This week we are considering what business the top clubs around Europe are looking to do in January. Next up, Real Madrid…
Barcelona have opened up a five-point gap at the top of La Liga, but that is over Atletico Madrid. Languishing down in fourth are Real Madrid, 10 points behind their great rivals after 19 league games.
As Real look to close the gap in the second half of the season, and chase a fourth straight Champions League title, could the answer to their struggles lie in the January transfer market?
The club have already welcomed Brahim Diaz to the Bernabeu. Here, we look at who could join the former Manchester City winger through the door…
Real’s 2018-19 so far
- Last six matches: WWLDWW
- La Liga: 4th – 10 points behind leaders Barcelona
- Champions League: Last 16 vs Ajax in February
- Copa del Rey: Fifth-round second leg vs Leganes on Wednesday (lead 3-0)
Eriksen the priority?
Real see Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen as the “perfect signing”, according to Spanish football expert Graham Hunter.
“It is absolutely crystal clear that one of Real Madrid’s highest priorities this summer will be to try and sign Christian Eriksen,” Hunter told the Transfer Talk podcast.
This summer pursuit could be brought forward, however, should Luka Modric leave in January.
The Ballon d’Or winner described reports he contacted Inter Milan himself as “nonsense” on Instagram back in August, but the rumours have persisted into mid-season window, with Eriksen – who has 18 months left on his contract at Spurs – lined up as the Croatian’s replacement.
AS in Spain claim it will cost a world-record £225m to prise the Danish playmaker away, while any move could also prove pivotal in Eden Hazard’s future, with the Chelsea forward set to make a decision at the end of the season. Real appear to be the only club on the Belgian’s mind, should he depart Stamford Bridge.
How do you replace a five-time Ballon d’Or winner who scored 311 goals in 292 league games for your club? Short answer – you cannot. But you can always try…
The Ronaldo-sized hole has left the club on just a +4 goal difference in La Liga at the halfway stage, and while forward Karim Benzema tops Real’s goalscoring charts with seven league goals, it is centre-back and captain Sergio Ramos who joins Gareth Bale in joint-second on four.
In their search for a striker, reports in Spain have linked Real with Genoa’s Krzysztof Piatek, whose 13 Serie A goals place him second behind none-other than Juventus’ Ronaldo, who is currently on 14.
Meanwhile, a month rarely goes by without Harry Kane being mooted as Ronaldo’s possible replacement.
Last year, Real legend Raul spoke highly of Kane, so too did former club president Ramon Calderon, while figures such as £312m (€350m) have done the rounds this month, and it feels safe to suggest – such is his importance to Spurs – that it will take a world-record fee for chairman Daniel Levy to even consider letting England’s captain leave.
However, it does not appear likely Real will make a big-money move for a forward this January.
Looking to South America
The signing of Diaz could signal the start and end of Real’s activity in the January window, according to Marca, but movements are already in place for the summer.
Last year, Real reached an agreement with Santos to bring 18-year-old Rodrygo Goes to Spain this coming July, while another potential signing looks set to be delayed until the end of the season.
The pursuit of Exequiel Palacios has been described as a “slow burner” by Marca, and though they are said to want him this January, it is reported River Plate and the player himself want to delay the move until the summer.
Palacios, 20, plays in central midfield, and made his Argentina debut in September against Guatemala before also facing Colombia.
In October, River Plate legend Beto Alonso told AS that Real “won’t regret” signing Palacios.
“He’s a lad who’s got so many good qualities as a footballer,” added Alonso of Palacios, who has already lifted silverware at the Bernabeu, having helped River overcome rivals Boca Juniors in the now-infamous Copa Libertadores final.