After 3 consecutive champions league titles, Real Madrid find themselves out of the Champions league at the hands of ajax, 12 points behind league leaders Barcelona and no more in the running for the Copa Del Rey. After axing two managers in the span of less than 10 months, Los Blancos have finally reunited with Zinedine Zidane. What went wrong for the Spanish giants and how might Zidane operate in the transfer market, we discuss all this in today’s blog.
The Marcelo crises.
Marcelo found himself out of favor in Solari’s side with Regulion stepping in at left back. The 4-time champions league winning defender while being praised for his offensive talents has often been criticized for his defending capabilities. Carvajal and Marcelo were part of a system under Zidane where both full backs would continuously charge forward, with Ronaldo playing as a striker. Isco and Asensio would play just behind each side of Ronaldo with the full backs overlapping the wide attacker. This was followed by possibly the best midfield in the world with Casemiro, Kroos and Modric smoothing out the transition from defense to attack. Marcelo was not only important for the team for his pin point passing but also for his relentless work rate. With Regulion taking up the full back position, Real have found it difficult going forward, and no team can win titles without scoring goals even if you have Sergio Ramos and Varane in defense. Zidane could stimulate Marcelo’s revival, but the fact still stands that the Brazilian is now 30 and it could be time Real started looking for replacements.
New Signings incoming?
An ever-ageing squad could be the start of a rebuilding period with Zidane at the helm. Youngsters like Vinicius Jr and Asensio have already proven their worth to Real Madrid, but who else can the Spanish giants potentially sign with the signing of Mbappe and Hazard looking very unlikely.
A striker will be Real’s priority with the departure of their talisman, Ronaldo. Mauro Icardi could be one of the very realistic options that Real have at their disposal. The Argentinean has 109 goals in 163 appearances for Inter, scoring 17 goals in 39 games this season. He has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the past few weeks and his frustration could just tip the odds in Real’s favor. Icardi by no means would be a cheap target, possibly costing more than a 100 million pounds but his potential link up with the likes of Vinicius Jr, Asensio and Bale will be a threat to any team in the world.
Real have always been known to extract gems from the depths of Europe at minimal costs. Such was the case with Marcelo, Asensio, Carvajal and many others. Roma are host to two potentials stars in Justin Kluiver and Nicolo Zaniolo. According to SkySports Real are interested in signing Zaniolo, 19 with a transfer fee going up to 60 million pounds, not bad for a 19-year-old wonder kid. The Italian International has already cemented his place in Roma’s first team making 38 appearances this season and rounding up 6 goals and 2 assists. Naturally an attacking midfielder, his positioning in the final third is world-class so is his passing and vision. With a pass completion rate of 80%, Zaniolo could become what Real lost in Mesut Ozil all those years ago.
Tanguy Ndombele, another rising French footballer, like we haven’t got enough of those already. Ndombele has had a breakthrough season for Lyon in 2018/19 and has attracted interest from some of the best clubs in Europe. Playing as a central holding midfielder the youngster could be the perfect replacement for Toni Kroos. Ndombele boasts a pass success rate of 88% this season helping lyon get to the knockout stages of the champions league, playing an impressive game against Manchester city to give them their only UCL defeat this season. Having played 46 matches for the French side there is no doubt Ndombele is already a world-class footballer at 22 years of age. His defensive qualities mixed with his dribbling and passing make him a player similar to Paul Pogba, an asset any team in the world is lucky to have.
Sofiane Alakouch, a relatively unheard-of French defender could be a potential target for Real should they find themselves searching for a defender. The young full back has had an impressive season with 20 appearances for ligue 1 side Nimes. Alakouch has both the attacking qualities needed to become a star at real madrid and the ability to recover very quickly at blistering speed. Though unlikely, a signing like this will not be new for Real who have already shown their scouting skills with the recruitment of Raphael Varane for 10 Million pounds and Vinicius Jr.
Real have won their first game with Zidane back in charge, an impressive display by Isco playing his first game since January and a goal by Gareth Bale saw the team win 2-0 against Celta Vigo in midweek. The summer will be an important transfer window for Real, with the task of replacing Cristiano Ronaldo looming over the head of Florentio Perez, will we see a player rewrite the history books of Los Blancos? Only time will tell.