Three players Real Madrid must sign: Llorente, De Gea and Ceballos

David Cartlidge 14:44 21/07/2015
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  • Llorente, de Gea and Ceballos are all potential signings for Real Madrid this summer.

    In terms of transfers it’s been a quiet period in the hallways of Real Madrid this summer. The most noise has come via the departure of Carlo Ancelotti, and then more recently the end of a long-running saga in the form of Iker Casillas’ own exit. Throw in a similarly tedious soap opera in the form of Sergio Ramos’ contract negotiations, and you begin to see incoming deals have taken a back seat.

    Danilo has arrived from Porto to little fanfare, as he will compete for the right-back slot at the club, while the other arrivals have been mainly players returning to their roots. Kiko Casilla and Lucas Vazquez have both spent time at the club before, and their arrivals too, have gone basically unnoticed. So, it begs the questions, do Real Madrid still need to make a statement signing? Not quite. But they could well do with some reinforcements in key areas of the pitch.

    Here are the three names, and positions, the team needs to make a significant leap in, based on quality and depth.


    Real Madrid, in the form of BBC, boast one of the most fearsome and famous attacking trios in world football. That’s not up for debate. But after that, in terms of direct attacking options, what is there? Jese – clearly out of favour at the club after his terrible injury, and perhaps in need of a loan to regenerate his career; Borja Mayoral – prolific at youth level, frighteningly so, but extremely raw in terms of his progression. After that, well, there isn’t anything.

    Fernando Llorente then appears the perfect solution for the club. He boasts experience in La Liga, and in Europe, but also offers a different striking profile to the team. Llorente’s frame and prowess in the area would give Madrid a much needed Plan B in terms of their striking output. Llorente could be used as the traditional target man, a focal point for the many creative sources in the team to aim for. Be it the full-backs such as Marcelo, Danilo and Dani Carvajal overlapping, or the more delicate approach of Isco and James Rodriguez.

    Against those deep block teams, which Madrid face often across the course of a season, Llorente can develop into an invaluable, and unorthodox threat. Juventus are clearly willing to part ways with the player after bolstering their own attacking options this summer, and Llorente does indeed have a return to Spain in mind.


    While Real Madrid, at least at the outset, seem to have sewn up their goalkeeping position for the coming season, a doubt does loom over the figures of Keylor Navas and Kiko Casilla. Both are yet to show themselves to be profound on the big stage,though Navas admittedly had success at a World Cup with Costa Rica and a spectacular season with Levante showed he was capable of playing at a more competitive level. Nonetheless, the jury is definitely out as to whether they can sustain a season at the highest level.

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    It is why there still exists links to David de Gea, with a move this summer in mind. De Gea has one year left on his deal, and Madrid are putting out a posture of being content with their goalkeeping personnel, but if Manchester United were willing to play ball would it change the mind of Florentino Perez to make an early move? It most certainly would. The temptation to land De Gea, and show once again the strength of the team from capital in the transfer market, would be overwhelming.

    More pointedly however, it would automatically erase any doubts over the stability of the position between the posts. De Gea is world class, Real Madrid are a world-class team. Neither of their current two goalkeepers are world class. Just let that sink in for a moment, and imagine the backlash should the risk fail. The storm surrounding Casillas’ departure would be made to look like a mere grey cloud.

    DANI CEBALLOS (Real Betis)

    The least known name on this shortlist, but one that will no doubt be on the lips of many Spanish football fans for years to come. That’s exactly why Real Madrid need to nail Dani Ceballos down now. The Real Betis man currently has a contract winding down with just a year left, and a currently attainable release clause of Dhs48 million (€12m). A stunning season with Real Betis, helping the side to promotion at just 18 years old, plus a glittering string of displays in Spain’s Under-19 European Championship triumph, has brought the passionate boy from Utrera to the attention of a wide audience.

    Ceballos is a tenacious midfielder, who plays with his heart on his sleeve. And while he packs that fearsome energy, he is also blessed with astounding technical and leadership skills. One of his best friends, Marco Asensio, has already signed on for Real Madrid and if Los Blancos could boast both of Spain’s brightest midfield talents it would be a stunning coup.

    It would also appease the masses that feel the club are currently ignoring young Spanish talent. Ceballos will only get better, and with it admirers will grow. Chelsea are particularly keen, but the appeal of staying in Spain and playing for Madrid might well outweigh a move abroad at such a young age.