Our apologies for taking so long since our last report, but everytime that we thought we had it up to date everything changed again! Certainly things are moving rapidly at Real Madrid, with the news a few days ago that Arrigo Sacchi had been named director of football being followed by yesterday's bombshell that Wanderley Luxemburgo would be taking over from García Remón as team coach. That could alter the entire transfer picture at the Santiago Bernabeu, and every day we hear new rumours of who will be staying and who will be leaving. It may be a some time though before we hear what their real plans will turn out to be, both for the immediate future and for next season. One thing that does seem clear however is that Morientes will leave very soon, with Rafa Benítez's Liverpool the favourites to sign him up.
Whatever the case, the transfer market opens officially in Spain tomorrow, although it will not be until Monday that the LFP and federation offices open for business. There are however very few confirmed signings at the moment, and many clubs are waiting to see what happens in the opening games of the new year before making their minds up. Barcelona for example are expected to make a move soon to strengthen their squad, with Carew and Tacchinardi still favourites, although they say they don't want to be rushed into things. The first names which will be on the register will probably be Jesper Gronkjaer at Atlético Madrid and Yoshito Okubo at Mallorca, with Atlético's veteran midfielder Diego Simeone taking his bow to return home to Argentina and play out the end of his career at the club he has always supported, Racing Avellaneda. More should follow soon though, and we will try and keep you up to date on these pages. In the meantime we wish you all a happy new year. (31.12.04)