Before the start of the World Cup in Brazil, all the talks of a fourth World Cup title for Germany hinged on their midfield. Although they had a decent defence and attack, it was in midfield that they were expected to shine. And the two players who were deemed to be crucial to their chances were two experienced campaigners in Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Although both players played their part in helping the Germans claim their first World Cup since 1990, the midfielder that came out of the World with enormous praise was Toni Kroos.
The 24-year-old went into Brazil on the back of a very good season with Bayern Munich and plenty of clubs already queuing for his signature including English giants Manchester United. After his stellar performances in Brazil, Kroos finds himself on his way to Real Madrid with his reputation firmly enhanced.
Now the question on every Real’s fans would be whether the club did the right thing in signing for him? Did they pay a lot for someone who just had one year left on his contract? Do the club really need him? They already have Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric, Sami Khedira and Asier Illaramendi to slot in at central midfield, do they need another one? Will he be a luxury signing or one that slots into the first-team directly and helps Real Madrid claim La Liga from their city rival’s hands?
Anybody who saw the action in Brazil would tell you that he was arguably his side’s best out-field player in Brazil and would definitely boost Real Madrid’s midfield. But the question isn’t about whether he would improve them, but rather about whether he is what they need. And the short answer to that would be a resounding yes.
Last season, Real Madrid primarily employed a 4-3-3 with Luka Modric and Xabi Alonso playing deep and Angel Di Maria playing as the more attacking midfielder. The signing of Kroos means that they have snapped up a world class midfielder who is just 24 and is one of those rare midfielders, who can play as both a defensive midfielder and an offensive one.
With Alonso reaching the twilight of his career and the imminent departure of Angel Di Maria, they needed someone to replace one or both of them. In Kroos, they have someone who can do both, depending on what the situation demands. He played as a central midfielder for Bayern Munich last season, but played as the more advanced midfielder in Germany’s three-man midfield.
With his unique ability to find his team-mates almost at will, Los Blancos will have one of Europe’s complete midfielders. Kroos is precise with his passing, tough in the tackle and has a good shot on him as well, which makes him the complete all-round threat that any side dreams of having in a midfielder.
With Real Madrid likely to play a two-man midfield against weaker opposition in League, Kroos can play alongside either Khedira or Modric and help both initiate and break down attacks from central midfield. Against tougher opposition, Carlo Ancelotti is likely to revert back to a midfield three and he will have the luxury of two very different options to choose from.
If Ancelotti wants a more dynamic and high-pressing midfield trio, he could go for Kroos, Modric and Khedira. On the other hand, if he wants a more solid base for the attack, he could go for Kroos and Alonso sitting deep, with Modric or Khedira operating slightly in front of them.
One thing this signing gives Real Madrid is tactical flexibility in central midfield and the opportunity to mix and match depending on the opposition at hand. Ancelotti would’ve certainly seen taken note of how Kroos found Robben and Ribery on the wings at will and that is certainly something he would want him to replicate with Ronaldo and Bale on either wings at Real.
At just 24, Kroos represents a wonderful acquisition for Real Madrid. He is someone that would not just help them replicate their success from last season, but also help them build on it.
Player value taken from Transfermarkt