Alaba, Aubameyang, Courtois, Dybala – Real Madrid back in for big names as transfer ban ends
Los Blancos were hit with a two-window transfer embargo by FIFA, but that has been reduced and now a marquee signing could arrive in the summer
With the winter window now shut, Real Madrid can sign players once again. The European champions saw their transfer ban cut in half on appeal and, after being unable to recruit in January, Los Blancos can now look ahead and plan for the summer.
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Goal understands Madrid are happy with the current squad, with quality in all areas and a healthy mix of youth and experience. In the meantime, there are also a number of talented young players out on loan who could return and boost the overall quality at the disposal of Zinedine Zidane in time for next season.
Nevertheless, Madrid are almost always active when it comes to signing players and, if the club can improve the team in any area, new names will no doubt arrive in the summer.
In goal, Real remain happy with Keylor Navas, despite recent criticism for the Costa Rica shot-stopper who is still short of his best after undergoing an operation in the summer. Thibaut Courtois is an alternative to the Central American and the Belgian would welcome a return to Spain (despite his past with Atletico). He is out of contract in 2019 and has yet to renew. However, his signing would represent a significant outlay for Madrid.
David De Gea looks unlikely to arrive any time soon, though. The Manchester United goalkeeper was on the verge of signing in 2015, but ended up staying at Old Trafford after the paperwork for his signing failed to arrive before the transfer deadline. Meanwhile, third-choice goalkeeper Ruben Yanez is out of contract in 2018 and could leave the club.
There could be some changes in defence as well. Pepe has been out injured for some time and his renewal has been put off, with a move to China a possibility for the Portugal centre-back. Meanwhile, Jesus Vallejo and Diego Llorente will be back at the club after spells away on loan.
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Madrid need to strengthen the full-back positions. Danilo has not been good enough since signing from Porto in 2015 and Fabio Coentrao has hardly featured despite an injury crisis in that sector. Real are interested in both David Alaba and Ricardo Rodriguez, although a move for the Austrian looks extremely difficult. The Swiss defender, meanwhile, is out of contract in 2019 and could be a target, while Madrid are also carefully monitoring the progress of their Moroccan youth player Achraf Hakimi, who was called up for the Copa del Rey game at Celta Vigo recently.
The midfield is also in need of some renewal. Marcos Llorente is set to stay this time after leaving on loan to spend the current campaign with Alaves, while Madrid have looked at Julian Weigl, Joshua Kimmich and Marco Verratti in recent times.
The presence of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro means those are unlikely to arrive, but there could be some movement further forward as Isco is yet to agree a new contract and the future of James Rodriguez remains up in the air. The Colombian, currently sidelined, has endured another difficult season and may be moved on in the summer window. Julian Brandt, Marco Reus and Bernardo Silva are all possibilities if Real feel the need to bring in another player in that sector, although there are also some exciting talents in the youth team. Martin Odegaard, sent on loan to Heerenveen, is no longer among them though.
It is in attack, however, that Real really love to sign new players. Although Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez have been performing at a good level, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are still the foundations of this sporting project at the Santiago Bernabeu, there could be some changes in the summer. Karim Benzema is out of form and has received criticism of late, while Alvaro Morata – wanted by Antonio Conte at Chelsea – is frustrated at his secondary role despite being happy overall since his return to the club last summer.
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Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has said he needs to move to a bigger club and has always admitted it is his dream to play for Madrid, so he could be an option to strengthen the forward line in the summer. And so too could Paulo Dybala, who is being watched by Barcelona as well. In the meantime, both Mariano and Borja Mayoral could end up leaving if Madrid bring in more forwards this summer.
A lot can happen between here and the end of the season as some of the current squad play for their futures at the Santiago Bernabeu, but with Los Blancos’ ban now over, expect the club to make some exciting additions in the summer window.