For once, Real Madrid have been extremely quiet during the summer transfer window. Naturally, last year’s quarter billion euro spending spree meant that Los Blancos would have to stick to a reduced budget over the next few seasons, but even so, the amount spent so far is virtually nothing when the world’s biggest and richest club is involved.

After losing their Spanish flair throughout the noughties, Florentino Perez re-assumed the presidency almost a year ago, declaring publicly that he intended to re-establish the club’s Spanish identity, lost in recent years amidst an influx of Brazilians, Dutch, Argentine and even English players. Sergio Ramos and Jose Antonio Reyes, who signed for a season-long loan, were the only two Spaniards that Real made business with during the 2000-2009 period.

As such, the Real Madrid president recalled youth products Alvaro Arbeloa, Alvaro Negredo, and Esteban Granero to their original club, and signed Valencia gem Raul Albiol for €15M. Negredo was eventually shipped to La Liga guns Sevilla, but Arbeloa and Albiol, and to a lesser extent, Granero, imposed themselves as key pillars of the Merengue starting squad.

Out with the Old, In with the New

The arrival of La Liga sensations Sergio Canales and Pedro Leon confirms Perez’s intention to rejuvenate the squad. Both players are under 23, known names prior to their move to the Bernabeu, and are two of Spain’s leading lights. Perhaps more importantly, the duo have been bagged for a relatively low outlay of €15M. Not much considering their enormous potential and the heights that they will reach should predictions about their careers materialise.

The entrance of both Leon and Canales truly marks the beginning of a new era for the Royal club. The departure of club captain Raul and midfield live-wire Guti, off to new pastures at Schalke and Besiktas respectively, meant that the Madrid hierarchy were entitled to replace the duo with fresh new Spanish blood, players that can really embrace the notion of “Madridismo” and go on to be true club legends in their own right.

Sergio Canales and Pedro Leon might hail from Santander and Murcia, respectively, but who’s to say that the pair cannot earn the masses’ affection? Raul after all, was born an Atletico Madrid supporter and made his way through their ranks for a couple of years, while Sergio Ramos is considered one of Real’s own, despite hailing from Andalucia.

Where do they fit?

Canales and Leon are sure to add extra depth to the Real Madrid squad. Pedro Leon is a powerful and fast right-winger, very dangerous from free kicks, while Sergio Canales is a gifted attacking midfielder/trequartista, meaning that he is able to slot anywhere in Guti or Raul’s positions on the pitch.

That however, does not guarantee either player a starting berth.

A lot has been asked about the formation that Jose Mourinho will adopt at his new team. Those who know the tactician are well versed with his passion and love for the blunt 4-3-3, but such a formation would nullify the effect of Kaka, who is best suited to the attacking midfielder role. Furthermore, Mourinho is apparently very keen to help the Brazilian superstar rediscover his old Milan self, meaning that any formation adopted will surely revolve around Kaka.

This leaves the 4-2-3-1 and the 4-2-1-3. Both formations are in reality nearly identical, with the only real difference being the position of the wingers on the pitch. With Cristiano Ronaldo and new boy Angel di Maria occupying the flanks, the central attacking berth is Kaka’s, while the front-man position will probably be occupied by Gonzalo Higuain. Concerning the double pivot, World Cup winner Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira seem to be Mourinho’s favourite pair. Should Khedira not make the expected impact, Lassana Diarra will slot back next to Alonso, after losing his place towards the middle of last season to Fernando Gago.

That is not to say that both starlets will be out of Mourinho’s plans for the season, but the truth remains that The Special One was brought for one reason, and that’s to achieve immediate success at Real Madrid. As such, don’t bet on him sticking around after winning a few trophies with the club. The former Inter supremo is a short-term project. Leon and Canales are not.

Madridistas are generally pleased with the direction that the club is taking when buying new players. While the crowd would love to see more Rauls and Gutis being promoted all the way to the first team, the signing of young, capable players is a step in the right direction. Canales and Leon are some distance away from establishing themselves as household names, let alone first teamers at a club the size of Real Madrid, but both possess huge potential and can be crucial to Los Blancos’ future.