3 center-backs Real Madrid can sign in summer transfer window

Antonio Rudiger celebrates during the UEFA Champions League match between Real Madrid v Chelsea at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 12, 2022 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Antonio Rudiger celebrates during the UEFA Champions League match between Real Madrid v Chelsea at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 12, 2022 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /
Sevilla’s Jules Kounde could be a Real Madrid target over the summer. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images) Madrid /

Real Madrid are far from the “perfect team” they aspire to be. Carlo Ancelotti’s side are closing in on another La Liga title while also competing in the Champions League semifinals, but a lot of their cracks have been papered over by individual brilliance.

Indeed, the heroics of Karim Benzema — inspired by his 39 goals in all competitions — have taken Los Blancos where they are now. While their defensive work at the start of the season was solid, things have imploded as they’ve moved into the business end of the campaign. David Alaba is struggling to be a defensive leader and Eder Militao is error-prone and indecisive in big games.

Having conceded 10 goals in their last five “big games”, Ancelotti’s side have seen their defensive vulnerabilities exposed time and again. As a result, Madrid want to sign a new center-back to strengthen their backline next season. Here are three prominent options they can look to sign.

Antonio Rudiger – Real Madrid’s next top defender?

Antonio Rudiger is set to become the hottest free agent center-back in the summer after Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel confirmed the German international will leave the club at the end of the season. A Champions League winner and a proven stud against the best of the best, Rudiger is wanted by many clubs.

But Real Madrid is simply more attractive than other clubs. Ancelotti’s side are favorites to sign him and have verbally agreed a future deal with the defender (as per Fabrizio Romano), so it looks like this deal will happen.

Rudiger can be a great fit for Madrid’s side and complement Alaba perfectly. He might be overly aggressive and prone to fouls, but the German defender is a rock at the back. Rudiger’s impressive pace, fearless persona and ability make clutch challenges make him a valuable defender for any major European club.

After having scored at the Santiago Bernabeu in the Champions League quarterfinal second leg against Madrid, Rudiger won over Madrid and their fans’ faith. At 29, he’s at the prime of his career and can be the ruthless defensive leader Madrid need to strengthen their backline.

Young starlet Jules Kounde

Real Madrid craves to have the best young talent in the world in their squad and have shown a desire to spend big for talented youngsters. They already look set to sign Kylian Mbappe for free in the summer, getting one of the most talented young forwards in the world.

But Madrid can also do with some more young blood in their backline. Los Blancos have scouted Sevilla center-back Jules Kounde for a long time now. As per Sky Germany, they’d also be interested in signing the Frenchman in the summer.

Kounde has enjoyed a terrific season with Sevilla. He’s helped them keep 13 clean sheets in 27 La Liga games. Sevilla also has the second-best defensive record among all the teams in the league.

WhoScored states the 23-year-old’s strengths are his passing ability, ability to dominate in aerial duels and utmost concentration in games. Kounde’s a hard-hitting, proactive center-back who keeps opposition players on their toes and can man-mark players out of the game. Kounde is valued at €60m (as per Transfermarkt), which is perhaps excessive but worth the investment knowing his ability to play at the top for at least another decade.

Experienced campaigner Milan Skriniar

Milan Skriniar is among those top-level European defenders who are moving into the prime period of their career. He’s likely to make an immediate impact for any club that can pry him away from Inter Milan and he can be a lucrative option for Real Madrid.

The 27-year-old also has the experience of winning major trophies in his career. He won the Serie A title with Inter Milan last season and looks set to repeat this time around. Skriniar’s impressive passing ability would also bring something new to Madrid’s style, helping them progress nicely from the back.

The Inter defender is a confident, composed defender able to deal with difficult situations nicely. He should be a nice confidante for Alaba and allow the Austrian to be a bit more aggressive with his style.

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Skriniar’s ability to make clutch challenges, positional awareness and game-reading ability have helped him become highly rated in recent years. He’s valued at €65m (as per Transfermarkt), but could be that missing piece of the puzzle to help upgrade Los Blancos’ backline and make them virtually impenetrable.