Mourinho determined to strengthen Real with young Germans

Madrid, July 17: Jose Mourinho is determined to build a powerful young team at Real Madrid - and is looking towards Germany for help.

The Portuguese coach has been given the difficult task of ending the hegemony of Barcelona, who have won La Liga four times in the past six years.

On Friday the most expensive coach on Planet Football started work in Madrid, and quickly laid down the law as regards punctuality, clothes, attitude, food and fitness.

Also on Friday, young midfielder Pedro Leon from Getafe was presented as the club's third summer signing, after Sergio Canales and Angel Di Maria.

Mourinho was very impressed with Germany's young team at the World Cup and is now keen to strengthen his squad with a couple of Joachim Loew's youngsters.

On Wednesday Stuttgart's Sami Khedira flew in to Madrid to talk to Mourinho, and the whites are now close to signing the defensive midfielder for around 10 million euros (12.94 million dollars).

On Saturday Madrid sports daily AS claimed that Real's priority, after clinching the Khedira deal, was to sign Mesut Oezil - another of Germany's World Cup stars - from Werder Bremen.

AS also reminded its readers that Real are also interested in Bayern Munich idols Bastien Schweinsteiger and Thomas Mueller.

Rival daily Marca, for its part, carried on its front page yet another young German: Mario Gomez of Bayern, who was a reserve at the World Cup. Marca claimed that Mourinho wanted the club to sign Gomez in case veteran captain Raul finally decides to leave.

Marca, always close to Real president Florentino Perez, claimed that the whites are prepared to swap playmaker Rafael Van der Vaart for Gomez.

Real have a long tradition of signing German players - considered to be physically powerful, technically strong and hard-working - whilst Barcelona have tended more to sign Dutchmen.

In the 1970s the Estadio Bernabeu was graced by Guenter Netzer and Paul Breitner. In the 1980s the motor of the Real midfield was Uli Stielike.

The latest Germans to play for Real have been Bodo Illgner - the goalkeeper in the 1998 Champions League triumph - and Christoph Metzelder, who has just returned to Die Bundesliga after three years spent largely on the subs' bench in Madrid.

Mourinho is quoted by AS Saturday as saying: "I am going to follow what has always been the philosophy of Real Madrid: signing players with a future projection, players with a large margin for improvement. We are going after Khedira because he has a great capacity for improvement."

The coach added that "we need a new defender and a midfielder, but with balance and without drama. There is a strong base from last season. Signing players is complicated because when Real are interested in someone the price goes up in an astronomical way."

He finished the interview by saying, possibly ominously, that "the best club in the world cannot go for two or three years without winning anything."

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