At the biggest and richest club in the world, there seems to be little intent on spending big this summer. There are names which are heavily linked to the Spanish capital, but few of them are mere figments of the media’s imagination. Real Madrid’s transfer policy has undergone a change since last year and Los Blancos have decided to stick with the same policy this year. Real Madrid have preferred to go about their transfer business quietly, and have signed players as early as they can to avoid any bidding wars with rival clubs. The team does not need any major replacements but Jose Mourinho has already made some moves. The Spanish giants need to change their selling process as they keep their players late till the end of the transfer window and then sell them at bargain prices – a case in point being Rafael Van der Vaart last year. If they want to offload players, they need to do it quickly to obtain a good price. We look at the confirmed/ possible arrivals and departures, and assess their impact on the squad.
Casa Blanca have arguably the best goal keeper in the world in Iker Casillas. The club has undergone a change in this department as Antonio Adan has become the secondary choice, while Dudek has been given a fond farewell. There is no dearth of good keepers at Valdebebas and Tomas Mejias will surely make his way as the third keeper for this squad. Real Madrid will boast of goal keepers, who have all been nurtured at the prestigious academy from next season.
Primary option – Iker Casillas
Secondary option – Antonio Adan
Arrivals – Tomas Mejias as third choice keeper (to be promoted from Castilla)
Departures – Jerzy Dudek
With a central defense pairing of Carvalho and Pepe, Real Madrid has the perfect blend of brawn and brains. But the real problem would be the replacement of either of them, when they are suspended or injured. Raul Albiol fits in at times but he is not even close to the two big men. Garay is a good ball-playing defender but it seems that Jose Mourinho does not prefer him much and he likely to be sold. David Mateos will be back after his loan spell from AEK Athens and this might just be the catalyst to trigger the Garay sale. Lens’ defender Raphael Varane has also been linked to the club and with age on his side, he can only get better. This deal has good chances to going through with Zidane putting in a word and if it does, David Mateos might be sold to reduce the squad size. Also, Madrid have Sergio Ramos who can also deputize as a center back effortlessly.
Primary options – Pepe, Carvalho
Secondary options – Ramos, Albiol, Mateos
Possible arrivals – Raphael Varane
Possible departures – Ezequiel Garay
This is where the major fuss is currently. With reports of Fabio Coentrao signing for Real Madrid pouring in every day, it makes this area the most exciting to watch out. Marcelo and Sergio Ramos have been excellent last season with Marcelo, in particular, improving considerably to be considered as one of the best left backs in the world. Arbeloa has deputized whenever required and has won over Mourinho with his consistent performances. Now if Coentrao signs, it would be for the right back position as Mourinho clearly loves Marcelo. And if that happens, Ramos would move to central defense while Arbeloa will act as a cover for the new arrival. But Mourinho does not play with two over lapping full backs and one of them could have his wings clipped, which would be unjust to their talents. The new signing Hamit Altintop can also play as a right back, giving Mourinho more options. And we have Royston Drenthe on contract with the club who would be surely told to find a new club.
Primary options – Sergio Ramos, Marcelo
Secondary options – Alvaro Arbeloa, Nacho Fernandez, Hamit Altintop
Possible arrivals – Fabio Coentrao
Possible departures – Royston Drenthe
Real Madrid clearly have a plethora of talent in this crucial position. The arrival of Nuri Sahin clearly indicates that some of the current players might be out of favor with Mourinho and could be sold. Buying any other player in this area would be foolish and ridiculous. There will be departures and it remains to be seen who will leave. Selling Fernando Gago looks the most likely option and Lass also seems to be out of the scheme of things. Lass has been terrific for the club and has responded whenever he has been called upon. His transfer could bring back memories of the Makelele sale. Lass has unbelievable stamina, allowing him to hunt down the ball and break plays. Sami Khedira is more of a box-to-box player who cannot fully cover up for Lass’ strengths as his style of play is different to the Frenchman. But the arrival of Sahin could mean less playing time for Lass, hence his departure too looks likely and could fetch 15-20 million euros. Another area of concern is Ozil, Kaka and Canales eyeing for the playmaker role. Either Kaka could be sold or Canales could be loaned, with Ozil as the primary choice. Esteban Granero can always act as the utility player, giving lot of options to the manager.
Primary options – Xabi Alonso, Nuri Sahin, Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil
Secondary options – Pepe, Esteban Granero, Kaka
Possible departures – Lass Diarra, Fernando Gago, Kaka, Sergio Canales
The signing of Hamit Altintop and Callejon does not mean that they would replace any of the existing starters – Ronaldo and Di Maria. They are meant to give more options to the Portuguese tactician. The signings mean that Pedro Leon’s time is up at the club and he could be sold to give way to the Madrid youth product.
Primary options – Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria
Secondary options – Callejon, Altintop
Possible departures – Pedro Leon
Emmanuel Adebayor has been sent back, Higuain has returned to full match fitness, and Karim Benzema finally looks the player Madrid paid 35 million for. However, Real Madrid seem intent on signing another forward, and Santos forward Neymar looks to be the best bet to join the Spanish giants. Sergio Aguero is the other name that’s doing the rounds, but Madrid would be aware that signing Aguero would result in less playing time for the existing strikers, as Mourinho generally prefers single-striker formations. Aguero is undoubtedly talented, but a 45 million buyout clause and a transfer from derby rivals looks improbable. Neymar is young, has potential and could be willing to wait in the dug-out for opportunities, but his price tag is also too heavy. The signing of either of them could mean a loan spell for Alvaro Morata, the Real Madrid Castilla star, who was assuring in his displays for the senior team. Morata should be given a chance to establish himself in the first team, but Madrid could send him on loan so that he can gain some experience. It’s a tricky choice for the club but the fans would love no signings in this department and instead prefer Alvaro Morata as the third choice striker.
Primary options – Gonzalo Higuain
Secondary option – Karim Benzema
Possible arrivals – Sergio Aguero, Neymar, Alvaro Morata