Those who benefit from Real Madrid's lack of transfer activity
There was talk of bringing in a goalkeeper, central midfielder and striker but in the end, Real Madrid shut up shop with nobody leaving or arriving on transfer deadline day.
During a transfer window that saw players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexis Sánchez, Manuel Laporte, Philippe Coutinho, Lucas Moura, Olivier Giroud, Michy Batshuayi, Virgil van Dijk and Ínigo Martínez switch clubs, Real Madrid decided to stay out of the market and will stick with what they have for the coming months. It's not a huge suprise given how poor previous winter windows were despite plenty of talk of arrivals and departures.
They are out of the Copa, are as good as out of the title race and have just the Champions League to play for. Zinedine Zidane has reiterated several times in recent weeks how happy he is with his current squad and there are a few names, who will be happy to still be at the club due to transfer inactivity: Casilla, Keylor, Mayoral, Benzema, Vallejo, Ceballos, Kovacic, Marcos Llorente, Asensio, Isco, Lucas Vázquez.
The beneficiaries of Real Madrid's lack of transfer activity
Kiko Casilla and Keylor Navas: The addition of a goalkeeper was very close. Kepa Arrizabalaga had rejected contract renewal offers from Athletic Club and was waiting for Real Madrid to come and whisk him away to the Bernabéu but Zidane gave a difinitve 'no', which closed the case. Kiko Casilla (14 games this season) would have had to find another team and Keylor Navas would have potentially been benched and, at the very least, would have felt a threat on his starting position.
Benzema and Mayoral: Real Madrid's centre-forward position is a precarious one and the arrival of a world class striker did not happen. Benzema continues as the starter and has little competition up front given how inconsequential Mayoral has been along with the trust the French manager has in his compatriot. Mayoral was played mostly in Copa games but since Real Madrid's elimination, he will have to rely on minutes that come from a cameo role. If a striker was to arrive, it looked like it might have been Mauro Icardi, and Mayoral might have had to leave on loan. That didn't happen, and Mayoral will still be given some chances to show what he is made of in the coming months.
Asensio, Isco and Lucas Vázquez: In attack, there are a host of players fighting for minutes with Ronaldo and Bale with Marco Asensio, Isco and Lucas Vázquez amongst them. Real Madrid were linked with Mo Salah and Eden Hazard but neither arrived and the three aforementioned players will get chances because of that. Once the summer rolls around, that might be a different story, but for now, Real Madrid's relatively young trident will have the chance to affect change over the next four.
Jesus Vallejo: There was much debate as to why Real Madrid let Pepe go last summer and Jesus Vallejo has failed to replace him leading to durther doubts over the position. Sergio Ramos' recent injuries and Raphael Varane's injury history led to some suggesting Real Madrid would dip their toes into the market to shore up the defense. Leonardo Bonucci was mentioned along with Chelsea outcast David Luiz but nothing happened on either front. Nacho is becoming the main man in Real Madrid's defense and his tally of 2,347 minutes is the most by any Real Madrid central defender.
Dani Ceballos, Mateo Kovacic, Marcos Llorente: It is the position Real Madrid have most cover at. Leonardo Paredes and Leon Goretzka were touted as potential arrivals and Fabian Ruíz from Real Madrid was also linked before he signed a contract extension with the Andalusians. Any addition in the middle would have meant a swift exit for the three current Real Madrid back-ups. Kovacic is the most called-upon of the three but is still a long way from usurping Kroos, Modric of Casemiro. Llorente and Ceballos' minutes are expected to decline with exit from the Copa del Rey but they are still at the club, which counts for something.
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