Real Madrid plan their squad for 2018-19: a winger, a striker...
Even though Real Madrid are still fighting for the Champions League, they are planning an overhaul in the summer and they have needs at five positions. LAFC vs LA Galaxy: Vela vs Zlatan live online, MLS week 25
Real Madrid are planning another assault on the Champions League. It's all they have left to fight for this season and they are in a good position to do just that. The club, however, are already looking towards next season with plans being put in motion in problem areas of the field. With many of the youngsters the club bet on last summer hoping for more minutes such as Achraf Hakimi, Marcos Llorente, Jesús Vallejo, Dani Ceballos and Borja Mayoral, some of them will have to leave.
The plan, which is being designed along with Zinedine Zidane's help even though he has not guaranteed he will continue next season - he has three years to run on his current deal - will look at a new right-back, a central defender, a midfielder, winger and a number nine. The French manager continues to back Keylor Navas, who has won him two Champions Leagues.
Movements in defence
Madrid have decided to buy a right-back and a central defender. This season, Achraf and Vallejo, for differing reasons, have not lived up to expectations when they replaced Danilo and Pepe, who were sold last summer. Achraf was forced to mature at breakneck speed after Dani Carvajal was ruled out with a heart problem. He started very well but slowly started to slide and Real Madrid will sell with a buy-back option or loan the player in the hope that he reaches his potential. Los Blancos' objective is to sign Álvaro Odriozola from Real Sociedad, who has a €40 million release clause.
The case of Vallejo is distinct. The club had a lot of hope for the player but he has suffered injuries, which has not allowed him to show his true worth. Real Madrid will continue to peruse the market so that they don't have to throw Casemiro, or another makeshift central defender in there at an important point in the season next year.
A central midfielder
Llorente's future is up in the air. The canterano, 23 years old, was a pillar in Alavés' outstanding season last year but has been forgotten about at Madrid. Because of this, the player and the club will sit down and thrash out a solution at the end of the season. Real Madrid have been keeping an eye on the market in case he decides to leave with names like Julian Weigl (Borussia Dortmund), Emre Can (ends contract with Liverpool) or Leandro Paredes (Zenit) all mentioned as possibilities. Real Madrid will also bring back Omar Mascarell from Eintracht Frankfurt after paying his buy-back clause. The plan is to sell the player but the last word on that will fall to Zidane. There are no other players that excite the club and Toni Kroos and Mateo Kovacic's brief spells as anchors has inspired the club in this sense. Unless they see a bargain, they will stay where they are in midfield and hope Llorente decides to stay.
A number 9
Robert Lewandowski is the first option for Real Madrid in the summer up front. the club has been pursuing the striker for a number of years and they might finally be in place to land the Pole. The fact that Lewandowski is keen on a move also makes it more realistic than ever before. Zidane has given the go ahead and Real Madrid have already reached an agreement with his Israeli representative Pini Zahavi. Another name on the list is Timo Werner, who Real Madrid really like. He played very well against Spain on Friday night. The World Cup in the summer is an excellent showcase of talent and Real Madrid know that very well. Harry Kane is another option getting him out of London seems like it is impossible.
The reconstruction that Real Madrid plan will not just involve the replacement of Karim Benzema. The probable departure of Gareth Bale will leave a gap out wide and Real Madrid have their eye on Mohamed Salah, who is top of their list. The Egyptian, a false nine or a right winger, has exploded this season with 28 goals, three more than Lionel Messi and six more than Cristiano Ronaldo. Los Blancos have already tested the waters with his agent and this looks like the most likely replacement for Bale. They have not forgotten about Eden Hazard and, of course, Neymar. Real Madrid have already met with the player's father and two lawyers to explore the signing of the Brazilian, but Neymar Senior has already explained the difficulty and complexity of snatching him from PSG just a year after signing with the Parisian club for €222 million.
The next month's activity at the offices of the Bernabéu will be mayhem.