Having chased Kylian Mbappe for what felt like two full seasons, Real Madrid appear to have changed their mind. Despite the need for Mbappe – or Manchester City bound Erling Haaland – Madrid do not look likely to sign a forward this summer. Indeed, Los Blancos appear to have stopped looking to buy a striker. Instead, they will look to thin out their forward line with Luka Jovic and Mariano Diaz almost certain to move on.
Both players have been bit part signings ever since arriving, and are seen as lacking the profile needed to thrive in Madrid. Instead, the league and European champions will look to instead build around their ‘core four’ attackers of Karim Benzema, Rodrygo Goes, Vinicius Junior, and Marco Asensio. That might come as a shock to some, given how much time and effort was put into landing a marquee forward until now.
However, reports around the club suggest they are happy to wait and see what comes up down the line. The chance to sign another marquee forward – such as Mohamed Salah – for nothing in 2023 could appeal. Given the financial reality of club football in the post-COVID era, many clubs are avoiding the major fees involved in signings.
Instead, free transfer pick-ups of big names is becoming the choice of action for clubs like Madrid. Instead of splashing big on a new forward, their allocated funds will instead go on midfield. Aurelien Tchouameni is expected to arrive at the club this summer. This would add a youthful invigoration to midfield, helping to slowly but surely move towards the end of Luka Modric’s time in white.
Madrid looking for continuity over a rebuild
While it would be interesting to see what would have happened had Mbappe arrived, Madrid now seem content to stick with what they have. In US sports parlance, they are going to ‘run it back’ next season. Given the club just enjoyed a stellar season, winning both league and European honours, that does not seem like too risky a strategy.
New signings will surely arrive, but there are also reports that the club will look to integrate a few youngsters into the first-team fold. The exit of veterans like Marcelo and Isco opens up some intriguing spots in the midfield and full-back area. The expected departures of the likes of Dani Ceballos could further open up chances for youth players to get some regular game-time.
Though Madrid are very much the definition of a ‘win now’ football club, they do like to blood youth from time to time. Unable to land the stars intended over the last 18-24 months, the development of Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo has surely given credence to a more developmental strategy.
With so many younger players around the team expected to keep growing – including midfield duo Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga – things are serene in Madrid. Off the back of major success, then, things are not expected to change too much at the Santiago Bernabeu – on the pitch, anyway.