A youthful core with Kylian Mbappe up front, a look at how Real Madrid could line-up next season

Our Spanish football expert Andy West analyses the possible moves Zinedine ZIdane could make in the window and what their first XI could look like

Andy West
by Andy West
17th July 2017

article:17th July 2017

Real Madrid have enjoyed a quietly effective summer in the transfer market, replacing a handful of unwanted veterans with a new batch of talented youngsters.

Understandably after winning the double, Zinedine Zidane has seen no need to make major changes to his squad and the only outstanding issue is whether the club will make a serious effort to sign French teen sensation Kylian Mbappe.


Los Blancos ooze quality throughout the squad, giving Zidane the ability to name two entirely separate teams without suffering a drop in quality – and he will continue to regularly take that option to keep everyone involved.

GOALKEEPERS

Towards the end of last season there was a widespread expectation that David de Gea was on the verge of completing his long-mooted move to Madrid, with Keylor Navas being readied for the exit door.

But a good performance from Navas in the Champions League Final, concluding a generally solid season, gave further weight to the argument that the Costa Rican should be retained, and for now the rumours over de Gea’s future have gone quiet.

Whoever ends up as first choice between the posts, former Espanyol shot-stopper Kiko Casilla is an ideal back-up, providing a reliable pair of hands but happy to accept only rare first team outings.

The big question remains: will Florentino Perez make another move on de Gea, or stick with Navas?

Navas celebrates Real Madrid’s Champions League triumph

DEFENDERS

As he is throughout the squad, Zinedine Zidane is well stocked in defence and no further movements in the summer market look likely.

There have been a couple of big-name departures, with long-serving Portuguese duo Fabio Coentrao and Pepe making exits from the club.

But they have been seamlessly replaced by a pair of new faces, with Theo Hernandez being snapped up from Atletico Madrid to compete with Marcelo at left-back and another highly-rated youngster, Jesus Vallejo, returning from a loan spell at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Twenty-year-old centre back Vallejo was initially signed by Madrid two years ago before being loaned straight back to boyhood club Real Zaragoza, but Zidane now believes he is ready for first team football behind Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Nacho.

Spain defender Jesus Vallejo in action during the European U21 Championship this summer

MIDFIELDERS

The only major deficit in Zidane’s double-winning squad last season was a genuine back-up for Casemiro as the defensive-minded shield in front of the back four.

But that has now been rectified with the return of young Marcos Llorente, who excelled during a loan season with Alaves last year and will now provide an outstanding alternative to the criminally under-sung Casemiro.

Further forward, James Rodriguez’s departure to Bayern Munich was no surprise even if the nature of his exit, a two-year loan, did raise eyebrows.

The Colombian star’s place as a squad player will effectively be taken by Dani Ceballos, an energetic, skilful and hard-working 20 year-old new signing from Real Betis who greatly impressed for Spain’s under 21 team during this summer’s European Championships.

Spain’s midfielder Daniel Ceballos in action during the European U21 Championship

FORWARDS

The attacking positions were always likely to provide the greatest source of intrigue this summer, and that remains the case with a big-money move for Monaco starlet Kylian Mbappe still in the offing.

First, however, Madrid will need to find a new home for Alvaro Morata, who looked poised to join Manchester United before the English giants made their shock late swoop for Romelu Lukaku.

Morata’s departure is important because the funds from his sale would be put towards the purchase of Mbappe, who remains a major target for Florentino Perez.

Although it’s unlikely, the possibility of Gareth Bale being sold remains in the air, but Cristiano Ronaldo will surely stay put despite creating headlines with his unexpected threats to quit the club earlier in the summer.

France forward Kylian Mbappe


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