The Blancos, amid a testing 2017-18 campaign, are expected to overhaul their squad in the summer and will have a sizeable budget at their disposal
Real Madrid are expected to spend big this summer, with a forgettable domestic campaign highlighting the flaws in a squad that swept to a La Liga and Champions League double in 2016-17. Reports suggest that the Blancos could invest as much as €600 million in fresh faces, with high-profile sales – such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Keylor Navas – helping to counter a sizable outlay and ensure the club adheres to Financial Fair Play regulations. Who, though, is on their shopping list as the next ‘Galactico’ recruitment drive at Santiago Bernabeu is pieced together?
The Manchester United goalkeeper has been a longstanding target, with a deal almost done in the summer of 2015 only for a now-infamous fax delay to scupper a return to Spain for the former Atletico Madrid custodian.
De Gea has said of his Old Trafford future: “I don't think it's the time to start talking about the future, it's not the time to be talking contracts. Being a player and a part of this club is special, so when you get to wear the shirt, you go to away games, that's something you are always proud of and is very special.”
Amid the struggles to get an agreement in place for De Gea, Chelsea’s current number one has emerged as a possible alternative – with the former Atletico loanee having made no secret of his desire to return to Spain.
Courtois has said: “Yes, my heart is in Madrid. It is logical and understandable. If they [Real] want me, they have to contact Chelsea. We'll see. But they have not done that. What is certain is that one day I will return to Madrid.”
Another man to have once graced the books at Real’s cross-city rivals Atletico, the Tottenham defender is now considered a realistic target as he is yet to commit to fresh terms in England and has a release clause set to kick in from 2019 if no extension is agreed.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has said of the Belgian centre-half: “Toby still has two-and-a-half years of contract. Messi was six months left on his contract. Messi! If something happens, the club is going to communicate.”
The Brazilian centre-half has fallen out of favour under Antonio Conte at Chelsea, with both men now seeing their ongoing presence at Stamford Bridge called into question – although a departure for the latter could offer a clean slate to the former.
Quizzed on Luiz’s future and where it may lie, Conte has said: "I don’t know. He has to work really hard otherwise they are on the bench or in the stand.”
Fast closing in on 200 appearances for Paris Saint-Germain, with 23 caps for his Brazil to his name, the classy centre-half is still only 23 years of age and has emerged as one of the most highly regarded defenders in the game.
He has previously told Goal on his long-term future: “I see there has been a lot of talk, it's true. You know the social networks, you know the newspapers, the majority of what is said is not true. At the moment, everything is going well and I'm very good here.”
Another 23-year-old centre-back making plenty of noise in the transfer market, with leading sides across Europe now weighing up the merits of a big-money approach for a Slovakia international who only moved to the San Siro in July 2017.
Skriniar has said of past exit talk: "I am not interested in Barcelona. I play for Inter and my objective is to play for Inter. I want to get them to win. Will I leave Inter? I don’t think so, I’m happy where I am and I think I’ll keep playing for this team for as long as possible.”
The versatile Austrian would have to dislodge Marcelo from the left-back berth at the Bernabeu, but Real may decide to rip everything up and start again – with the Bayern Munich star a solid option if they do just that.
Alaba has previously refused to rule out a move away from the Allianz Arena, saying: “Could I stay at Bayern my entire career? I'm not the type of person who looks that far ahead. I am setting short-term goals instead.”
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Now one of the most exciting prospects on the planet, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder has seen his efforts in the Bundesliga and with the U.S. national side position him on the transfer radar of leading sides across Europe.
Fellow American Brian McBride has said of a possible move to Spain for the 19-year-old: “The exciting part of going to Real Madrid, where every single player on the field around you is world class, it's a desire you sometimes can't turn down.”
The France international was reported to be a target for the Blancos prior to rejoining Manchester United for £89 million in 2016, with the midfielder said to be back on the radar after struggling for form and sparking talk of a rift with Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford.
Former Red Devils star Paul Ince has said of the frustrated 24-year-old: “The signals that are coming from Pogba is that he’s not happy and if he doesn’t feel like he fits in, then I could see him leaving in the summer. He’s one of the best players in the world and deserves to be played in his right position where he can show that off and express himself.”
Real are reported to have been monitoring the Chelsea playmaker for some time, with his exploits in the Premier League and on an international stage with Belgium having offered enough to suggest that he would not look out of place in the Spanish capital.
Hazard has said on the possibility of a move to Madrid being made at some stage: “In football you never know” – with his father having previously suggested that contract talks at Chelsea have been shelved as they wait on an offer from the Blancos.
It has not taken long for the Real rumours to start swirling around the Egyptian forward, with his remarkable return on Liverpool’s £36.9m investment from 2017 helping to raise his profile and price tag.
Current Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane has said of a mooted target: “Salah is a great player, [he has] shown that at Roma, now Liverpool. He is still young, improving all the time. I don't talk much about other players, but he is a player I rate a lot.”
Prolific frontmen rarely steer clear of Real rumours, even when already on the books of a fellow European heavyweight such as Bayern Munich, and the Pole’s efforts in Germany have seen him linked with a switch to the Bernabeu for some time now.
Despite having sparked talk of a move with criticism of Bayern’s transfer policy, Lewandowski has said of the incessant Madrid gossip: “I know this situation very well, I hear this speculation every year. These rumours do not interest me and I will not say anything more.”
Like Lewandowski, another prolific frontman to have piqued Real’s interest with his efforts elsewhere, the Tottenham striker and England captain has proved himself to be one of the most reliable options around.
Former Spurs boss Terry Venables has said of the mounting transfer speculation: “Harry is being talked about as a £200m signing! The fact that Real Madrid need more firepower to match Barcelona’s surge means the world’s top goalscorers will be targets. Spurs may have a fight on their hands.”
From the moment the Brazilian completed a record-breaking €222m switch to Paris Saint-Germain, talk of a return to Spain for the former Barcelona forward was sparked – with it widely expected that his own transfer bar will be raised a little higher to take him to the other side of the Clasico divide.
Countless players and pundits have had their say on the 26-year-old’s future, with fellow countryman and ex-Real frontman Ronaldo having hinted at a deal when saying: “Neymar is a superb player, maybe he will be the best in the world in a few years, and Real Madrid need the best.”