Real Madrid-Schuster soap opera reaching happy ending?

By Duncan Shaw, IANS

Madrid : Could the Real Madrid-Bernd Schuster soap opera finally be coming to a happy ending?

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Sports daily AS has claimed that, at last, this is the case.

According to AS, Schuster has told Angel Torres, president of Getafe, his current club, that he would give him a cheque Monday morning to cover the 480,000-euro ($652,000) indemnity fee for unilaterally breaking his Getafe contract.

Schuster is under contract at Getafe until June 2008 and Torres has insisted that either the German coach or Real pay this indemnity before leaving the club.

Real president Ramon Calderon – daggers drawn with Torres – has refused to pay, and AS claimed that Schuster now realises that if he does not pay up himself then the soap opera might drag on all summer – and Calderon might look for another coach.

So Schuster's plan is to pay Torres Monday than be presented to the media as the new Real coach in the evening. According to AS, Calderon has meticulously prepared a solemn ceremony to welcome Schuster to the club, including a presidential speech in German.

Torres will then announce that Schuster will be replaced as Getafe coach by Michael Laudrup, who has been patiently waiting in the wings for three weeks, keen to be confirmed in his first Spanish coaching job.

This soap opera has been dragging on since March when Calderon apparently asked Schuster to take over the Real bench from Fabio Capello, who was sacked two weeks ago.

Rival Madrid sports daily Marca, for its part, prefers to concentrate on Real's transfer plans.

Marca claimed that Real are planning to offer winger Robinho in exchange for Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas, one of the players promised to the fans by Calderon in his election campaign 12 months ago.

The other players promised by Calderon, Milan's Kaka and Arjen Robben of Chelsea, are also summer transfer targets.

Marca claimed that if Arsenal reject the Robinho-Fabregas swap then Real will offer between 35 and 40 million euros for Fabregas and Jose Antonio Reyes, who were loaned out to Real by Arsenal last season.

According to Marca, Schuster has been in "constant contact" with Real sporting director Pedja Mijatovic for at least three weeks about the club's summer transfer policy.

It was Schuster who, three months ago, recommended that Real sign German defender Christoph Metzelder, who was finishing his contract at Borussia Dortmund.

And according to AS, it is Schuster who is insisting that Mijatovic sign young left-back Royston Drenthe from Feyenoord.