Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas and Arjen Robben, the Chelsea winger, will be Real Madrid players by the time the first ball of the new season is kicked if the newly elected club president, Ramon Calderon, keeps to his pre-election promises.
Ashley Cole and Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, will have to find other routes out of Arsenal and Manchester United respectively as they were on the wish lists of defeated candidates.
Calderon had his position as new president confirmed yesterday after winning nearly 30 per cent of Sunday's vote after promising to make Robben, Fabregas and Milan's Brazilian Kaka his key summer signings. Now he has to find the cash and the powers of persuasion to keep to his word.
A jubilant Predjag Mijatovic, the former Real Madrid player who will be Calderon's director of football, said: "The players want to come and that is the main thing, now we have to talk to the clubs." Mijatovic is reported to have met Fabregas's agent, Joseba Díaz, and talks with Arsenal come next. The Gunners are likely to set a high price but Chelsea will listen to offers for Robben.
Calderon and Mijatovic want to bring Fabio Capello from Juventus as their coach - which should be the easiest transfer, especially if Juve are relegated as part of the corruption scandal - and would end speculation over Sven Goran Eriksson, who was the choice of Arturo Baldasano, who came last in the poll.
Cole's mooted transfer would also be off as Capello is thought to prefer Gianluca Zambrotta, his current left-back in Serie A.
Calderon is happy with Real's marketing policy and so David Beckham looks set to keep his place but with Robben on the left Ronaldo would not be required.Reuse content