Real Madrid have started planning their squad for next season and one of the priorities will be the signing of a centre-back.
With Pepe and Alvaro Arbeloa expected to leave the club at the end of this season, Los Blancos will be in need of reinforcing their defence.
The arrival of a left-back who can give Marcelo some rest is crucial, but Zinedine Zidane also wants to bring another world-class centre-back. Many players have been linked with Los Blancos in the past few months. According to Spanish website Fichajes.net, these are the top four candidates to arrive at the Santiago Bernabeu.
1. Aymeric Laporte
The Athletic Bilbao man is reportedly Zidane’s favourite for that position. He is only 21 years old and has a bright future ahead. Thus, many European giants will fight to sign him, including Manchester City and Barcelona. According to the latest reports, Athletic would prefer to sell him to a foreign club and the Citizens could be close to sealing the deal. However, playing under Zidane would surely motivate the France international and Los Merengues believe they can seduce him.
2. Mats Hummels
Real Madrid have pursued the signing of the Germany international for many years. The 27-year-old is the most experienced of all the candidates and he is at the top of his career at the moment, which could be exactly what Los Blancos need. Many expect him to leave Borussia Dortmund this summer and Real will be ready to offer him a good deal. Several Premier League clubs are also expected to join the race to sign such a talented defender.
3. John Stones
The Everton defender is one of the most sought-after players in the Premier League at the moment, what makes his signing really difficult. The Liverpool side are expecting to get at least 50 million euros for him, and Los Blancos are not ready to spend that ammount in a defender. Thus, the 21-year-old will most likely sign for one of the Premier League giants, who seem ready to bid much higher. Anyway, Los Blancos past experiences with British defenders have not been good.
4. Shkodran Mustafi
The Valencia man is another defender who is destined to become one of the world’s greatest in the next few years. Despite being 23 years old, he is considered one of the most mature and solid centre-backs in La Liga. He has become a crucial piece for Gary Neville and for Valencia to let him go they would expect any club to offer more than 40 million. Given the numerous signings Real are expected to make next summer, that could be too expensive for Los Merengues.