With their transfer ban shortened in length following an appeal, Real Madrid will be able to sign players once again in the summer transfer window. Zinedine Zidane’s side are currently top of La Liga and are in a good position to progress beyond Napoli in the Champions League second round, though positive performance hasn’t stopped the club from spending big on superstars in the past.
Their Galactico policy has seen some of the best footballing talent join Real in the last decade, with signings including Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Gareth Bale and Toni Kroos. And, if they were to resume this policy in the summer, there are a number of potential candidates for the club’s next star addition. Here we look a five of the best.
This season has seen Sergio Aguero make over a quarter of his league appearances from the Manchester City substitutes’ bench. Manager Pep Guardiola has experimented with a false nine atop his attack, and more recently has rotated Aguero with 19-year-old Brazilian starlet Gabriel Jesus. As such, the Argentine striker’s importance to the team has waned, and there have been rumours of a summer departure.
At 28 years of age, Aguero is at the peak of his powers. And, while he may not have long left at the very top of his game, he would still make a good addition to Real Madrid’s squad. Karim Benzema has been out of form for Los Blancos this term, meaning they may well be on the lookout for a new striker. With 11 goals in 19 Premier League outings and five in six Champions League appearances, Aguero has proven he retains the potency that has made him one of the world’s best in this position in recent years.
In addition, ‘Kun’ would fit the Real Madrid brand. Having played for rivals Atletico Madrid in the past, the attacker’s signing would represent a reconfirmation of Real’s stature within the game.
Galacticos tend to be attacking players and, as aforementioned, Real Madrid could do with a new striker considering Benzema’s drop-off in form in 2016-17. With this in mind, Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will likely be in the European champions’ thoughts when the summer transfer window comes around.
The Gabonese hitman isn’t quite as clinical as Aguero, but he is extremely mobile and offers plenty of movement in and around the final third. On top of that, his finishing has improved in recent seasons. In his debut campaign in the Bundesliga he hit 13 goals, and in his second season he found the net 16 times. However, last term he scored 25 goals in 28 starts, and this season he has scored an incredible 17 in 19.
Aubameyang has been linked to Real Madrid consistently in the past, and it would make sense for the 27-year-old to be one of their primary attacking targets. He would bring a real injection of pace to what is an ageing frontline, as well as serious goal threat.
Having relied upon the home-grown Iker Casillas for well over a decade, Real Madrid’s Galactico era hasn’t yet wielded a superstar goalkeeper. However, speculation over the last few years seems to indicate this could soon change. Shot-stopping greats such as Manchester United’s David de Gea and Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois have been linked to the club, though a more attractive option could be AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Goalkeepers are generally known for peaking late and enjoying extended careers, but Donnarumma defied convention by establishing himself as Milan’s number one at the age of 16. This is his second campaign between the posts for one of Italy’s most prestigious and historic clubs, and the pressure has not for one second looked like getting to him.
With exceptional reactions, good decision-making and sound handling, the 17-year-old is also a commanding penalty box presence with a speciality for saving penalties. And his quality, combined with his youth, make him a genuine contender to be the first goalkeeping Galactico.
In Italy, comparisons have been made between Paulo Dybala and Lionel Messi. While such comparisons may be unfair on Juventus’ Argentine forward, they are not completely without merit. He has the same flitting dribbling style, close control in tight spaces, deceptively quick feet and lustrous left foot as his older compatriot, even if he lacks the same precision and cutting edge.
At 23 years of age, Dybala is already the Italian champions’ star. He is one of Serie A’s top dribblers and chance-makers, and is also a relatively frequent scorer, having averaged one goal every two league games in his first two years with Juventus. He is versatile too, capable of operating as a number nine, number 10, or something in-between.
Effective and beautiful to watch, Dybala’s boyish good looks would only add to his Galactico viability. On top of that, were Real Madrid to sign arguably the best player from the best team in Italy, and at the same time sign Messi’s heir, they would be making a real statement of intent.
Under Antonio Conte’s management, Eden Hazard once again looks like Eden Hazard, rather than the mere impostor of last season. With 10 Premier League goals to his name, he has re-established himself as one of the most creative attacking forces in English football. He is on course for one of his most productive seasons yet, and has helped his side to the top of the league in the process.
The Belgian has been with Chelsea for five years now, experiencing ups and downs, memorable moments and challenging for individual awards on a frequent basis. However, he has not quite made the leap to the elite level occupied by the likes of Messi and Ronaldo and, at 26 years of age, is running out of time to do so.
As one of the world’s finest dribblers, Hazard is exactly the sort of breathtakingly entertaining individual Real Madrid have made a habit of signing. And, should Chelsea win the title this season, his stock is unlikely to get any higher, making this summer perhaps the ideal time for Real to make him their newest Galactico.