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Revealed: Top 5 Players Real Madrid are Targeting as David Alaba’s Replacement

Real Madrid is facing a tactical challenge this week as David Alaba’s recurring ACL injury sidelines him, leaving the squad with a defensive duo until Eder Militao’s potential return in late February. The club is now eyeing five central defenders who could be the remedy to their injury conundrum.

David Alaba Image Credits Twitter Revealed: Top 5 Players Real Madrid are Targeting as David Alaba's Replacement
David Alaba, Image Credits – Twitter

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Real Madrid Forced to Play Transfer Chess: Alaba’s Injury Sparks Defender Hunt

In a strategic move, Los Blancos are contemplating a loan deal akin to the Kepa Arrizabalaga arrangement, aiming to patch up their defense until the season’s end. Meanwhile, the club had initially set its sights on fortifying the heart of their defense with a young, promising talent either this summer or the next. With stalwarts like Nacho Fernandez, Alaba, and Antonio Rudiger gracefully aging into their thirties, Real Madrid is on the lookout for a fresh defensive dynamo.

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Diario AS and Marca spill the beans on five potential game-changers already under Real Madrid’s watchful gaze.

1. Giorgio Scalvini – Atalanta

Giorgio Scalvini, the 20-year-old defender from Atalanta, has emerged as a consistent presence for both his club and the Italian national team. Known for his towering stature, he stands out as one of the most promising central defenders in Europe, commanding an asking price of around €50 million.

Giorgio Scalvini Image Credits Twitter Revealed: Top 5 Players Real Madrid are Targeting as David Alaba's Replacement
Giorgio Scalvini, Image Credits – Twitter

In terms of statistics, Scalvini excels in aerial duels and interceptions, averaging more than 3.5 and 2.5 per game, respectively—leading the charts in both categories among six competitors. However, his passing accuracy is not quite up to the mark, with the least number of successful long passes. Despite committing a notable number of fouls (1.75 per 90), he receives very few cards (0.08 per 90). Remarkably, at just 20 years old, Scalvini is far from reaching his full potential.

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The young center-back, whose contract with Atalanta runs until June 2028, has garnered interest from prominent clubs across Europe, including Manchester City and Bayern Munich.

2. Goncalo Inacio – Sporting CP

Gonçalo Inácio, associated with Sporting CP, emerged as the preferred option for Real Madrid prior to Alaba’s injury setback. The 22-year-old has showcased his skills impressively for Sporting, and his left-footed prowess adds an extra dimension. Real Madrid’s preference is to secure a left-footed defender permanently, envisioning him as a competitor for Alaba in the upcoming season, with Militao and Rudiger vying for the right side. While Inácio carries a €60 million release clause, there’s a possibility of acquiring him for €45 million immediately and an additional €15 million in the summer.

Goncalo Inacio Image Credits Twitter Revealed: Top 5 Players Real Madrid are Targeting as David Alaba's Replacement
Goncalo Inacio, Image Credits – Twitter

In terms of his playing style, Inácio excels with the ball, and being left-footed makes him an ideal replacement for Alaba on the left side. However, his performance in aerial duels has room for improvement, winning less than 40% (16 of 43) in the Portuguese league this season. Notably, his stats in the Europa League present a more favorable picture, with a 65% success rate (13 out of 20) in aerial duels.

3. Antonio Silva – Benfica

Antonio Silva, affiliated with Benfica, comes with a €100 million release clause, presenting a potential hurdle in negotiations. Notably, he is right-footed, which may pose a slight disadvantage in comparison to Inácio. However, at the age of 20, Silva holds the advantage of youth, ensuring sustained value over time.

Silva distinguishes himself as the most challenging to dribble past, excelling in blocks and recoveries, and boasting the highest completion percentage of passes among his peers. Despite his young age, he brings valuable experience from playing in the Champions League.

Antonio Silva Image Credits Twitter Revealed: Top 5 Players Real Madrid are Targeting as David Alaba's Replacement
Antonio Silva, Image Credits – Twitter

Beyond his on-field skills, Silva’s profile stands out for his exceptional intelligence and technical prowess as a center back. His mental attributes, including seizing opportunities, maintaining a consistent presence in the team, and displaying composure and astute game reading, are commendable, especially considering his youth.

3. Willian Pacho – Eintracht Frankfurt

Willian Pacho, the 21-year-old Ecuadorian international playing for Eintracht Frankfurt, is another noteworthy tall and imposing central defender. With a left-footed orientation, he has made a significant impact for Eintracht, and despite a €9 million investment in him this summer, his price tag is expected to surpass €40 million. Notably, Pacho has played every minute for the Eagles in the Bundesliga this season.

Wearing the number three jersey at Eintracht Frankfurt, Pacho stands at an impressive 1.86 meters (6 feet 1 inch) and possesses a robust left foot, enabling him to adeptly play as the left centre-back in a back four or on the left side of a back three.

licensed image 2 Revealed: Top 5 Players Real Madrid are Targeting as David Alaba's Replacement
FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY – OCTOBER 08: Willian Pacho of Eintracht Frankfurt in action during the Bundesliga match between Eintracht Frankfurt and 1. FC Heidenheim 1846 at Deutsche Bank Park on October 08, 2023 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images)

Pacho’s athleticism makes him a formidable presence in defense, combining speed, strength, and power with a keen tactical awareness. Similar to Cristian Romero of Tottenham Hotspur, Pacho’s agility allows him to anticipate and intercept key passes, showcasing excellent judgment and timing.

Beyond his defensive prowess, Pacho stands out for his technical abilities on the ball, instilling confidence in his team’s ability to play out from the back. During his time in South America, he recorded an impressive 8.05 passes to the final third per 90 minutes, indicating a strong contribution to build-up play.

His progressive style of play caters to both direct teams seeking quick transitions from back to front and possession-oriented teams that prefer controlled build-up play.

5. Leny Yoro – Lille

The 18-year-old central defender has made a significant impact in Ligue 1, reminiscent of Raphael Varane during his time at Lens. With a well-rounded skill set that includes physical prowess, speed, and ball control, he recently stood out in a commendable performance against Kylian Mbappe.

licensed image 1 1 Revealed: Top 5 Players Real Madrid are Targeting as David Alaba's Replacement
LILLE, FRANCE – NOVEMBER 12: Leny Yoro of Lille celebrates his goal during the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Lille OSC (LOSC) and Toulouse FC (TFC, Tefece) at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on November 12, 2023 in Lille, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

As the youngest among the discussed players, Yoro is perceived to have the highest ceiling. His strengths include proficiency in aerial duels, being challenging to dribble past, and maintaining discipline with few fouls committed. Additionally, he displays a high level of quality in ball control. However, it’s important to note that Yoro hasn’t yet participated in European competitions, and the pressure of potentially debuting in the Champions League round of 16 for Real Madrid in February could be substantial.

Yoro’s stellar performances have been instrumental in Lille’s recent success, with the team currently holding a strong position in the league table and an impressive unbeaten streak of 15 matches in all competitions. Notably, he has contributed to eight clean sheets in league matches and has even found the back of the net twice against Rennes and Europa League opponents Toulouse.

Real Madrid, known for their strategic approach to the transfer market, has been conservative in recent years regarding short-term solutions. However, their willingness to invest in promising young talents aligns with Yoro’s profile, making him a potential target consistent with their transfer policy.


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