Real Madrid Transfers: The most underrated midfield target to watch

Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid will be among the most active teams in the summer 2022 transfer market, and while the Erling Haaland saga is all the rage, astute Madridistas are noticing the positive buzz that Aurelien Tchouameni could be headed to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Tchouameni would be a massive signing for Los Blancos. He would be a perfect fit as the future 6 to replace Casemiro, given his incredible production at Monaco over the past two seasons defensively and offensively. Tchouameni is a complete midfielder, and at a potential 50-60 million euros, he comes at a price Real can meet – unlike the 80-100 million Monaco tried to float around.

But Tchouameni is not a guarantee. Though Chelsea’s transfer sanction boosts Los Blancos’ chances considerably, PSG and others could compete for Tchouameni. Real Madrid are the favorites, but they are not the only players in the Tchouameni battle.

When it comes to other midfielders worth monitoring, Declan Rice, Ryan Gravenberch, and Florian Wirtz are near the top of the list. Wirtz recently tore his ACL, and he and Rice have massive price tags. Meanwhile, Gravenberch is generally seen as only a backup plan in case Real cannot sign Tchouameni.

Sassuolo’s Maxime Lopez is a rarity for his age with his playing style

Serie A has a couple of intriguing midfielders. Fabian Ruiz a long-time Madrid target who has a past with Carlo Ancelotti, and he is in the midst of a career year. Nicolo Barella of Inter Milan is a dream target for sure, while his more experienced teammate Marcelo Brozovic is not bad either.

But if you ask me for the most underrated midfield target worth monitoring, then that would be Sassuolo’s Maxime Lopez, who has stepped up to become a key player for the Neroverdi after Manuel Locatelli’s departure to Juventus.

Lopez is the only midfielder under 25 who has a reputation for controlling matches. He is an ascending regista who fulfills every obligation of this prestigious role in Italian football, earning so many admirers among Calcio observers in the 2021/22 season.

The one that got away from Marseille, Lopez has broken out this season at a team that believes in him. He completes nearly 91 percent of his 74.4 passes per game, averaging 1.4 key passes per game. With 11 yellow cards, Lopez clearly isn’t afraid to get dirty in a defensive midfield role. He averages 1.9 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game, and that aspect of his play is still developing.

Real Madrid are wisely identifying Tchouameni as their top midfield target. He is clearly the best, most complete option and is a defensive dynamo in the modern game who can keep the ball moving and secure.

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But if that deal falls through and Los Blancos want to look at a more controlling-type midfield to anchor the team or even just play a rotational role beyond the 2022/23 season, then Maxime Lopez is a name they should keep on their bulletin board of transfer targets. It is always important to have options, and Lopez is playing at a top level in Serie A without much fanfare. The secret is not out on Lopez just yet.