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Since taking charge at Real Madrid in 2000, Florentino Perez has been the most profligate president in world football, capturing the headlines by splashing out massively on 'galactico' stars like Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.

Two years ago, after the 2014 World Cup, he again played the Big Spender by buying Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich and James Rodriguez from Monaco.

Perez seemed set fair to continue buying the best on the market, especially given that he had firmly established The Whites at the top of the Deloitte Football Money League with an annual income of 577 million euros (649 million US dollars).

However, Perez has been strangely passive since 2014, making only a handful of 'bread and butter' signings, to the astonishment of the football world.

For example, Real coach Zidane was reportedly desperate for Perez to buy France midfielder Paul Pogba from Juventus this summer. Instead, Perez strangely stood aside and allowed Manchester United to sign Pogba for a new world record fee of 105 million euros.

This shattered the new record created by Perez in 2013 - when he signed Bale from Tottenham for 100 million. But 'El Presidente' didn't seem to mind.

Zidane then reportedly asked Perez to sign Andre Gomes from Valencia, but 'El Presidente' sat on his hands and allowed Barcelona to snatch the promising Portugal midfielder - and did very little to tempt Robert Lewandowski away from Bayern Munich.

"After two summers and no new 'galacticos' heading to the Bernabeu, Perez' powers of persuasion seem on the wane," commented British paper The Sun.

Neither does Perez seem very enthusiastic about signing ex-Barcelona star Cesc Fabregas, who is reportedly unhappy at Chelsea.

"Perez' lack of activity in the transfer market is bizarre, unexpected," commented Radio Marca.

"The Real Madrid fans are used to at least one big signing every summer and they are now getting frustrated."

Maybe Perez thinks his squad is sufficiently strong after winning the Champions League in 2014 and 2016. Or maybe the club's finances are not as healthy as they seem to be in public.

Or maybe Perez is finally determined to give a chance to Spanish youngsters, after years of expensive foreign 'galacticos'.

Interestingly, Real's only two significant moves this summer have been to bring Alvaro Morata back from Juventus and Marco Asensio back from Espanyol.

Meanwhile, Barca have been busy buying a group of promising 22 year-olds - Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Digne, Andre Gomes, Denis Suarez and possibly also Paco Alcacer - in order to shore up a squad that looked painfully thin towards the end of last summer.

Even neighbours Atletico - who are normally small spenders compared to their wealthy city rivals - have spent more than Real this summer, splashing out a total of 80 million euros on Kevin Gameiro, Nicolas Gaitan, Sime Vrsaljko and Diogo Jota. 

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