The summer transfer window has recently closed, and the biggest teams in Europe all made a number of moves. Much was written of Real Madrid’s ambitions for their team and season. We’ll recap what the Spanish giants actually did, and who they might be seeking to sign come the next transfer window.
Ahead of the recent transfer window there was the usual speculation, and several names kept cropping up. Amongst them were a trio of midfield players: Pogba, Eriksen, and Ndombele. As it happened, all three of them stayed with their respective teams (Manchester United for Pogba and Tottenham Hotspur for both Eriksen and Ndombele). Fernandes (Sporting Lisbon’s captain) was another name in the frame of whom nothing came.
One player who did join Real was Alphonse Areola, who comes from Paris Saint-Germain in a season-long loan and an option to buy. Earlier in 2019 the team signed up a bevy of talent, including Jovic, Militão, Mendy, and Rodrygo, amongst others. With coach Zidane recently emphasising the need to improve defensively, that may be one area for an infusion of fresh players in the future.
Heading in the opposite direction to Areola was Keylor Navas, who left Real Madrid to join PSG on a four year contract. After five years and more than 100 appearances for Los Blancos, Navas appears to have become frustrated having lost the battle to be top keeper to Thibaut Courtois.
There were plenty of rumours, but less action than there might have been during the transfer period. For guaranteed action Real Madrid fans recommend no deposit deals, which are a way of gambling without risking any of your own cash.
Pogba was a much mentioned name in the recent past and it seems likely Real Madrid will be keeping their eyes peeled and their chequebook ready to try and tempt the Frenchman away from Old Trafford. But they’ll have plenty of competition.
Manchester United, who have a single win in their first four matches this season, will be very keen to keep him. On top of that, there are other teams with an interest in Pogba, including Juventus. Whilst Real have their sights on the much-in-demand Pogba, it seems there’s going to be quite the fight for him.
Midfield pair Eriksen and Ndombele both stayed at Spurs last time and could be on the radar for the future. But the real area that needs to improve, as Zidane has stressed, is defence. With the exception of Neymar (more on him below), the major rumours circulating this time around were all about midfielders. But it’s a game of two halves, on the pitch as well as on the clock, and it’s no use racking up goals if you’re conceding them at the same rate (Real has two draws from three matches at the time of writing, with not a single clean sheet amongst them).
There was also much talk about Neymar but he was the dog who didn’t bark this time, staying at PSG instead despite being less than delighted to remain. The Brazilian international and PSG player had been linked to both Barcelona and Real Madrid, but ended up going nowhere. Undoubtedly talented, he’s also pretty unpopular with PSG’s fans, who have booed him and taken the trouble to make banners suggesting he leave. Come the next transfer window both the player and the fans might be relieved if he went elsewhere.
Current State of Play
Gareth Bale seems back to his best, which is a bit ironic considering there were plenty of rumours that he’d be leaving the club. The player, whose initial signing was a world record at the time, has scored over 100 goals for Real. Speaking to Sky Sports, Bale said he was not ‘playing happy’, with tensions rumoured to exist between the player and coach Zinedine Zidane.
Bale’s contract still has more seasons to run, although it remains to be seen whether he’ll stay at Real until the contract’s end or head for newer pastures sooner rather than later. For now the Welsh international is certainly an asset for the team. The question is for how much longer he’ll be there.
One of the earlier 2019 signings was Serbian international striker Luka Jović, who joined in June on a six year contract. However, there have already been rumours that he might be leaving the club on loan for a spell, with the player himself admitting the transition to the Spanish giant has not been easy. What happens to Jović in the long term remains up in the air.
Real Madrid have been drawn in the same group as PSG for the Champions League (alongside Brugges and Galatasaray). Los Blancos will have an interesting time playing PSG, as the French team is their rival both on the pitch and for a number of potential signings, not to mention a possible Neymar transfer between the clubs in the future.
On the domestic front, Real have had a slightly slow start to the season, with a couple of draws and a win at the time of writing. Not a disaster, but they’ll be looking to pick up the pace if they want to be in contention for the La Liga title (currently held by arch rivals Barcelona).
So far, they haven’t kept a clean sheet this season, backing up Zidane’s concerns about defensive frailty. On the positive side of the balance sheet, Real have scored six goals in three matches. Bale’s return to form saw the Welshman bag a brace against Villarreal, securing the draw and averting a loss. Perhaps that will ease the tension between player and coach. Time will tell.