RB Leipzig's Upamecano convinces Real Madrid after Atlético showing
Long on Zidane's radar, the RB Leipzig defender convinced Madrid of his quality following an outstanding performance in Champions League quarter-final against Atlético Madrid.
While Real Madrid will not make any signings in the current transfer market, the club continues to look towards the future and one player who is high on the list of possible reinforcements is 21-year-old Frenchman, Dayot Upamecano.
Zinedine Zidane has long been an admirer of the RB Leipzig centre back, who surprised Madrid with his man-of-the-match performance and the character he showed against Atlético Madrid in the Champions League quarter final.
With his imposing physique (1.86m, 90kg), Upamecano impressed in the 2-1 win over Atlético, demonstrating a bold ability to work the ball forward from the back, while his astute defensive work was instrumental in cancelling out several Atléti attacks. He won 81% of the challenges he was involved in, committed just one foul, and enjoyed a 95% passing success rate.
Upamecano’s latest contractual developments also benefit Madrid as he cannot be signed this summer. With a contract until 2021, the young defender looked set to move on to a bigger club this summer. But at the end of his July, he decided to extend his deal at Leipzig until 2023, although his representatives ensured his clause was dropped from €60 million to €45 million. That €45 million price tag will be an acceptable figure for Madrid in the future and is less than what the club paid for Eder Militao last summer.
All of these factors have made Upamecano the main objective to strengthen the centre of defence, where Sergio Ramos is 34 years old and Nacho has passed the 30 mark. Raphael Varane, 27, and Militao, 22, are earmarked as the future central defensive partnership, although the club is aware that they need another defender should things not work out as planned.
Zidane has eye on Upamecano since 2015
The Real Madrid coach has had Upamecano on his radar for a few years now, since he first watched him play in the 2015 European Under-17 Champions in Bulgaria.
As his son Luca was the goalkeeper, Zidane attended every game of the tournament, which France went on to win. And one of the standout players for Zizou from that title-winning team was the strong and capable defender, whom he hopes to have under his command in the future.
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