Transfer ban completed
The closure of the window transfer ban this week also signalled the end of the FIFA transfer ban for Real Madrid. Los Blancos were absent in the last two windows — last summer, without any constraits imposed, they only exercised their buy-back option on Ávaro Morata and recovered loanees Marco Asensio and Fábio Coentrão. From 1st July they will be able to enter the transfer market in the first inscription period of the new season.
It looks like Madrid's technical department will be in for a busy summer with some players set to leave and positions in each line of the team will require strengthening. Jesús Vallejo and Marcos Llorente are both expected to return for good from their respective loans while other areas will need tweaking.
GOALKEEPER | Courtois and De Gea: alternatives to Keylor
Courtois' name has cropped up as a possible replacement for Keylor Navas and David de Gea is back on Madrid's radar two years after the club's botched attempts to sign him. The Costa Rican has suffered a drop in form and the club may consider bringing in an alternative keeper. On Tuesday, Keylor told El Larguero that he has been studying De Gea and taking tips from the Man United keeper by watching him on TV.
DEFENCE | Vallejo and two full-backs
Both of the full-back positions have looked the most weak areas of the team this season and bolstering the flanks is a priority. Danilo still doesn't look convincing as a deputy to Carvajal while Coentrão, when he has been fit, hasn't even figured as an alternative option for Zidane — he has only played a total of 150 minutes, less than anyone else in the squad.
In central defence, Real Madrid will need to find a substitute for Pepe who hasn't renewed and will be able to move on a free in July - with China his probable next stop. Without the Portuguse centre-back, Zidane wil only have Ramos, Varane and Nacho to juggle his central defence - as well as 20-year-old loan returnee Vallejo, who has impressed in the Bundesliga.
MIDFIELD | Marcos Llorente to return; Isco or James
Marcos Llorente will be the first arrival for the best-covered area in the entire team. Despite the resurgance of Kovacic, who has been excellent, the youth team graduate is viewed as Casemiro's natural understudy and during his spell at Alavés he has shown that he is mature enough to handle life in the Spanish top flight. The arrival of another reinforcement will depend on what happens to Isco and James. Zidane has been trying to get the best from the Colombian, in spite of the player's hints that he could be on his way, while Isco could be sold if he doesn't renew (his contract runs out in 2018 and he has been taking his time); his sale would bump up the club's coffers.
ATTACK | Aubameyang, second series of the soap opera
Not a single week goes by without a mention of Aubameyang being linked to Real Madrid. It's a soap opera which has been bubbling since last summer and the Gabonese who keeps giving contradictory signals about his future. Dybala's name is also being flaunted by the rumour mongers and Zidane has a front opening up with fans who are at odds with his blind faith in Benzema. Several of Europe's top sides, including Chelsea, have been linked to Morata while Mariano's agent's phone hasn't stopped ringing... any summer recruiting won't just be about covering the places of those who leave but also to increase competition with Benzema for a regular place in the side.