ZINEDINE ZIDANE stopped Real Madrid from completing a deal for Athletic Bilbao stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga last month.
At least that’s what Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has now claimed while assessing La Liga’s January transfer business.
Real have endured a terrible season by their high standards and were tipped to overhaul their squad over the winter.
Kepa was heavily linked with a move to the Bernabeu with the future of current No 1 Keylor Navas perennially in question.
Real ultimately failed to secure a deal for the 23-year-old though, with no incomings sorted out by Florentino Perez last month.
And Balague has now revealed under-fire boss Zidane stepped in to prevent Real from signing Kepa.
"Given Real Madrid's problems in La Liga this season, you may have expected them to act in the transfer window," he told Sky Sports.
"But while they agreed personal terms with Athletic Bilbao keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and he even passed the medical, Zinedine Zidane blocked the move."
Balague also explained why Real did not sign Mauro Icardi to replace misfiring striker Karim Benzema.
"For now they did not want Mauro Icardi, either, who was desperate to join from Inter Milan," he added.
Real are currently 19 points adrift of arch-rivals and leaders Barcelona in La Liga.
They’ll be hoping to reduce that deficit when they play host to Real Sociedad on Saturday.
Real ran out 3-1 winners when they faced Eusebio Sacristan’s side at the Anoeta in September.