?Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has plenty of supreme midfield talents, players who can dictate the game and can link play exceptionally well.
But there has been a lack of creativity in midfield and that has once again been made abundantly clear this season. The fact that Sergio Ramos, a central defender, is the club’s second-top goalscorer in the league in 2019/20 speaks volumes about the issue at hand.
To that end, between Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Fede Valverde, Casemiro, Isco and James Rodriguez, they have managed just the 16 assists in La Liga in 2019/20. A source recently confirmed to 90min that Modric, Kroos and Isco are all at risk of being sold as Real look to overhaul their ageing midfield – James also appears set for the exit door.
As a result, Zidane will be on the lookout for a new creative midfielder, so we take a look at six players Real should and could realistically target when the transfer window opens…
Right, let’s start with the obvious one, shall we?
It is hard to remember a day in recent memory where Paul Pogba hasn’t been linked with ?Real Madrid. The French World Cup winner has struggled with injuries for ?Manchester United this season, but while he has his critics, his quality is undoubted. Pogba’s domineering presence mixed with his ability to effortlessly glide around the pitch, pinging passes to his teammates is what makes him so special – and so difficult to play against.
?A source has confirmed to 90min that Pogba’s priority remains to join Real once the transfer window opens as he is keen to work under Zidane. But although Los Blancos do still hold an interest in him, the cost of a potential deal could prove to be an issue. However, should United bring in their first-choice transfer targets in the next window, they may just be inclined to part ways with ?Pogba for a second time if a reasonable offer is made.
Potential Price: £80m-110m
Donny van de Beek
Another player who continues to be seemingly ‘on the verge’ of joining Real Madrid is Donny van de Beek of Ajax. The 23-year-old can play either in an attacking midfield role, or in central midfield – something that will undoubtedly be appealing to Zidane.
But what would be most alluring is Van de Beek’s eye for goal. The Dutch midfielder managed 17 goals and 13 assists from attacking midfield last season, and he’s continued that fine form this term. In 2019/20, Van de Beek has operated as both a central midfielder, and in an attacking role – grabbing ten goals and 11 assists for his side.
Van de Beek would be an excellent addition to Real’s squad and he would provide some much-needed creativity and goal threat from midfield, but as ?he said himself recently, he will only join a club if he is sure he will be playing regularly and that he fits into the system.
Potential Price: £40m-50m
Fabian Ruiz has also long been on Real Madrid’s watch list, but the ?Napoli man is a different type of midfielder to Pogba and Van de Beek. Fabian is capable of playing at the base of midfield, in the centre, in an attacking role or on either wing, making him a valuable squad player.
The problem for Real, however, is that they’re lacking creativity – goals and assists, to be precise. And the Spaniard’s numbers aren’t exactly groundbreaking, but football isn’t all about the statistics. Fabian is a world-class talent, with his outstanding passing ability, vision and understanding of the game. The likes of Karim Benzema would also thrive off someone like Fabian’s ability to play an eye-of-the-needle pass.
The 24-year-old could provide the right balance for Los Blancos and Zidane in the heart of the midfield, but there is plenty of competition for his signature. However, Real could look to strike a deal with Napoli ?by offering Lucas Vazquez in exchange.
Potential Price: £45m-55m
Real Madrid sure do love buying talented young Brazilians, so why not Igor Gomes?
Of course, naturally, Los Blancos are ?already said to be set to make an offer for the 21-year-old, who has been dubbed the ‘new Kaka’. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s even considered by some to be an ?’improved version.’
The attacking midfielder may not necessarily have the best statistics in terms of goals or assists (yet), and this is something he’ll have to work on, but Gomes has the creativity and understanding of the game that will allow him to flourish at Madrid. Learning from those around him, he will only improve, and that is a scary thought for future opponents.
An elegant yet powerful midfielder, Gomes has already featured for Brazil at Under-23 level and is being tipped for a call-up to the national side in the not-too-distant future. His ability on the ball is there for all to see, but the youngster has already captained Sao Paulo as he has become a hugely influential member of the team.
Gomes won’t come cheap as he is said to have €50m release clause in his deal, but this hasn’t stopped Los Blancos from snapping up young Brazilian talents before.
Potential Price: £35m-45m
16-year-old Rayan Cherki has made a real name for himself at Lyon this season. It’s astonishing how ?complete Cherki is as a footballer despite his tender years, with his dazzling skill, lightning-quick feet, vision and overall intelligence already just a few of his key attributes.
Cherki can operate either in midfield, as a creative playmaker, or on either wing as well as up front as a striker. The Lyon man has dominated at youth level, and he’s made the step up to the first team effortlessly. In a Coupe de France match earlier this season, Cherki bagged two goals and two assists to help his side edge past Nantes – it was a masterful display.
He’s not a ready-made creative midfielder who will slot into the first team straight away, but Cherki is destined for big things. ?He’s said to be determined to join Real this summer, but instead of continuing his development in the academy, he wants to head straight out on loan to continue his development.
And at just £8.8m, this is a deal that makes perfect sense as Los Blancos could still dive into the market for another creative midfielder if they so desire.
Potential Price: £8m-15m
Well, here’s an option.
Real Madrid could save a lot of money this summer (or whenever the window opens) by cutting Martin Odegaard’s loan at Real Sociedad short. The youngster joined Sociedad on a two-year loan last summer, but Los Blancos can call him back – ?for free as well.
Odegaard has had to deal with the pressure that was placed on him at such a young age when he joined Real, but he has dealt with it and is thriving this season in La Liga. Sure, his stats are good, but his overall play is mesmerising at points. Real are lacking a player who can unlock a defence as and when they chose, and someone with an eye for goal – Odegaard has proven this term that he can be that man.
The Norwegian’s matured and developed into an outstanding footballer, and a recall could be suitable for both parties (maybe not Sociedad, though).
Potential Price: N/A
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