Analysis: How much of a priority should signing a central defender be for Real Madrid?

This summer could be Real Madrid’s biggest in several years, with moves for both Jude Bellingham and Erling Haaland in the pipeline.

Both players will cost well in excess of €100m, meaning that it could Real Madrid’s biggest spending window since the summer of 2019, when well over €300m was spent on bringing the likes of Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Eder Militao were brought to the club by Zinedine Zidane.

Despite the expectation that the club’s finances will be stretched if deals for both Bellingham and Haaland come to fruition, Real Madrid have been linked with another big money deal – that being for RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol.

The Croatian international is regarded as one of the best young defenders in world football, and Fichajes report that Real Madrid are one of four clubs across Europe that have registered an interest – the others being Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City.

Florentino Perez has often looked well into the future when targeting signings for Real Madrid. The club’s transfer policy has switched in recent years towards players that will have a long term future at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the likes of Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo and Aurelien Tchouameni joining as a result.

Perez intends to follow this model when it comes to signing a new central defender that can play alongside Eder Militao. Both Antonio Rudiger and David Alaba are in their thirties, although both are showing no signs of dropping off as of yet.

With Militao, Rudiger, Alaba and Nacho Fernandez, who has been excellent when called upon this season, central defence is simply not a priority for Real Madrid this summer. All four have the capability to be the club for the next few years, and then a replacement can be organised.

There is scope for Rafa Marin to act as a fifth choice, with the 20-year-old having been excellent for Raul Gonzalez’s Real Madrid Castilla side so far this season. However, there are rumours that he could be used as part of a deal to sign Celta Vigo’s Gabri Veiga.

With Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema all heading towards the final stages of their respective careers, there is much more need for Bellingham and Haaland at Real Madrid this summer.

Other positions should be targeted ahead of central defence too, namely at right back. Dani Carvajal’s performance levels have dropped this season, and questions will be asked about his involvement in the next couple of years. A long term replacement should be targeted over the next season or two.

Real Madrid have the foundations to be one of European football’s powerhouses for many years to come, and Gvardiol would certainly hammer home that argument. However, he simply isn’t required at the moment, and funds should be used elsewhere.

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