5 Players Real Madrid Could Add to Squad After Expected Angel Di Maria Transfer
It's a move that would deprive Real of one of their best performers from last season, though with new recruits Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez already in place, it's clear Di Maria does not have an automatic starting spot this season.
Here are five players Real could look to bring in during the final days of the transfer window to boost their squad ahead of an assault on all fronts this season. Naturally, this doesn't suggest they sign all five, but perhaps one in a key area might redress the balance of the squad.
Goalkeeper: Petr Cech
Real signed Keylor Navas this summer and offloaded Diego Lopez, but Iker Casillas has still started as their No. 1 goalkeeper in both the UEFA Super Cup and the Spanish Super Cup. In none of those matches has he looked remotely like returning to the impenetrable barrier of old.
Presumably, Navas will be handed the chance to start sooner or later, but there just so happens to be a world-class stopper almost certainly available in Petr Cech.
Cech would be an instant upgrade on anyone at the club, even with Navas' good form.
Centre-Back: Kostas Manolas
Moving into defence, Real are stocked in the centre for first XI options with Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Raphael Varane, but Nacho as a fourth is a utility man at best and will rarely start centrally in important games, if ever.
Given the uneven form of Pepe at times last season and the downright poor play from Ramos so far this term—plus the discipline of both—a fourth centre-back would be no bad thing for Real Madrid.
Kostas Manolas proved himself in the Champions League last season and is one of Europe's brightest young defenders. He is an aggressive and combative player who would dovetail nicely with Varane's quality on the ball and willingness to sweep behind the line while his partner pushes out to press.
Wide Forward: Markel Susaeta
Real Madrid don't need any central midfielders. Even without Di Maria, they have Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric, Illarra, Kroos and Sami Khedira.
Further forward, though, they have a clear starting quartet: Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema, though not much experienced depth thereafter, with just Jese and Isco providing support in the squad.
A pace-fuelled wide forward who has proven capable of making an impact in La Liga would be a worthwhile acquisition, without needing to go for another star name.
Athletic Bilbao's Markel Susaeta would be a particularly impressive option, though likely an expensive one, with Bilbao not likely to sell easily. He can play both flanks, contributes goals and is a great source of chances for his team-mates.
Forward: Carlos Vela
An alternative for Real would be to look at a player who can play wide but also offer cover centrally for Benzema in attack.
A perfect option in that case would be Mexican forward Carlos Vela, scorer of 16 La Liga goals last season with Real Sociedad and who has shown his worth in the Champions League already.
Capable both from the right and in a No. 10 role, as well as upfront, Vela would offer plenty of cover for Real Madrid and offer La Real an immediate return on their investment this summer.
Striker: Stefan Kiessling
An out-and-out striker seems a less likely option for Madrid, given Benzema always starts and has signed a new deal, ruling out a probable move for Radamel Falcao. Besides, Jese will prove an adequate replacement once fit, too, as well as playing wider.
However, we can suggest one who is a great scorer of goals, is reliable and would cope with a step up to a bigger club: Bayer Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling.
Already among the goals this summer, he'd give Real's attack great depth and a potent aerial threat, though he would cost a large fee as his team would have to act quickly to replace him.