Real Madrid’s 2023/24 campaign has been an unusual one so far, mainly due to the surprise challenge of Girona who have managed to lead the La Liga title race much longer than anyone would have expected.
Madrid have been powerful enough to establish a seven-point lead over current champions Barcelona by the winter break, also winning all six games in their Champions League group, but there is a feeling that a few tweaks could bring more in the second half of the season.
The confusion around Carlo Ancelotti‘s future with Los Blancos is another reason why the general vibe around Madrid is not overwhelmingly positive, but the first half of the campaign should be viewed as progress on last season.
Here are the areas Madrid may want to address in January and which players could be targeted.
Any big club in search of a new striker will be very aware that Madrid are in the same boat and possess an almost unmatched pulling power. There is a clear gap in Ancelotti’s squad which was created by Karim Benzema’s departure.
Stop-gap signing Joselu has done a solid job so far but Madrid desire a new headline-making striker, not only to score goals but free up Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo, who have both had to play narrower than they would like in 2023/24 so far.
- Key targets
The obvious attacking target for Madrid is Kylian Mbappe. While not a classic central striker, the Paris Saint-Germain forward would have the team moulded to his needs and the potential link-up with Jude Bellingham, Vinicius and Rodrygo is incredibly exciting. It’s a saga that reignites each transfer window and the interest remains.
Madrid have also been linked with Feyenoord’s Santiago Gimenez, who has been impressing over the past 18 months, but face competition from other clubs around Europe. Other names like Victor Osimhen and Lautaro Martinez can never be ruled off Madrid’s radar.
Ferland Mendy and Fran Garcia are Madrid’s two clear options on the left of defence. The former has worked really hard to recover from injury but still hasn’t done enough to stop the rumours swirling over interest in a new left-back.
Garcia has done a good job when called upon this season but at 24 years old, there is realistically little more development to come. It’s no surprise Madrid have been linked with left-backs in recent weeks.
- Key targets
As ‘superstar left-backs’ go, Alphonso Davies is the prime candidate for Madrid. The Canadian only has 18 months left on his current contract with Bayern Munich and there is known interest in him from the Bernabeu.
Premier League sides also want Davies but Madrid are the frontrunners and it’s believed the 23-year-old ultimately desires a move to Spain. Incidentally, Madrid have also been linked with right-backs recently, such as Reece James and Arnau Martinez.
There is a lack of depth at centre-back at Madrid when you consider it’s a team expected to win every tournament it enters.
The injury to Eder Militao meant David Alaba has partnered Antonio Rudiger frequently so far in 2023/24. However, Alaba has now suffered a serious anterior cruciate ligament injury, leaving Los Blancos even shorter at the back.
Club captain Nacho Fernandez can expect to play plenty of games while midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni has also been used out of position, but they need another body who can step in and do what is needed while other players get back to full fitness.
- Key target
Madrid are rumoured to be chasing a reunion with Man Utd‘s Raphael Varane. The French defender spent the bulk of his career with the Spanish side but after rumours of a fallout with Erik ten Hag, he could soon be on the move.
Beyond that, there are limited clues to who Madrid will target for this role. It might be worth their while to nab Daley Blind from Girona to weaken what seems to be their biggest opposition for the La Liga title this season.
What we know
- Real Madrid have faced unexpected challenge of Girona in La Liga title race
- Injuries have ravaged Carlo Ancelotti’s squad especially in defence
- New striker will be needed in the near future while left-back Alphonso Davies a major target.