Real Madrid Transfers: A prized transfer target is officially off the table

La Liga, Real Madrid (Photo by Visionhaus)
La Liga, Real Madrid (Photo by Visionhaus) /

Real Madrid could be in the market for a young center back in the summer 2021 transfer window, depending on what happens with Sergio Ramos, David Alaba, and even Raphael Varane, who will have one year left on his contract after the end of this season. On Friday, one of Real’s top options was taken off the table in an unsurprising move.

Last summer, Dayot Upamecano was floated around as Real’s top center back target, as manager Zinedine Zidane coveted the defender. But Real stopped showing interest in Upamecano as their economic situation grew more dire, whereas Bayern Munich recently stepped up their interest in the RB Leipzig standout.

Now, it is official. Upamecano will be staying in the Bundesliga, as Die Roten’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed an agreement. Bayern will sign Upamecano on a five-year deal and pay Leipzig the 45 million euro release clause that Real were reportedly reluctant to meet.

Upamecano is an excellent, 22-year-old center back who might be the best ball-playing defender among those under the age of 23, when accounting for the progressive nature of his passes and the ambitiousness of his runs.

Jules Kounde is clearly the best available CB for Real Madrid

But for Real Madrid, if they have the money to sign one young center back, Jules Kounde is the dream option. His release clause is 80 million euros, so he would be a much more expensive investment than Upamecano. And to be honest, since Real are going all-in on a forward like Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland, he is an investment they most likely cannot afford.

Kounde is a reminder, however, that there are options if Florentino Perez needs them. Pau Torres is another candidate within La Liga. Outside of Spain, Monaco’s Benoit Badiashile is an affordable player who might be even better than Upamecano when purely discussing his defensive ability.

But is a signing even necessary? Nacho is still around and has been solid in 2020-2021. Ferland Mendy has the potential to play at center back. Most importantly, Eder Militao is a good player who can be a star for Real Madrid over the next decade if they give him a chance. He was purchased for 50 million euros from FC Porto for a reason.

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Upamecano going to Bayern takes a top center back off of the wishlist of many Madridistas, but it is not a “huge transfer blow” to Los Merengues either. They have not really been in the chase for Upamecano, and now the focus turns to Kounde, Badiashile, and Torres.