Real Madrid round-up: Courtois, Casilla, Luca Zidane, Mayoral...
In today's round-up: Lopetegui is looking to resolve the goalkeeping issue and find suitable club to send Borja Mayoral on loan for the rest of the campaign.
Courtois could make his debut in Girona
It's looking increasingly likely that the moment has finally arrived for Thibaut Courtois, who could make his official debut with Real Madrid against Girona at the Montilivi on Sunday night. Keylor Navas was between the sticks for the league opener against Getafe last weekend, but Lopetegui is keen to see Courtois in action, now that the Belgian has over two weeks' of training under his belt. The player posted a message on his Instagram account yesterday which suggested that he is ready to make his first appearance. However, if Lopetegui has a change of heart and decides to stick with Keylor against Girona, Courtois will have to wait until Week 4, after the international break for September's UEFA Nations League qualifiers. If he doesn't make his debut on Sunday, he will probably also sit out the next game, at home to Leganés on 1 September, and make his bow against Athletic Club in Bilbao on 15 September.
Further down the pecking order of Madrid's goalkeepers, Kiko Casilla, Luca Zidane and recent arrival Andriy Lunin have just over a week to resolve their futures. Kiko Casilla, who has been Keylor's understudy for the past two seasons, has two years left to run on his contract and Madrid had originally intended to release him. But the 32-year-old would prefer to see out his contract - even if his chances of gaining playing time with Courtois and Keylor ahead of him are close to zero. A number of clubs have stated an interest - Sevilla, Rayo Vallecano and Valladolid would jump at the chance to sign him outright or take him on loan.
Luca Zidane was handed his debut on the last day of last season - which turned out to be his father's last league game in charge. Lopetegui has told him he doesn't feature in his plans and as it stands, he will probably be loaned out. Elche could be Luca's next port of call. Elche coach Pacheta had earmarked Deportivo Fabril keeper Francis as the man to provide competition for Adrián Real but it appears the Madrid keeper is now the leading candidate.
Andriy Lunin also has no shortage of offers. Leganés have been at the Bernabéu offices to enquire about the Ukrainian keeper's availability - as have Rayo. Both options appeal to Madrid because it means that Lunin, who only arrived one month ago, would be able to remain in the capital.
Levante keen on Mayoral
According to reports on the east coast, Levante have put in a new loan request for Borja Mayoral. Levante Director of Sport Tito Blanco tried to persuade Madrid to part with the striker last season - without success. And it looks like the Granotas will get a similar reply this time, even though Mayoral is looking to get more minutes on-field this season - even if it means moving away from the Bernabéu. Sevilla were also thinking of putting in a bid for the 21-year-old but that's looking less likely since André Silva joined on loan from AC Milan.
Lopetegui's earpiece; a spy in the stands
Vanderlei Luxemburgo notoriously used one during his brief spell as Madrid coach and Julen Lopetegui has also resorted to the trusty earpiece to receive information from the stands, where a member of his coaching staff can gain a different viewpoint of events as they happen on-field. Lopetegui will not wear the earpiece however, his assistant Pablo Sanz will be connected to another member of the staff in the stands. Antolín Gonzalo will provide logistical support using analytical software package WyScout which monitors player's performances and provides information on the opposing team. Another member of staff, Óscar Caro will compile information such as distance covered by each player, contact with the ball, passes completed etc. via the Amisco platform, which he will hand over to the coach at half-time.
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