Monday, July 4, 2022

Real Madrid transfer window priorities: Kylian Mbappe didn’t come, Aurelien Tchouameni did; Can they add more?

Real Madrid’s improbable run to Champions League glory once again validated the unmatched greatness of the Spanish club and how it is never wise to count them out. Underdogs against PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool, they had attacking explosions from the round of 16 to the semifinals before grinding out an unexpected victory over Liverpool in the final thanks to Vinicius Jr.’s goal and Thibaut Courtois legendary performance in net. Remember, they lost to a team most hadn’t even heard of in Sheriff Tiraspol in the group stage, only to then finish the season as the kings of Europe for a record 14th time. 

Looking ahead to next season, they are obviously going to be considered favorites to win it again. The La Liga champions also to figure to get better, keeping their core while adding to it. They may have missed out on superstar Kylian Mbappe, with the French striker staying at PSG, but they are pretty set in attack with the world’s best player in Karim Benzema and a budding superstar in Vinicius Jr.

Here’s a look at how things stand with the Real Madrid squad, who they could and should go after and much more:

Real Madrid goalkeeper outlook

  • Staying: Courtois
  • Joining: None at the moment
  • Loan option: Andriy Lunin

The position is in safe hands as Courtois showed in the final with his masterful display. He gave evidence for one to argue that he is the best goalkeeper in the world with his unbelievable saves against a red-hot Liverpool attack. Los Blancos are set at that position with the Belgian, and Andriy Lunin is a highly-rated Ukrainian player who is his backup. Lunin has star potential, so it wouldn’t really be all that surprising to see another loan move for him, having already gone to Leganes, Valladolid and Oviedo. 

Ideal moves: Courtois is only 30, so there really isn’t a need to make any moves of note. There have been links to Gabriel Slolina, with the young American having no shortage of suitors, though any transfer would likely involve a loan back to his current club, the Chicago Fire. Adding a young prospect makes a ton of sense as they look down the road. Somebody like Maarten Vandervoordt of Genk would be a wise move, but acquiring him would also likely have to come with a loan move somewhere to get minutes. 

Real Madrid defense outlook

  • Staying: Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, David Alaba, Nacho, Ferland Mendy
  • Joining: Antonio Rudiger
  • Returning from loan: Alvaro Odriozola
  • Leaving: Marcelo
  • Uncertain future: Jesus Vallejo
  • Loan option: Mario Gila, Miguel Gutierrez, Rafael Zamora

Los Blancos, for all the money that they spend, now have Militao and then the free transfers of Alaba last season and Rudiger this season. With Nacho’s versatility, there is no need to worry about that center back depth. Odriozola is a player with a high ceiling that just hasn’t made the expected impact at fullback, but maybe he will get another chance. They would be wise to add to the fullback position as Marcelo leaves, but Alaba can also play there. 

Ideal moves: Going after a full back like Valencia captain Jose Luis Gaya makes plenty of sense, while Marcos Alonso of Chelsea would also be interesting, though he’s already played for the club and looks closer to a Barcelona move if he returns to Spain. They have enough talent coming up the pipeline to not have to worry, but Dani Carvajal isn’t getting any younger. Look for them to add a young piece at fullback.

Real Madrid midfield outlook

  • Staying: Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Marcos Asensio, Casemiro, Federico Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga
  • Returning from loan: Reinier
  • Leaving: Isco

  • Arriving: Aurelien Tchouameni
  • Uncertain futures: Dani Ceballos
  • Loan army options: Antonio Blanco, Peter

The established midfield is only set to get better. The iconic trio of Kroos, Modric and Casemiro will continue to lead this team moving forward, with Modric just signing a new contract through the summer of 2023. There are certain departures with Isco out the door on a free transfer, while it’s hard to see a spot for Ceballos in the squad. Already with tremendous midfield depth thanks to Camavinga and the versatility of Valverde, they are expected to add to that this summer.

Ideal moves: With the move for French youngster Aurelien Tchouameni from AS Monaco already wrapped up, what more do they want? They need to figure out what they have in Reinier, but they don’t have to tinker all that much with the position, in truth. They will have as loaded of a midfield as one could really imagine, and if anything some young prospects from South America would make a ton of sense. Landing Tchouameni almost certainly means they won’t be in the Paul Pogba sweepstakes, if they ever really were.

Real Madrid attack outlook

  • Staying: Karim Benzema, Vinicius Jr., Rodrygo
  • Returning from loan: Borja Mayoral, Takefusa Kubo
  • Leaving: Gareth Bale, Mariano
  • Uncertain futures: Luka Jovic, Eden Hazard
  • Loan option: Juan Latasa

They need to make some moves here, and I think they’ll make a big splash. It’s Real Madrid, and it is what they do. Mayoral likely isn’t viewed as good enough, Jovic hasn’t been good enough, Bale is gone and Mariano surely will be looking for minutes elsewhere. Kubo could definitely stick around due to how much promise he has, but they could use a backup striker or a big one to take over for Benzema in a couple of seasons. Their wing depth also could use a boost with Hazard having not worked out at all.

Ideal moves: There have been links to Gabriel Jesus, but he probably won’t want to be a backup again, will he? Mohamed Salah certainly isn’t happening, he’s staying at Liverpool one more season, but there has been buzz lately about Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling. He would be a pricey player to acquire, but that hasn’t stopped them before. Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak would make sense for plenty of reasons, and he offers a different style than that of Benzema. Also, going after Benfica’s Darwin Nunez might have proved wise, though his future likely rests in Liverpool. But getting Isak and then trying to lure somebody like Bukayo Saka of Arsenal or another young budding star could set Los Blancos up nicely long term after the disappointment of Mbappe staying in France.

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