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.
|Football needs people like Arsene - Pires keen for Wenger return|
|Abbas five-for torments woeful Australia as Pakistan take control|
|Henry: Wenger and Guardiola inspirations for my coaching career|
|Pires backs Henry and Vieira for Ligue 1 success|
|Bolt rejects Valletta offer|
|Wenger ready for January return to management – but where?|
|NBA 2018-19: The LeBron James effect on teams he has joined|
|Svitolina qualifies for WTA Finals after Pliskova loses|
|Genoa will sell ´superstar´ Piatek, admits president|
|Moutinho targets European qualification with Wolves|
|Embiid: 76ers-Celtics isn´t a rivalry, they always kick our a**|
|Vinicius ´calm´ as he waits for Real Madrid chance|
|Nothing else to say - Ramos posts clip of supposed Sterling stamp|
|Chiellini joins Mind the Gap campaign to help players prepare for retirement|
|Injured Kusal Perera replaced by Kusal Mendis in Sri Lanka squad|
|Big names return for Scotland´s November Tests|
|Essien tells Loftus-Cheek to stay and fight for Chelsea chance|
|Nainggolan relishing challenge of first Milan derby|
|Curry: Slap me if I tire of championship celebrations|
|Sevilla don´t fear Messi or Barca – Kjaer|
|Low: Dropped Muller is still very important for Germany|
|Hayward put ´dark memories´ behind him with Celtics return|
|I hope I´m in Klopp´s good books! - Koeman jokes after resting Wijnaldum|
|Rested Fellaini should be fit for Manchester United, says Martinez|
|France´s mentality must be right - Lloris|
|Bellinger seals dramatic win as Dodgers level up NLCS|
|Curry, Durant lead Warriors past Thunder|
|Kjaer surprised by LaLiga-leading Sevilla as Machin´s men remain grounded|
|A-League preview: Honda the big arrival as fascinating season awaits|
|Mexico 0 Chile 1: Sanchez helps La Roja to late win|
|Celtics too good for 76ers in NBA opener|
|United States 1 Peru 1: Flores salvages late draw for visitors|
|Martinez not worried about Belgium depth|
|Red Sox move ahead of Astros in ALCS|
|Depay ´a joy to watch´, says Koeman|
|Timberwolves owner looking to trade Butler, backs Thibodeau|
|Shepard says Giants have ´total faith´ in Manning|
|Hazard is out of this world – De Ligt enjoys Belgium test|
|Tite: Brazil were better than Argentina|
|Foley eyes World Cup after re-signing with Wallabies, Waratahs|
|Low slams decisive France penalty call|
|I fined him for his goal at Old Trafford! Giggs delighted for Wales hero Wilson|
|Matuidi lauds Deschamps´ tactical nous after Germany win|
|Scaloni excited by Argentina despite Brazil loss|
|Tsonga back in business, Dzumhur dumped out in Moscow|
|Germany suffer six defeats in a year for first time|
|Many clubs have asked about Piatek - agent|
|Bartomeu: Barca open to defensive reinforcements after Vermaelen injury|
|Bonn spoil PAOK´s landmark European game|
|Konta conquers Mertens in Moscow|
|Republic of Ireland 0 Wales 1: Wilson stunner moves Giggs´ side top|
|France 2 Germany 1: Griezmann delivers Low blow as Les Bleus reign in Paris|
|Belgium 1 Netherlands 1: Groeneveld cancels out Mertens strike|
|Argentina 0 Brazil 1: Miranda heads late winner after rivalry fails to ignite|
|Messi would struggle in this Manchester United team – Scholes|
|Falcons place Devonta Freeman on injured reserve|
|Westbrook ruled out of Thunder opener|
|Wilder´s team open to Joshua talks|
|Brentford appoint Thomas Frank as new head coach|
|England´s perfect performance sets the standard - Trippier|
|Odell Beckham Jr. needs to create headlines on the field, says Giants owner|
|Robshaw joins list of England absentees|
|Chile need goals from Sanchez despite United form - Rueda|
|Modric reveals Ronaldo respect, ´will never play with´ Messi|
|Osaka can be one of the greats, says coach Sascha Bajin|
|Liverpool´s Naby Keita carried off injured in Guinea match|
|Duminy to miss Australia tour for shoulder surgery|
|F1 Raceweek: Ferrari ready to ´challenge the impossible´ as Hamilton nears title|
|Umesh replaces injured Thakur in ODI squad|
|IAAF delay implementation of testosterone ruling amid Semenya challenge|