With a 2-1 loss to Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey final came the end of what will go down as a failed season for Real Madrid. The summer transfer window is now right around the corner and Los Blancos will certainly be active.
There is a big issue, however, over who the club should bring in. The current squad is arguably one of the best in the world, so an empty season is a worry.
This article will identify the needs Real Madrid will have to address this summer. Specific players will not be the main issue addressed, but rather positions that need to be covered.
This has certainly not been the season for Real Madrid’s back line. Despite having very strong players in front of the keeper, there is relatively no depth to cover for the starters when needed.
Michael Essien has been forced to cover for Alvaro Arbeloa on countless occasions. Raul Albiol, though talented, is far from capable in big matches. And it seems as though neither Coentrao nor Marcelo can prove they deserve to start.
The biggest news lately is the retaliation of Jose Mourinho to former star Pepe, who criticized the manager, according to Guardian.
Pepe has struggled all season and has not featured since his statement. The future of the Portuguese star now appears to be up in the air, which could leave the club short of defensive options.
Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos are arguably the only standout performers in defense. Varane has been very impressive all season, but Ramos has had a few lapses.
If Los Blancos are to rebound from this season they must find more options at the back. The club cannot rely solely on the starters; there must be more depth and more quality all around.
If there is one move that is an absolute no-brainer, it would be bringing back Dani Carvajal to the Santiago Bernabeu.
The 21-year-old right back was sold to Bayer Leverkusen this past summer and has instantly become one of the best in Europe at his position. He would be an instant upgrade over Arbeloa and a serious long-term purchase at a great price.
So far this season, Carvajal is averaging over three tackles per game along with nearly four interceptions. According to WhoScored, the defender also gives two key passes per game, which has led to seven assists on the season.
Carvajal is an exceptional passer and a very astute defender. His ability to make strong tackles has made him a force in Germany, and his amount of playing time has greatly increased his ability to read the game.
To not bring back the former academy star would be a failure for Real Madrid. Dani Carvajal fills a big need in the club and must be purchased early in the summer.
Ever since it was announced that the club could not reach a deal for a new contract with Xabi Alonso, fans have been worried. The midfielder is the most important player on the pitch every night, and his replacement must be found soon.
No one will ever be able to truly fill in for Alonso. But the club cannot hope that a current player will step up.
Luka Modric doesn’t have the ability to play from the back and make key tackles like Alonso. Khedira does not offer the passing options that Alonso does. And Michael Essien is just too defensive to slot into the role.
Real Madrid will need to look for a young and capable replacement that can spend next season learning from Xabi Alonso before he departs from the club.
Marco Verratti is an even better option for the club. However, Sky Sports reports he wasted no time squashing any rumors that he was in contact with the club about a move for the 20-year-old.
Someone must be brought in this summer. The purchase will not be ready to take over immediately by any means, but a year studying from Alonso will prepare them for the future.
Merely one season since Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema combined to score 58 goals in all competitions; the duo has scored only 24 in the current campaign. That is a problem.
Cristiano Ronaldo needs help shouldering the scoring load at Real Madrid, and it is clear that assistance will not be coming from within the club. Florentino Perez must make signing a top striker the absolute priority in the coming months.
Names such as Edinson Cavani, Sergio Aguero and Robert Lewandowski have all been rumored as prospects for Real Madrid, and any of them would be a key purchase.
But the club must make sure that they do not keep their options open for too long. Real Madrid must target players that they know they can bring in and not stretch themselves too wide with too many targets.
If a world-class striker can be brought in to take up the role of being the lone forward in Real Madrid’s counter-attacking scheme, the Spanish giants will yet again be a favorite for European glory.
It seems as though the rumors of Gareth Bale heading to Real Madrid have been going on forever. For the longest time, fans were certain he was on the way to Bernabeu, but that thought may have changed.
According to the Telegraph, Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has begun to believe that he can keep Bale at the club. This could prove to be a huge blow for Real Madrid and completely ruin their summer transfer blueprint.
The club must finalize a deal for the versatile player very quickly or move on.
Spending the entire summer working a deal would seriously hurt Madrid’s chances of shoring up other purchases. The very same thing happened this past summer when negotiations for Luke Modric were drawn out.
Gareth Bale would be the most important purchase the club could possibly make. But he cannot be the only player brought in. The club cannot sit back and wait for Tottenham to deal. They must get him quickly or shop elsewhere.
It was a fitting end to Jose Mourinho’s time with Real Madrid when he was sent to the stands in the Copa del Rey final. His time with the club has been as dramatic as what could be his last game in charge.
The Special One was brought in to end Barcelona’s dominance, but rather sunk the Madrid ship.
There is no mistaking what has happened to the club. The players, manager, fans and media all have their own opinions and the club has suffered.
If Real Madrid wants to rebound next season and have a chance at La Liga and their 10th Champions League trophy, Mourinho has to go.
But his departure brings up a whole new set of problems.
Historically, when Jose Mourinho leaves a club, it falls into disarray. Florentino Perez will have to make a wise choice as to who will take over for Mourinho or things could get even worse.
It is certain that the club has several impressive options to replace Mourinho, but selecting the right man for the job will be easier said than done.
Real Madrid’s rise begins with a change at the top. The new manager will dictate all other summer moves which is why Mourinho’s departure is the only thing that can truly spark a new era for Los Blancos.
What must Real Madrid do this summer? Who should be the club’s top target and which manager is right for the job? Leave your thoughts and comments below.
Tre’ Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on Real Madrid and La Liga.