It’s never easy to replace a legend. Especially when that same legend is sitting next to you in the dressing room, chatting to you in the canteen and, above all, challenging you for a place in the starting XI.
But it’s testament to Ferland Mendy’s attitude and ability that, two years after arriving from Lyon in a £47 million transfer that raised eyebrows on both sides of the border, Marcelo is no longer one of the first names on Zinedine Zidane’s team sheet.
The long-serving left-back has started just six La Liga matches this season and, at 32, is unable to replicate the lung-bursting acceleration of the human steam train that is Mendy.
There’s still another 18 months remaining on the Brazilian’s contract but, if reports from the Spanish capital are to be believed, Marcelo could soon be going the way of Raul and Iker Casillas – shunted unceremoniously out the door after more than a decade of loyal service.
Defensa Central reports the La Liga champions have spent the past few months watching another France-based left-back – Romain Perraud.
If you’re reading this with a rather blank expression on your face, we don’t blame you. Perraud was playing in Ligue 2 as recently as 2019.
And his current employers, Brest, are hardly a traditional French powerhouse.
But for Celtic fans out there, his name may seem familiar. That’s probably because, less than two years ago, the Hoops tried to sign him.
“I thought I had a good season with Paris FC. I knew I had qualities – I just wanted a chance to show them,” Perraud told the Daily Record in 2019.
“Celtic contacted me with a view to a transfer – but Celtic decided to change their mind and that meant I went to Brest instead.”
While Diego Laxalt and Greg Taylor share left-back duties at a Celtic side lurching from on-pitch crisis to pandemic-defying catastrophe, it’s not a great time for Real Madrid to turn the Hoops’ one-that-got-away into a Galactico.
Perraud is also a target for Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton and 2019/20 Champions League semi-finalists RB Leipzig, according to Le10 Sport.
With Vasilis Barkas, Shane Duffy and Albian Ajeti bang out of form, there’s already enough negative press surrounding transfer mishaps at Parkhead.