Mbappé, Rüdiger, Tchouaméni: Real Madrid preparing to bolster squad
In the summer transfer window, the 2021/22 LaLiga champions plan to bring in Kylian Mbappé, Antonio Rüdiger and, if the price is right, Aurélien Tchouaméni.
Having won LaLiga, plus the Spanish Super Cup, Real Madrid can already consider this season a success. What’s more, they still have the chance to trump those two triumphs by adding a 14th European Cup to their trophy cabinet. As things stand, they need to overturn a 4-3 deficit from their Champions League semi-final first leg when they host Manchester City in the return at the Bernabéu on Wednesday. Whatever happens, however, Madrid have made it clear that, led by head coach Carlo Ancelotti, they have laid firm foundations for the future, as they wait for new faces to arrive in the summer to take the team to the next level.
Among Madridistas, one of those signings is already viewed as a given: Kylian Mbappé. The Frenchman could have joined in the final days of the summer 2021 transfer window, but PSG refused to sell, despite Madrid’s offer going as high as 200m euros. In recent weeks, the striker has sent out worrying signals, implying in the media that it’s still possible he could renew his contract in Paris, but at the Bernabéu there’s an atmosphere of calm. They trust in the agreement they’ve reached with him, and view his comments as a way of making his final weeks as a PSG player easier.
Mbappé would be Madrid’s most important recruit of the close season, but is not expected to be the only one. Recently, the club reached a deal in principle with Chelsea’s Antonio Rüdiger over a summer free transfer, while close tabs are being kept on Monaco’s Aurélien Tchouaméni as a potential purchase that would finally furnish the Madrid squad with a like-for-like replacement for Casemiro.
If players are to come in, though, others will have to leave. Three are certain to go: Gareth Bale, Isco and Marcelo are all out of contract at the end of the season, and won’t be given contract extensions. Meanwhile, Madrid are to look for a new club for Jesús Vallejo, either on a permanent transfer or a loan deal; there are no plans to sell Andriy Lunin, but the goalkeeper could seek a move in a bid to get more regular game time; Dani Ceballos and Marco Asensio are going into the final year of their contracts, so will either renew or depart; Luka Jovic knows he’s not in the club’s plans, and his agents are currently looking for suitors; and Mariano Díaz will again be told he can leave, but in the past has refused to do so.
What happens to these players will also influence what Madrid do with those currently out on loan: Takefusa Kubo, who needs Vinícius Júnior’s application for Spanish citizenship to go through if there’s to be room for him as a non-EU player; Reinier, who will be loaned out again after hardly featuring for Borussia Dortmund; Álvaro Odriozola; and Borja Mayoral.
Mbappé: the cornerstone of Real Madrid’s new project
Mbappé almost signed for Real Madrid in 2017, but the presence of then-front three Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, allied with his wage demands, saw him finally go to PSG. Since then, Madrid have closely followed his situation and last summer, as he headed into the last 12 months of his contract, made a major offer for the 23-year-old. An initial bid of 160m euros subsequently rose as high as 200m, but PSG could not be persuaded to sell, and it seems the striker will end up joining Madrid for free - albeit Los Blancos will pay him a hefty signing-on fee and ‘galáctico’ salary.
If it were only a matter of money for Mbappé, though, PSG would be the more attractive proposition. But as a boyhood Madrid fan, he wants to establish himself as a Bernabéu legend. Ancelotti had better get thinking about how he’s going to fit Mbappé and Vinícius into the same forward line. Both prefer to operate on the left.
Tchouaméni: a potential ‘new Casemiro’ - if the price is right
As Madrid plan their squad for next season, the anchorman role is the one midfield position that is viewed as a particular candidate for the injection of fresh blood. Casemiro is the only first-choice player who doesn’t have a specific understudy. When the Brazilian has been absent, he has been replaced by Modric, Toni Kroos, Fede Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga, Ceballos, Antonio Blanco… With the arrival of Tchouaméni, Madrid could remedy this situation. But they won’t sign him at any price.
The 22-year-old is valued at 40 million euros according to Transfermarkt, but Monaco are initially expected to seek a fee much higher than that. However, Madrid are confident the Ligue 1 club will drop their asking price as the transfer window nears its conclusion. If that happens, he could well arrive at the Bernabéu; if not, Valverde and Camavinga can operate at the base of the midfield, and there’s also the option of promoting Blanco from the ‘B’ team.
Rüdiger: another top defender on a free
Madrid have developed a penchant for snapping up out-of-contract players. Mbappé is set to join on a free, while David Alaba signed last summer after seeing out his Bayern Munich deal and agreeing a lucrative contract in the Spanish capital. The defender has settled in seamlessly at Madrid, and the club are now out to further bolster their backline with a similar deal for Rüdiger, who has refused to renew at Chelsea and, as head coach Thomas Tuchel has confirmed, has told the Premier League club he’s leaving.
Madrid’s interest in the German cooled earlier in the season due to his salary demands, but negotiations have now been rekindled and Los Merengues have an agreement in principle in place with the centre-back. A deal isn’t completely done, but they’re currently in pole position to sign the 29-year-old. His arrival would lead Alaba to shift out to left-back.