Carlo Ancelotti has steered Real Madrid yet again into a position of strength in multiple trophy hunts, but this year’s campaign feels as if it could be teetering on a knife edge.
Amid an injury crisis at the Santiago Bernabeu, Los Blancos could be dipping into the rarely utilised January transfer market to secure reinforcements along the back line.
Real Madrid sit second in the La Liga table, just two points behind surprise contenders Girona, and looked strong throughout the Champions League group stage, securing a knockout matchup with German club RB Leipzig. The explosion of summer signing Jude Bellingham in his first season with the club is a big reason for much of their success, helping to cover up any holes elsewhere in the squad.
Yet all that could be at risk if serious injuries along the defensive unit threaten to scupper their plans of adding to the club’s bulging trophy case. The Sporting News details who could be candidates to join the Spanish giants in January to help patch over deficiencies in the squad exacerbated by the various fitness concerns.
Real Madrid transfer news: January 2024 window targets
Alphonso Davies could leave Bayern Munich for Real Madrid
Reports from Germany have indicated in recent weeks that talks between Alphonso Davies and Bayern Munich on a new contract for the Canadian have stalled. His current deal expires in the summer of 2025, and while an extension had already been verbally agreed to this year, German publication Bild reports that Davies has since upped his demand to nearly €15 million per year, up from the €12m agreed to earlier.
If Davies cannot come to an agreement, it could push the German club to sell in January, knowing any more time wasted in fruitless negotiation would see his value drop considerably. Bild has thus linked Davies to Real Madrid
The 23-year-old has been a mercurial player at Bayern, but his versatility as either a winger or full-back would give Ancelotti some flexibility in deploying Davies in his ever-changing tactical approach.
It was reported by Marca that Bayern had increased their offer to Davies to €10m per year, which could put him out of Madrid’s reach.
Real Madrid to rescue Raphael Varane from Man United woes?
When Raphael Varane left Real Madrid in August of 2021, it was a surprise as the Frenchman had developed into a world-class defender, and Manchester United pounced on his availability for a big-money fee.
Yet it’s all gone wrong at Old Trafford, as Varane has found himself limited to a back-up role this season after apparently losing the full confidence of manager Erik ten Hag. According to Florian Plettenberg of Sky Germany, Man United are aware that Varane is unhappy, and a winter sale is very much on the table. Furthermore, reports in Spain claim Varane’s been offered to Madrid by his agent.
His former club could be a perfect landing spot, as there’s a need on both sides. Plettenberg notes the 30-year-old would cost €20-30 million, which could be the perfect situation for Real Madrid to solve their injury issues. Additionally, Varane has already retired from international duty, which means Ancelotti would not have to worry about him during FIFA breaks, where many other Madrid stars have gone down.
Goncalo Inacio a target as Madrid look for defensive replacements
Twenty-two-year-old Portuguese centre-back Goncalo Inacio has risen to European prominence at Sporting CP, helping lead the club to the top of the Liga Portugal table with 15 goals conceded in 14 games.
Spanish publication AS claims that Madrid have been closely following Inacio for some time, with a release clause somewhere in the vicinity of €60 million, but that mark is reportedly flexible for Madrid to negotiate down. Manchester United have been mentioned as another possible destination for Inacio, but reports claim he prefers the La Liga giants.
Jude Bellingham’s brother Jobe linked with move to Real Madrid
One Bellingham has brought new life to Real Madrid and lifted the club to the top tier of multiple competitions, so could they look to see double?
According to Spanish publication Sport, 18-year-old Jobe Bellingham is impressing at Championship side Sunderland, and while that would usually be a pretty significant jump from the English second tier to the most decorated club in Europe, there’s an obvious link here.
Jobe Bellingham bears a striking resemblance to his brother Jude, and plays the same position, but it remains to be seen whether the youngster, who only joined Sunderland from Birmingham City the previous summer for €1.75 million, would actually be a realistic option for Madrid to join the club and contribute, or whether he would have to spend time at the youth level.
Which positions do Real Madrid need to sign in January?
By far the biggest position of need at Real Madrid in the January transfer window is centre-back, following the long-term injuries to Eder Militao and David Alaba, who both tore their ACLs this season.
Militao’s injury occurred in the first match of the season, meaning he is expected to return sometime in the coming months, but Alaba went down in December, meaning he’s done for 2023/24 and possibly into the start of next season.
They could also potentially look to sign a player to help bolster the squad’s attacking ranks out wide, given Vinicius Jr’s recent injury troubles, but the Brazilian is thought likely to return in mid-January and Ancelotti will be wary of bloating the squad too far.