Pogba & Hazard in, Bale out - Real Madrid's transfer plans this summer

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The coming months are likely to herald a radical overhaul of the Blancos squad, after a 2018-19 campaign they will want to forget

The need for renewal can no longer be postponed at Real Madrid. The squad that delivered unprecedented European success is now on the decline and fresh signings are inevitable over what will be a hectic summer window.

Cristiano Ronaldo's sale to Juventus and the resignation of Zinedine Zidane hinted at a difficult season to come for the Champions League holders, but what occurred in 2018-19 went beyond the fears of even the most pessimistic Blanco. 

Madrid finished third in La Liga once more, a massive 19 points adrift of Barcelona. Their hopes of a fourth straight European title also came crashing down with defeat to Ajax in the Bernabeu, one of 18 suffered in all competitions across the campaign. 

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Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari both failed to stop the rot, and early signs during Zidane's second spell suggest that the Frenchman too will struggle unless his team undergoes a radical transformation in the coming months. 

Talks are still ongoing between the coach and the Madrid board to decide exactly how - and with whom - the overhaul will take place. But Goal understands that even at this early stage negotiations are in place with several potential arrivals, while others are already gearing up for life away from the Santiago Bernabeu.


GOALKEEPERS


Keylor Navas Real Madrid 2018-19

The final line of defence is one of the biggest dilemmas currently facing Madrid. Inside the club Thibaut Courtois is seen as the man who should be starting next season, without rotation or hesitation.

Keylor Navas, who shared keeping duties with the Belgian throughout 2018-19, is likely to be the prime victim of that new policy. Goal  understands that he has been informed of that decision by Zidane, and that Madrid's last match of the Liga season against Betis was his unofficial farewell to fans. But at 32 and possessing a lucrative long-term contract, his sale will not be straightforward.

Finding a reliable understudy for Courtois could also be fraught with difficulties. Inside the Madrid ranks Andriy Lunin and Luca Zidane stand out as the top prospects, albeit with little playing time at senior level under their belts and, in Luca's case, possible accusations of nepotism should he struggle to impress.

Lunin returns to Madrid this summer following a frustrating loan spell mostly sitting on the bench at Leganes; whether he or Zidane will get the nod to step up, or whether the Merengue move for a new goalkeeper, is still very much up in the air.

IN:  -

OUT: Keylor Navas


DEFENCE


Eder Militao Porto

In front of Courtois, there are also plenty of doubts. Madrid have nevertheless moved swiftly to assure two faces in defence: Eder Militao will join from Porto this summer, while Raphael Varane has already confirmed that, despite rumours linking him to a move, he will stay put for the coming season. 

Zidane is also convinced that Marcelo will remain as his first-choice left-back, unmoved by the Brazilian's nightmare 2018-19 season. Lyon youngster Ferland Mendy is being lined up as cover for Marcelo, although should he prove too expensive Sergio Reguilon can also be retained. 

Another option out wide is Junior Firpo, the 22-year-old Betis man whose star is in ascendance after he impressed this year with the Seville side.

In the middle, Militao's signing almost certainly spells the end for Jesus Vallejo, while little progress has been made in contract negotiations with Nacho.   

Theo Hernandez will not be considered for first-team duties and neither will Achraf Hakimi, who has extended his loan spell at Borussia Dortmund to 2020.

IN:  Militao (confirmed), Junior Firpo, Mendy.

OUT:  Vallejo, Nacho, Reguilon, Theo Hernandez.


MIDFIELD


Eden Hazard Chelsea 2018-19, in 2019-20 home kit

It is in the engine room where most changes are expected over the next transfer window. With the exception of the pivotal duo of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, Madrid may well change all the pieces of their midfield. 

Marcos Llorente and Dani Ceballos are likely to be the first to go, the pair having been told by Zidane that their services are no longer required. Isco's situation is less clear. The playmaker showed little in 2018-19 and is far from a favourite with the club or its fans, but an exit is still yet to be confirmed. 

Modric and Kroos have both recently renewed their contracts and remain vital to the coach's plans. Paul Pogba is the man Zidane wants alongside that duo, but his prohibitive asking price and wage demands could lead to Christian Eriksen emerging as Madrid's prime target.

Another factor Madrid must also take into account is the considerable number of players returning from loan spells elsewhere. James Rodriguez, Mateo Kovacic and Martin Odegaard are all due back at the club, although in the Colombian's case they still trust that Bayern will exercise his release clause and complete a permanent deal. 

Kovacic, meanwhile, is keen to stay at Chelsea, although that may depend on the outcome of their pending FIFA transfer case; while Odegaard is likely to take on a fresh loan spell, this time to Ajax.

With space being freed up, then, the procession of transfer targets continues unabated. Eden Hazard is expected to join from Chelsea while N'Golo Kante, Adrien Rabiot and Tanguy Ndombele are names to potentially keep an eye on.

IN:  Pogba/Eriksen, Hazard, Rabiot/Kante/Ndombele.

OUT:  Llorente, Ceballos, Isco, James, Kovacic, Odegaard (loan).


ATTACK


Gareth Bale, Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo's goals were missed dearly in 2018-19, with Gareth Bale in particular failing to step up in the Portuguese legend's absence. Another disappointing campaign for the Welshman and a breakdown in the relationship between him and Zidane surely point to a summer exit.

Mariano is another favourite to leave, despite his desire to stay put at the Bernabeu, while returning loanees Borja Mayoral and Raul De Tomas are unlikely to find space in Zidane's plans. 

Doubts remain over teenage stars Rodrygo and Brahim Diaz. The former will arrive in Madrid from Santos in July, but will have to wait to find out whether he will have a first-team berth. Diaz is another who could be sent out on loan to gain senior minutes, although he is keen to stay and fight for a spot.

With regards to new signings, Paris Saint-Germain pair Neymar and Kylian Mbappe sit firmly at the top of the club's transfer wishlist. PSG have the financial firepower to stave off their potential Champions League rivals, however, making any deal an outside bet. Madrid are in a similar situation with Harry Kane, a long-term favourite of Zidane's but whose asking price at Tottenham is all but impossible to match.

Eintracht Frankfurt's Luka Jovic is seen as a more realistic target at centre-forward and comes highly recommended after a fantastic term in the Bundesliga in 2018-19. 

IN:  Neymar/Mbappe/Kane, Rodrygo (confirmed), Jovic.

OUT:  Diaz (loan), Rodrygo (loan), Bale, Mariano, Mayoral, De Tomas.

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