Real Madrid should consider competing for Manchester United’s ideal CB target

Manchester United, Ralf Rangnick (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Manchester United, Ralf Rangnick (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid will almost 100 percent be after one of Borussia Dortmund’s players in the summer 2022 transfer market. Barring a sudden turn of events, Erling Haaland will be second on Real’s wishlist after another forward, Kylian Mbappe, as he can be acquired for just 75 million euros (well…plus agent fees and a hefty contract).

But Dortmund are a hub of top talent. There are more great players who should interest Real Madrid, even this year. Interestingly enough, unlike Haaland, these two players are not attacking players.

One of them is another well-known, top young player. And because of the interest from Premier League clubs and his importance to BVB, he will be even more difficult to acquire than Haaland. That player would be Jude Bellingham, who has reached another level as a box-to-box midfielder for the Black and Yellows this season. There is no better young midfielder that money can buy, and Los Blancos need to at least be attentive.

The other player is far more under-the-radar than both of them, even though he has been a key player in Dortmund for years.

Manuel Akanji is finding himself at a bit of a crossroads. Though he is the center back holding everything together amidst injuries around him and shocking blunders from Mats Hummels, the man who shined for Switzerland in the Euros could be sold to make way for a new starter, free acquisition Niklas Sule of Bayern Munich.

Real Madrid should look at Dortmund’s Manuel Akanji as an option

Dortmund are reportedly ready to let Akanji go, and Manchester United is hot on his heels. Akanji has been an admirer of the Red Devils, and Ralf Rangnick, who went up against him as RB Leipzig’s boss a few seasons ago, is a big fan of his. And Rangnick, for all the rubbish written about him by people with a fraction of his footballing intellect, is one of the best there is at identifying talent. His work at Leipzig and Hoffenheim speaks for itself.

About 30 million euros is a good value for a 26-year-old center back with years of top-level experience on a team that leaves central defenders exposed. Akanji could be headed to Manchester for that price. He would be a much-needed upgrade on Harry Maguire as former Real Madrid man Raphael Varane’s partner-in-crime.

But even though Real Madrid have a world-class center back duo already in Eder Militao and David Alaba – both better than Akanji – the Royal White club should also be attentive to this situation.

Look, 30 million euros for Akanji is a bargain. Compare that to the figures tossed around for Jules Kounde and Matthijs de Ligt, and he is a steal. Yes, those two center backs are younger, but only de Ligt has consistently outplayed Akanji over the last couple of years.

Akanji is one of the best center backs in the Bundesliga. He knows what it is like to defend for a Champions League club, specifically a club that does not provide central defenders help. Yes, it often seems as if Akanji has even more to do defensively than a Real Madrid center back!

A cerebral player, a leader, a good passer, and a consistent defender as he enters his prime, Akanji has all the tools. He could be a perfect third center back for Real, provided he is willing to play such a role in the pursuit of championships. There would be minutes out there for him, especially if Real realize they must be serious about rotating in order to prolong Alaba’s illustrious career.

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Akanji is no slam dunk, given the other suitors who could be involved and the fact that he may not want a backup role. With the interest seemingly mutual, Manchester United look like heavy favorites. But he should absolutely be on the list of realistic, affordable, and, most of all, quality center back targets if – and this is a BIG if – Real Madrid don’t want to just settle on a Castilla man to replace Jesus Vallejo’s spot in the squad.