Liverpool|
|United must adapt if Pogba is man-marked - Solskjaer|
|Highlanders deny Reds in Dunedin thriller|
|Chelsea hit with two-window transfer ban|
|Salah: Klopp has made life easier for Liverpool´s forwards|
|Solskjaer hoping to have Martial and Lingard fit for Liverpool clash|
|Vinicius was in my plans at Madrid, insists Lopetegui|
|Manchester United v Liverpool: Pogba and Salah lead combined XI|
|Pogba can become world´s best player – Vidic|
|Manchester United v Liverpool: When the Reds last visited while in the top two...23 years ago|
|The big Friday Premier League quiz|
|The Breakdown: A statistical look at the third round of Six Nations matches|
|McIlroy feels win isn´t far away|
|Who is Luka Jovic? The Bundesliga goal machine linked with Barcelona|
|Antetokounmpo´s Bucks edge Celtics to extend lead in Eastern Conference|
|Durant blocks Kings rookie Bagley five times in one half|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Atlanta beaten in De Boer´s first competitive game|
|Kucherov notches second straight 100-point NHL season|
|Del Potro into Delray Beach quarters, Kyrgios exits|
|Sarri: Chelsea´s season better than Arsenal´s|
|Padres confirm Machado´s 10-year, $300m deal|
|Williamson diagnosed with grade one knee sprain|
|Vidic: Solskjaer a better fit than big-name managers for United|
|Giroud issues EFL Cup warning after Chelsea´s Europa League win|
|McIlroy leads in Mexico, Woods shoots 71|
|Romero edges into lead in Puerto Rico|
|City out to make history against Chelsea - Silva|
|We were sweet enemies - Mourinho salutes old rival Wenger|
|Inter improvement not down to Icardi absence - Spalletti|
|This Week in US Sports: Manny Machado finds a home, Williamson gets hurt|
|Sarri rubbishes Roma rumour|
|Halep takes positives despite Dubai defeat|
|Reigning champion Van Uytvanck progresses in Budapest|