7 quality free agents Real Madrid should sign this summer: Dembele…

·6-min read
Ousmane Dembele during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Osasuna played at Camp Nou Stadium on March 13, 2022. Credit: PA Images
Ousmane Dembele during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Osasuna played at Camp Nou Stadium on March 13, 2022. Credit: PA Images

Having won the La Liga title and the Champions League in 2021-22, Real Madrid already have a really strong squad and probably don’t need to strengthen it. 

But they won’t want to get complacent and have already brought in Antonio Rudiger and Aurelien Tchouameni ahead of the new season.

Tchouameni took up most of their transfer budget, but we’ve taken a look at seven free agents they could still sign.

David Ospina

Goalkeeper might not seem like an area Madrid will be desperate to strengthen given they already have Thibaut Courtois, who produced a Man of the Match performance in the 2022 Champions League final.

But back-up goalkeeper Andriy Lunin also produced some impressive performances last season and reportedly wants a loan move ahead of 2022-23. 

Madrid will need a new No.2 if Lunin departs and Ospina, who previously worked under Carlo Ancelotti at Napoli, should be their top target. 

The 36-year-old kept 13 clean sheets in 31 Serie A appearances last season and would be a more than able deputy to Courtois.

But Los Blancos will have to act quickly as Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr have reportedly offered him a €3.5million-a-year contract.

Faouzi Ghoulam

After making 546 appearances and winning 25 trophies during his time at Madrid, Marcelo bid an emotional farewell at the end of the 2021-22 season.

The 34-year-old has mainly acted as back-up to fellow left-back Ferland Mendy in the last two seasons but will still need replacing.

Ghoulam, who has just been released by Napoli, was once regarded as one of the best left-backs in the world but injury problems halted his progress.

He’s still a talented full-back and would add some depth to Madrid’s squad, allowing Mendy to have a rest during Copa del Rey games.

The 31-year-old has recently been linked with Lazio, Bologna, Marseille and Saint-Etienne but would surely jump at the chance to join Madrid.

Marcelo in action for Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain. September 2007. Credit: PA Images
Marcelo in action for Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain. September 2007. Credit: PA Images

READ: Where are they now? Real Madrid’s XI from Marcelo’s debut in 2007

Andrea Belotti

After Karim Benzema scored 44 goals in 46 appearances during a sensational 2021-22, Madrid don’t need to spend big on a new striker this summer.

But the 34-year-old can’t be expected to start every game next season and back-up striker Luka Jovic has recently left for Fiorentina.

Belotti, who was previously linked with Madrid in 2017, might be willing to accept a back-up role at the Bernabeu and would provide a good option for Madrid when Benzema needs to be rested.

The Italy international, who scored 113 goals in 251 appearances during his time at Torino, combines his physical strength with a goal poacher’s instinct and would be a nightmare to handle for La Liga defenders.

Edinson Cavani

If the Belotti deal doesn’t happen and Madrid are still looking for a proven goalscorer, they should look no further than Cavani.

The 35-year-old has previously played in Uruguay, Italy, France and England and showcased his goal-scoring instincts in all four countries.

Admittedly, he is now coming towards the end of his career and injuries restricted him to just seven Premier League starts for Manchester United in 2021-22.

But Madrid only need a striker who starts in Copa del Rey games and can come off the bench in La Liga when they are chasing a goal.

Cavani’s excellent movement causes a lot of problems when opponents’ defenders are tired and six of his 12 Premier League goals for United came in substitute appearances.

Juan Mata

While we’re on the subject of former Manchester United players…

Mata started his career at Madrid’s academy but has spent the last 11 years in the Premier League, becoming a fan-favourite at Chelsea and United.

The Spain international was on the fringes of the first team during his final few years at United and might also be willing to accept a bit-part role at Madrid.

Los Blancos are well stocked in midfield but could probably do with a replacement for Isco, who was released at the end of the season.

Mata still has the technical quality that will help him seamlessly slot into Madrid’s midfield and his experience would also be invaluable for their younger players.

Ousmane Dembele

Now this one would ruffle a few feathers…

Madrid already have Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr and were hoping to add Kylian Mbappe to their squad to complete a sensational front three.

But that move failed to materialise as Mbappe signed a new contract with PSG, leaving Madrid with Rodrygo, Lucas Vasquez and Marco Asensio as right-wing options.

Their hopes of signing Mohamed Salah on a free transfer next summer have been ruined after he signed a new contract at Liverpool.

Madrid have been left with very few alternatives and should take a risk by turning their attention to Dembele, who left Barcelona at the end of June.

The winger signed for Barcelona in a £142mllion move in 2017 but struggled with fitness and consistency issues during his first four years in Spain.

He finally started to fulfil his potential in 2021-22 and registered 13 assists in 21 La Liga appearances, including two in Barcelona’s 4-0 win at the Bernabeu in March.

Barcelona are still trying to tie him down to a new contract but Madrid should convince him to cross the Clasico divide and follow in Luis Figo’s footsteps. We’re sure that would go do well at Camp Nou…

Paulo Dybala

The most high-profile name on the free agents list, Dybala has regularly been linked with a move to Spain and could finally make it happen this summer.

While he’s struggled with injury problems and hasn’t lived up to the initial hype, the Argentina international has still scored over 100 goals for Juventus, including 15 in 39 appearances in 2021-22.

The 28-year-old can play as a striker, attacking midfielder or even as a winger from the right flank, so he’d provide Ancelotti with a versatile option in the final third.

He’s already proved to be a thorn in Barcelona’s side, scoring a brace against them in the 2017 Champions League quarter-finals.

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