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.
|Solskjaer to United: Red Devils´ interim boss in numbers|
|Solskjaer to United: Other Ferguson pupils who became teachers|
|BREAKING NEWS: Manchester United appoint Solskjaer until end of season|
|Kane a doubt for north London derby|
|Mourinho sacking changes things – Tuchel|
|Nets top Lakers in Brooklyn, extend winning streak to six games|
|LeBron on Lakers potentially acquiring Davis: That would be amazing|
|Rain helps Sri Lanka claim draw against New Zealand|
|Mourinho had to ´take the consequences´, says Klopp|
|Ausilio: Icardi has offer on table, won´t be sold to Juve|
|Chargers lead NFL Pro Bowl selections, Brees named NFC starting QB|
|Pro Bowl 2019: Chargers lead NFL with 7 selections, Drew Brees named NFC starting QB|
|Savea re-signs with All Blacks, Hurricanes|
|Flanagan facing de-registration as Sharks, Tigers cop huge fines|
|Napoli rejected £95m offer for Koulibaly amid United links – De Laurentiis|
|Kovac feels for axed United boss Mourinho|
|Rabiot, we do not need you – PSG fans respond to wantaway midfielder|
|Guardiola hails assured debut from Man City youngster Garcia|
|He´s very happy at Tottenham – Arsenal boss Emery wants Pochettino to reject Manchester United|
|Rams sign RB C.J. Anderson|
|Good luck with the Red Devils - Norway PM´s message for Solskjaer|
|Pogba was ´dancing on the grave´ of Mourinho - Neville|
|Solskjaer set to replace Mourinho after Man United gaffe|
|City signing Steffen up to Guardiola´s goalkeeper demands, says Berhalter|
|Mourinho is so strong - Guardiola backing for fallen rival|
|Mourinho? Ausilio dismisses Inter return after United sacking|
|Whyte needs to raise his game to beat Chisora again - Haye|
|Brussino leads late Tenerife rally as Venezia down Holon|
|Orleans 1 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Super sub Diaby sends holders through|
|Leicester City 1 Manchester City 1 (1-3 on penalties): Muric stands tall in poor shoot-out|
|Middlesbrough 0 Burton Albion 1: League One side reach semi-finals|
|Bologna 0 AC Milan 0: Bakayoko sent off as Inzaghi claims point against former side|
|Fortuna Dusseldorf 2 Borussia Dortmund 1: Bundesliga leaders suffer shock first loss|
|Rivera yet to make a call on sitting Panthers QB Newton|
|Pulisic would thrive in Premier League, but Berhalter expects Dortmund stay|
|Raptors coach Nurse fined by NBA for criticising referees|
|Solari ´loves´ struggling Real Madrid star Isco|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba, Lukaku, Fred and his other Man United signings rated|
|Mourinho sacked: What does it mean for Manchester United players?|
|Ibrahimovic provides short-term pain, long-term gain for US - Berhalter|
|River Plate 2 Al Ain 2 (aet, 4-5 on penalties): Perez misses decisive spot kick|
|De Bruyne and Aguero back for City, surprise debut for Garcia|
|Uncapped Varun ´panicked a little´ after huge IPL deal|
|Replays scrapped for FA Cup fifth round|
|Pochettino readies big guns for Gunners|
|Ex-Wasps star Wade struggling with NFL transition|
|BCCI rejects ´baseless´ claims over Kohli-Paine ´banter´|
|Ibrahimovic re-signs with LA Galaxy for 2019|
|Mourinho sacked: Solari not worried for Real Madrid job|
|Mourinho sacked: 895 days and more than £700,000 in five-star luxury|
|ES Tunis 1 Guadalajara 1 (6-5 on penalties): Dhaouadi holds nerve to settle ill-tempered affair|
|Murphy lands permanent Tigers role|
|Mourinho sacked: Real Madrid´s Marcelo lauds ´great coach´ after United exit|
|Unadkat, Varun the top buys at IPL auction|
|Emery prepared to give youth a chance in north London derby|
|Tottenham extend Vertonghen contract until 2020|
|Panthers safety Reid receives seventh random drug test of 2018|
|Kovac relishing Klopp challenge in Champions League|
|Bancroft to return, teenager Lamichhane to fly the flag for Nepal in Big Bash|
|Liverpool still have plenty of work to do - Klopp|
|Messi ´never imagined´ his success after winning record fifth Golden Shoe|
|WATCH: Timberwolves´ Gibson tries to block shot with his trainer|
|Mourinho sacked: Klopp praises departed Manchester United boss|
|Mourinho sacked: Jose the best Manchester United manager since Ferguson - Gerrard|
|Mourinho sacked: Ferdinand calls for ´fresh ideas´ at Man United|
|Mourinho sacked: The mystique has gone as United spell ends in divorce|
|´He´s an interest not only for us but for many´ - Zola praises rumoured Chelsea target Wilson|
|Mourinho sacked: Pochettino focused on Spurs amid Manchester United rumours|
|Mendis eyes double-century for departing Samaraweera|
|Mourinho sacked: Zola expects Jose to be in another job ´soon´|