MADRID: Real Madrid and neighbours Atletico fear they are about to be hit with two-window transfer bans by FIFA for breaching rules on signing foreign youngsters writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Spanish media reports suggest that, while an investigation by the world federation remains ongoing officially, the Spanish federation has been advised that the Madrid clubs will be punished as were Barcelona last year.

In the Barcelona case the Spanish federation was also fined and ordered to amend its rules. The assumption is that Real and Atletico were following FEF and not FIFA rules and hence have been judged equally at fault as Barcelona.

Real and Atletico, if barred for two windows, would certainly appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport with the aim of having the ban suspended pending a full hearing.

De Gea push

The delay would allow Real an opportunity to strengthen their squad this coming summer in full knowledge that they could not purchase anyone next January or summer of next year.

Inevitably, the fear of a transfer ban next year will increase the prospect of the world and European champions pressing Manchester United to sell goalkeeper David De Gea at the end of this season.

De Gea, the former Atletico goalkeeper who has one year remaining on his Old Trafford contract, has been identified by Real as ideal successor to veteran captain Iker Casillas.

The transfer ban threat has been accepted as probable by Madrid ever since the Barcelona case. Hence their recent intense transfer activity, starting last December with the purchase for €3.9m of teenage midfielder Marco Asensio (who remains on loan at Mallorca).

Nursery club

In January Real clinched the signings of Brazilian midfielder Lucas Silva from Cruzeiro for €14m and Norwegian ‘wonder boy’ Martin Odegaard from Stromgodset; he has been ‘farmed out’ to nursery club Castilla.

At the start of this month Real followed up by agreeing the €31m purchase of rightback Danilo da Silva from Porto. Madrid’s most expensive defgender will arrive in the summer.

Agreed purchases would not be affected by the ban, judging by the clearance Barcelona obtained to complete the arrivals of goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen from Borussia Monchengladbach and midfielder Alen Halilovic from Dinamo Zagreb.

Players out on loan, such as Real’s Brazilian midfielder Carlos Casemiro (Porto), Russian Denis Cheryshev (Villarreal) and Jose Rodríguez (Deportivo) and Atletico’s Dutch defender Toby Alderweireld (Southampton), Brazilian winger Leo Baptistão (Rayo) or Spanish midfielder Oliver Torres (Porto) could all be recalled.

The only faint hope for both clubs would be that Sepp Blatter, on his likely re-election as FIFA president next month, might grant a worldwide disciplinary amnesty in celebration.