Real Madrid: Summer Transfers That Must Happen for 2014 Success
Real Madrid have disappointed this season.
Despite possessing one of the most loaded sides in world soccer, Los Blancos look set to settle for just the Copa del Rey this season, and even that is not a guarantee.
Changes are imminent in the Spanish capital. This summer, expect to see some major transfers to put the Spanish giants back on track. Here are a few the club should consider.
In: Daniel Carvajal
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Let's get the most obvious transfer out of the way. Last summer Los Blancos let Daniel Carvajal leave their academy for Bayer Leverkusen and ultimately put their faith in Arvelo Arbeloa. Arbeloa has failed miserably this year, with the right side becoming the glaring weakness in Madrid's defense.
Luckily, Madrid has a buy-back clause on Carvajal.
So why Carvajal? For starters, Madrid needs someone who knows their system, and considering he's a former Castilla player, he'll fit right in. Secondly, and more importantly, he's been beyond brilliant this season. He's been the best right-back in the world according to whoscored.com, and he's a capable passer and crosser, evident from the six assists he's picked up this season (compare to Arbeloa's two).
At 21, he's young but has shown he can read the game well and has been a smart decision-maker. His dribbling is very good as well, so he can pose an additional threat on the right side, something Madrid has lacked from Arbeloa.
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A striker will be joining Madrid this season as all the headlines seem to indicate; that means a striker has to leave.
It's a toss-up between Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema in terms of who should be leaving. Higuain has been the better goalscorer (13 goals in 23 games) but Benzema is a better passer and looks more comfortable on the ball (seven assists in 25 games). Regardless of who Madrid picks to leave, the other will likely play second-fiddle to an incoming striker.
The only thing I'm positive of is that one will be leaving, as both have lost the magical goalscoring they demonstrated last year. Los Blancos will likely look to replace that tenacity this summer.
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The young Brazilian midfielder, Casemiro, made his debut for Madrid against Real Betis and looked solid. He looked calm on the ball and completed over 85 percent of his passes; not bad at all considering his first-team call-up was shocking to so many fans.
Casemiro not elite—yet. He possess the raw athleticism to dominate as a holding midfielder and is showing hints of the mental acuity required. The two biggest concerns for him right now are his aerial ability and attitude. The youngster was simply awful in the air, especially in defending set pieces. He's not undersized at 6'0" tall, so he if can learn to read the ball in the air better and time his jumps, he could flat-out dominate.
His attitude is a much larger concern and one of the reasons Sao Paulo was so willing to let the Castilla bring him in on loan. Despite looking absolutely brilliant just a season ago, his performances have dropped. He's been aggressive toward his manager and has seemed to buy into his own hype.
If Madrid can humble him, Casemiro could be a stunningly good holding midfielder.
Out: Xabi Alonso
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Xabi Alonso is one of the world's best passers. He's in an elite category of players, like Xavi, who seem to be able to make any pass look effortless. If you are surprised that I have him needing to leave, you absolutely should be.
Alonso is getting older, and it's showing.
At 31, he's still reading the game very well and making the beautiful passes. Teams that are affording him the space to operate are being ripped apart by his experience and talent. But what about teams that don't give him space?
In the recent loss to Borussia Dortmund, Alonso was one of the team's weakest links. Despite being charged with marking wunderkind Mario Goetze, Alonso let him slip by numerous times and made just two tackles all game. Alonso's passing early in the game was simply awful as Dortmund looked to pressure him every chance they got. His weakness in dribbling was exposed and his recklessness peaked as he gave away a penalty in 67th minute.
Alonso's best years are behind him. He's been a great cog in the offense this season, but with his contract running out this summer and his seeming unwillingness to sign a new deal, it's in Madrid's best interests to let the Spaniard go.
In: Nuri Sahin
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Technically, Nuri Sahin is already a Real Madrid player, but he hasn't been afforded the chance to show just how good he is. In his first year with Madrid, he missed part of the season due to a training injury, and in his very limited appearances, he looked good but not good enough to impress Jose Mourinho.
After a failed loan spell in Liverpool, Sahin has begun to re-find his form at his old club, Borussia Dortmund. In six starts, he has two goals and an assist. Not too bad considering he's not getting many touches.
Sahin, just two seasons ago, was the Bundesliga player of the year. He's a fantastic passer and, at 24 years old, has plenty of good years in front of him. Giving the young Turk the chance he deserves will pay dividends for a Madrid side looking to replace Xabi Alonso's production.
Out: Jose Mourinho
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The Mourinho experiment has run its course. Now in his third season with Madrid, the Portuguese manager has failed to impress at the helm of Madrid.
Yes, he has a pair of trophies (Copa del Rey, La Liga title), but he has not captured the elusive La Decima which the fans and ownership desire so much. Madrid won't have to fire Mourinho, as he will likely find his way back to the Premier League on his own accord.
He hasn't been bad tactically, but he has been disruptive on the whole to the club. Rumor after rumor of problems in the locker room have risen over the past few seasons. He's isolated Iker Casillas, the legendary captain and fan favorite. He's ignored one of the world's best academies, and has failed to recognize and address some of the team's biggest weaknesses.
His total tactical failure against Borussia Dortmund is the latest reason why "The Special One" will have to find himself a new home.