Real Madrid Transfers: Once the top center back target, now an afterthought?

Real Madrid, Florentino Perez (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Florentino Perez (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images) /

There is suddenly a lot of intrigue around the center back position for Real Madrid, and it all has to do with contracts.

Sergio Ramos will be a free agent at the end of the 2020-2021 season if he and Los Blancos do not come to an agreement with a deal, and the dragged-out nature of the negotiations has not exactly eased the minds of Madridistas. Then, there is Raphael Varane, whose contract runs out after 2021-2022.

It’s hard to see Los Blancos losing both superstar center backs, but the club has to stay vigilant with monitoring the talented young central defenders in Europe. Jules Kounde would be the preferred option, given his age (22) and elite ability in La Liga.

One name who may no longer be at the top of the list? Dayot Upamecano. Last year, the RB Leipzig star was discussed as Real’s top center back target and favored by Zinedine Zidane. But now it seems as if the trail has cooled.

Real Madrid reportedly don’t want to pay Dayot Upamecano’s release clause

Defensa Central reports (article in Spanish) that Real Madrid have withdrawn themselves from the chase for Upamecano, believing that his 45 million euro release clause is too pricy during the current economic crisis.

That’s an interesting position to take, given that it’s unlikely they can find anyone of comparable quality for cheaper. Kounde is the better center back and the top option if money were no object, but his release clause is 80 million euros. Manchester City even bid 55 million euros for Kounde, and their bid was dismissed by Sevilla. The La Liga club knows they can get a LOT out of Kounde.

Upamecano isn’t too expensive at 45 million euros, but maybe it’s all for the best that Real Madrid are planning on saving their money. They still have Eder Militao as a young center back, and Ferland Mendy is a 25-year-old left back who can play in the middle. If Ramos leaves, David Alaba should be set to replace him. Nacho remains, and despite the rumors, there’s no reason to believe Varane is departing either.

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Real Madrid have a huge need at forward and must save every cent for Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland. That is their priority. Upamecano, who seems to be bound for Bayern Munich anyway, is a great player. But he is an afterthought to a new forward. Finally, if Los Blancos do need a young center back, Kounde is the top target over Upamecano on talent and Badiashile is a great “budget option” if money must be the concern. He is just as good as Upamecano and would be cheaper.