With just over a week remaining in the January transfer window, Real Madrid have yet to buy a player. The star signings to which the Spanish giants have been linked—Falcao from rival Atlético—will probably have to wait for the summer (via Sky Sports).
However, there are other, less hyped players available on the market, and it is impossible to think that Madrid will try to add to their squad before the end of the window.
Here are four young players who could prove a good bargain for Los Blancos.
With Luka Modric’s signing still fresh, Real Madrid are looking into a young player rumored to be his successor. Alen Halilovic is a 16-year-old attacking midfielder, currently playing for Dinamo Zagreb (via The Mirror).
Halilovic has fast forwarded through the normal career path professional footballers usually take. Few teenagers his age can say they are the youngest scorer in the history of their domestic league and have Champions League experience. Halilovic, although having played just seven times in Dinamo’s first team, can boast both.
As happens with any young prodigy rising in the less prestigious competitions of continental football, major clubs in Europe have come knocking to whisk away this precocious talent.
Two Manchester clubs have been rumored trying to sign him, but Real Madrid may have beat them to it, as the youngster trained with the Spanish giants in pre-season (via The Mirror). Halilovic might also find the presence of fellow Croatian Luka Modric reassuring, as a move to a foreign country for a 16-year-old may seem daunting.
Zagreb have reportedly asked for £12 milllion for their starlet although bids are believed to have been made at around half that price (via The Daily Mail).
Wilfried Zaha, 20, has been at the center of transfer rumors across the continent since his explosion with Crystal Palace. A two times Crystal Palace Young Player of the Year, he has mainly been linked to Premier League giants Manchester United (via BBC).
However, in recent weeks, and after gaining visibility by being called up by Roy Hodgson for England, Real Madrid have been rumored to be looking into the young winger (via The Sun).
His first full season with Palace in 2011-12, attracted scouts from top English teams thanks to his nine goals and five assists for the club. His bright start to the 2012-13 campaign has widened that interest to foreign clubs.
With five goals already this season, he has helped Palace to challenge for the promotion spots of the Championship. They are currently in fourth position and within two points of an automatic Premier League spot.
As such, major clubs will probably try to sign him in this January window rather than wait for him to become a Premier League player, which could considerably raise his price tag.
The price tag for Zaha has been set at around €25 million (via The Mirror), and he could serve as backup or replacement for the likes of Ángel Di María or José Callejón.
Marcos Aoás Corrêa, better known as Marquinhos, is a Brazilian center back currently playing at AS Roma in Serie A.
With Madrid’s defense crumbling under injuries and suspension, the signing of a young center back that could serve as backup would seem a logical step. Marquinhos is 18 years old and has won his place in Roma’s back four over veteran defender Nicolás Burdisso.
The Brazilian played his youth career with Corinthians, then had a brief spell in the first team, before being loaned out to AS Roma at the start of the current season. He was then bought from the Brazilian side for a reported €3 million (via Goal.com).
The Manchester Evening News has reported that both Madrid and Manchester City have shown interest in Roma for Marquinhos. The young defender has also been linked to arch-rivals FC Barcelona by Corriere dello Sport (via Football Italia).
Transfermarkt.co.uk values the player at €5 million, although Roma’s reluctance to sell one of their first choice center backs may well boost the price if they agree to sell at all.
Young Danish keeper Kasper Schmeichel has been linked to Real Madrid as a possible long-term replacement of Iker Casillas (via The Guardian).
Additionally, if José Mourinho stays at Real Madrid, and that it is a big if, then he will probably make signing a new goalkeeper one of his priorities.
Schmeichel, the son of illustrious goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, has had a turbulent start to his senior career, having already played for nine different clubs by age 26.
Starting as a youth player for Manchester City, he was loaned out to several clubs from 2006 to 2008, before permanently signing for Notts County under Sven-Goran Eriksson in 2009. Following financial problems at the club, he moved on to Leeds United, and now plays at Leicester City in the Championship.
He won his place as the first goalkeeper for Leicester City and helped them rise to second in the Championship, an automatic promotion spot to the Premier League. In the meantime he has put in some magnificent performances for his team and was named in the official FA Championship Team of the Week on three occasions this season.
His price tag is unknown but specialist website Tranfermarkt.co.uk values the player at €2.5 million.