Eden Hazard and two other players Julen Lopetegui needs to sign at Real Madridby Colin Millar / 16 July 2018, 19:07Tweet
It's already been a hectic summer in the Spanish capital, with giants Real Madrid selling star man Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus, while Gareth Bale continues to be linked with a move away.
But what about transfers in the other direction?
Here are three players that the club's new boss, Julen Lopetegui, needs to snap up ahead of the new season.
The goalkeeping department is one which has needed properly addressed at Real Madrid for each of the past three seasons. The breakdown of the move for Manchester United’s David De Gea at the eleventh hour saw backup shot-stopper Keylor Navas propelled into the number one spot, having deputised previously for Iker Casillas.
The Costa Rican has defied his (numerous) critics since, helping his side to three consecutive Champions League titles as well as a La Liga crown in 2017. Yet he does not fall into the world’s elite bracket of goalkeepers and is still prone to errors more regularly than is ideal for Madrid.
Courtois appears to present an ideal opportunity for upgrading the department. Firstly, he is an excellent goalkeeper who has just excelled with Belgium at the World Cup – winning the competition’s Golden Gloves award. He is undoubtedly in the world’s top ten shot-stoppers and for many, he is within the top five.
Furthermore, he is out of contract at Stamford Bridge in a year so this summer may be the final opportunity for the FA Cup holders to cash in. He has indicated a willingness to leave while both his children still live in Madrid, following his spell with Atletico. He is increasingly a logical signing for Los Blancos.
Courtois’ club and international teammate faces an uncertain club future and at the age of 27, this may be his final opportunity at a move away from the West London club. Hazard initially joined Chelsea in 2012 and has offered six years of excellent service, establishing himself as one of world football’s brightest attacking talents.
After helping Belgium secure a third-placed finish in the World Cup, the playmaker told reporters: “It might be time to discover something different” after six “wonderful years” at Stamford Bridge, where he has two years remaining on his contract.
“You know my preferred destination, I can decide if I want to stay or go but Chelsea will make the final decision - if they want to let me go.”
Hazard netted three goals at the World Cup and was one of the tournament’s standout performers, no doubts ensuring his transfer value rockets. A report in Belgian outlet HLN stated Chelsea are valuing him at 225m Euros – which would represent a world record transfer – in an attempt to ward off suitors.
This summer he has described ‘the Real Madrid shirt as special’ while also giving hints he would love to play under Zinedine Zidane, who has since left his position as Madrid boss. Having also been linked to Barcelona, it appears the Belgian’s favoured destination is the Bernabeu.
The Argentine striker was not part of his nation’s 23-man squad World Cup due to a clash of personalities, although it is arguable – with the benefit of hindsight – that his absence was actually beneficial for him, such was the chaos of the Argentine camp.
The 25-year-old has been prolific across his six seasons in Serie A – netting 111 goals in 192 league appearances, including 53 in the last two seasons. He has developed into one of Europe’s leading marksmen and would inject a significant goal return into any side.
The departure of Cristiano Ronaldo this summer has heightened Madrid’s needs for an attacking upgrade and the reported ¤100m they have received from the sale should sanction a move for a world-class striker to help replace his goals.
Icardi spent three years of his teenage life in the youth teams at Barcelona but that should not prove to be any deterrent and his fluency in Spanish should help integration into life at the Bernabeu.