Named once again as one of the top money-making clubs in the world, victorious in their first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinal on Wednesday, and sitting just one point out of first place on the La Liga table, Real Madrid is riding high these days.
However, that doesn’t mean Los Blancos and boss Carlo Ancelotti are standing still as the January transfer session window slowly closes. Several players have been linked to moves in and out of the Bernabeu as the final stretch of the campaign gets under way, and many are on the defensive side of the ball.
Madrid owes much of its success to goal keepers Diego Lopez and Iker Casillas, but it appears only one could last with the team beyond this summer. Casillas has put up historical numbers in his last 16 matches for Madrid, making 47 saves off 51 shots and he’s yet to allow a single goal in five cup games this season.
In La Liga play Ancelotti has largely gone with Lopez, who’s been equally impressive with 56 saves and seven clean sheets. But a new report indicates Casillas could see an uptick in pitch time.
According to Bild, the 32-year-old Lopez has garnered interest from Manchester City and German titans Borussia Dortmund. City could be seeking an upgrade over regular Joe Hart, who’s made 41 saves in 15 matches this season, and same goes for Dortmund and Roman Weidenfeller.
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Curiously, both Casillas and Lopez are under contract until 2017 and their average market value is roughly the same at £9 million. Considering their excellent play, each could net Los Blancos an even larger sum from a club in dire need of a defensive captain.
Madrid could further pad their coffers by finally selling off defender Fabio Coentrao, 25, to Manchester United, and free up space for highly touted full back Alberto Moreno, as reported by Talk Sport.
Starring with Sevilla since his youth academy days, the 21-year-old Moreno has also moved up to Spain’s first club and Madrid could land him early before his price goes up after the World Cup. According to Talk Sport, Moreno’s newly signed contract lasts until 2018 and contains an already hefty £25 million buyout clause.
In other news, one player who has specifically pledged his love of Madrid could be fitted for new kit. Striker Alvaro Morata, who has been linked to moves to Serie A club’s Juventus and Inter Milan, along with Arsenal, told The Express he wants to remain at the Bernabeu.
"Despite all the stories that have emerged, I am happy here," Morata said. "I have spoken with the club and the coach and told them I want to stay here.
"This is the team I have spent my entire life at and I will stay here and do whatever the club asks of me or needs of me, even if it's to play a minimal amount of games."
Tottenham originally asked for Morata to be included in the historical Gareth Bale deal last summer, but Madrid declined. Morata, 21, could fetch upwards of £10.5 million.