The 2017/18 La Liga season has been a remarkably difficult one for Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane.
Honestly, it's been a difficult one for everyone at the club - even Cristiano Ronaldo, the most prolific player in the history of La Liga, hasn't been able to avoid the misery as he's struggled to a measly four league goals.
Perhaps the most damning statistic of Real's league season is that Ronaldo is still the club's top scorer with those four goals; no one has been able to step up and no one has been able to stop the rot.
The man with the pressure on him to stop it is, of course, Zidane. The Frenchman has found himself in a pretty unique position as Real boss - managing to hold on to his job in relative comfort despite their terrible league record this season.
But that's what you earn by becoming the first manager to retain the Champions League - an almost unprecedented level of job security at a club with a reputation for impatience.
Despite winning La Liga last season, Zidane and Real currently sit on a record that is comfortably worse than the one Rafa Benitez was sacked for and yet the manager hasn't quite received any of the usual comments from the club about being close to the sack.
That's fairly impressive going at Real, a club that got rid of Vicente del Bosque and Fabio Capello days after their respective title wins, sacked Jose Mourinho a year after his, and only awarded Carlo Ancelotti one more season after he won them their long-awaited tenth Champions League trophy.
Still, Zidane hangs on - although the first sign that Real's higher-ups aren't working in complete harmony with him has arrived.
If you want to shake up a failing team without changing the managers, your best bet is to make some signings. Real are looking to do just that, with AS reporting that they have told Athletic Bilbao their plans to sign 23-year-old goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Bilbao took little time to reject any chance of them selling the player now, although he's out of contract in the summer. A new deal is on the table, but the club will be worried that his head could be turned by the prospect of Real's number one shirt.
It's been no secret that Real wanted Arrizabalaga and they've been monitoring the player for a while, but a move in this window was unexpected - even by Zidane.
The 45-year-old coach made it very clear last month that he wasn't looking to bring in a goalkeeper this month.
"I don't need a goalkeeper, I don't need a goalkeeper now," he said. "Later, if there are changes in June, we will sit down and talk about them.
"There may be positions to sign. The last two years nobody has come in. There comes a time where you can discuss it, but today, I don't see it. That's why I'm not talking about players who are not from my team, out of respect for my players."
It's a sure sign that Real are growing impatient with the way things are right now, with the team still not looking like turning things around anytime soon.
It also suggests that things aren't working quite as smoothly with Zidane as they were as recently as the summer - but if this is really as bad as it gets, he can consider himself incredibly fortunate.
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