Real Madrid's wildly successful 2011-12 season proved a truism often spoken about manager José Mourinho. "He's always better in the second year." And so it was, as Los Blancos won La Liga by a staggering nine points and advanced to the Champions League semifinals for the first time in many years. As the new season approaches, the goals can rather plainly be stated as a continuation of form, "do it again." More good times, it would seem, are further ahead.
And yet, any great team must be always improving. Competitors evolve, opposing strategies are worked out (much as Barcelona's tiki taka has been schemed against), players age and fatigue—there are countless reasons to always dip one's feet in the transfer market no matter how great the current squad.
Anyway, are Madrid fans really content with the simple narrative that their team was "unlucky" not to progress against rival's Barcelona in the Copa del Rey? Are those same fans, moreover, satisfied with their performance over two legs against Bayern Munch in the Champions League? A poor run of form, perhaps? Tired legs, maybe?
The truth of the matter is that while things are "always better in the second year..." a third year doesn't always mean a logical improvement. Real Madrid's players may very well improve team chemistry, tactics and talent with another year under the guidance of José Mourinho—they almost certainly will do so—but team's don't perform in a vacuum.
Mourinho met this fate in his third season at Chelsea, when Manchester United overtook the two-time holders of the Premier League crown. That Chelsea team had remained roughly intact since Mourinho's early acquisitions, but Manchester United had quickly grown—Berbatov, Tevez, Vidic and a flourishing of a certain Portuguese player. By the end of that third season, Mourinho had jumped ship to Milan, Italy.
Of course, the current project at Real Madrid is very different. For one, the current squad is exceptionally young and well-balanced. For another, the youth system is showing signs of promising returns. But, nonetheless, clubs have been warned. "Nueve puntos." Nine points.
So, without further ado, here are some players who could fill needs in the current Madrid roster. Those needs aren't glaring like most other squads (because Real Madrid aren't like other squads), and thus the players are of a rather high caliber; or, in some cases, they offer something different than what's currently on the current roster.