Real Madrid will have to look for alternatives to Kylian Mbappe. Here are three options for the Spanish giants to target in place of the French international.
What seemed like a prophecy for the longest time turned out to be a false sense of reality for Real Madrid. Los Blancos seemed destined to secure the services of Kylian Mbappe for the better part of the last twelve months, only for the 23-year-old to dash those hopes by choosing to stay put at Paris Saint-Germain.
Real Madrid’s pursuit of Mbappe and their desire to shell out a nine-figure sum to secure his services ended with the relations between the Merengues and PSG breaking down. The Spanish giants have ended empty-handed at the end of the soap opera, with Mbappe leaving them embarrassed.
Les Parisiens were not completely covered in glory either, but they succeeded in keeping their man while defeating a new enemy in the process. But Real Madrid will not have much time to lick their wounds, and Florentino Perez is not a man to dwell on his failures and will instead focus on identifying the right solution heading into the summer transfer window.
If reinforcing the attacking unit remains a priority for Real Madrid, several alternatives can pop up on their radar in no time. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle looks at three alternate options for Real Madrid to consider after reluctantly setting their sights away from Kylian Mbappe.
The first name on the list features a player who is on top of the world right now, and why not? After all, Rafael Leao played an instrumental role in guiding AC Milan to the Serie A title for the first time in 11 years. And his exploits have captured the attention of some of the most high profile clubs across Europe, including Real Madrid.
The 22-year-old might not be the most prolific wide attacker in Europe. But he has his best years well ahead of him and can transform into one of the most formidable forwards in the continent. And while Leao primarily plays from the left flank, he has appeared more unpredictable when featuring on the right-wing.
The Portuguese international has a penchant for taking shots from range, which should add a layer to Real Madrid’s attacking output, and finishing is one of his strong suits. So Leao’s addition could help take the burden off Real Madrid talismans Vinicius Jr. and Karim Benzema.
However, Real Madrid might have a few obstacles in their pursuit of Leao. Firstly, AC Milan might be reluctant to part with the young attacker after reaching the pinnacle of Italian football. Recent reports have suggested that the Rossoneri could demand around €100 million to ward off suitors. Leao is also a target for Real Madrid’s arch-rival Barcelona, among other European bigwigs, meaning a transfer battle could be set up for his signature.
The next name on our list is another player who has recently featured prominently in Barcelona’s target list. The said player might embark on a new adventure in the summer transfer window, and Real Madrid could be his next destination. We are talking about Raheem Sterling.
The English international has endured a fall in stature at Manchester City in the last couple of seasons. And while he enjoyed a decent 2021/22 campaign, Pep Guardiola’s reluctance to hand him starts in the big games has reportedly left Sterling frustrated at the Etihad.
A change of scenery might be the best way forward for Sterling, and a move to Real Madrid could serve him well. While the English international has recently not been as productive as he can be, he has previously enjoyed a season where he scored over 30 goals. And reproducing such returns could hold Real Madrid in good stead in the coming season.
Recent reports have suggested that Real Madrid could pay the big bucks to secure the services of the Manchester City forward. And Sterling’s ability to play across the frontline and penchant to score crucial goals should enable Real Madrid to remain at the summit of Spanish football in the 2021/22 season. But battling Barcelona could be on the cards.
Mohamed Salah would be the ideal fit for Real Madrid, considering their requirements for the offensive unit. And while the Egyptian forward’s deal with Liverpool runs out next year, he is likelier to remain at Anfield than teammate Sadio Mane, another player who has emerged on Barcelona’s radar lately.
While Salah admittedly wants to stay put at Liverpool FC for the remainder of his career, Mane has shown the inclination to embark on a new adventure in the summer transfer window. The Liverpool forward is reportedly open to joining a suitor like Bayern Munich or Barcelona. But his head could turn if Real Madrid’s interest in him grows.
Recent reports have suggested that Mane is keen on joining Real Madrid, but interest from Los Blancos has not been forthcoming so far. That said, the 30-year-old is a proven customer in the Premier League and, more importantly, UEFA Champions League and will add at least 20 goals to Real Madrid’s tally.
Like Salah, Mane will see his Liverpool contract expire next year. And if talks with the Reds do not progress smoothly, Real Madrid might have the chance to snap him up on a cut-price deal. Mane, like Sterling, can play across the frontline and has scored goals when Liverpool needed them most desperately, which bodes well for Real Madrid if they sign him. But Los Blancos might have to battle Barcelona, as is the case for the other two candidates.