The three centre-backs Real Madrid are tracking going into the January transfer window

Following David Alaba’s injury, it now seems almost inevitable that Real Madrid will have to dip into the market in January and sign a new centre-back to cover their loss.

Those at Real Madrid are aware that with such a depleted defence, they will struggle to achieve their goals for the season, with the side fighting for La Liga and, as always, with an outside chance of winning the Champions League. Nacho Fernández’s sending-off in their most recent game against Deportivo Alavés has only heightened the need for a signing, as Real will now go into their first game of 2024 with just one available centre-back.

Carlo Ancelotti has already indicated that the club is open to delving into the transfer market, stating, “If there is a possibility that we think will be good for the club, we’re going to do it. We’re going to think about it together and make the best decision for the club.”

On Real Madrdi’s radar are three up-and-coming centre-backs, who, while they are within budget, will not come cheap. Those three names are Benfica’s António Silva, Sporting CP’s Gonçalo Inácio, and Lille’s Leny Yoro, according to Marca.

António Silva

Silva, believed to be Real Madrid’s favoured option, is a right-footed centre-back who stands out for his physicality, calmness on the ball, and aerial presence. Silva has been in and around the starting lineup for the last couple of years and is considered to be a star of the future. However, the high price that will come with signing a ‘Golden Boy’ may be a factor that puts off Real Madrid. The 20-year-old took advantage of injuries to become a starter for Benfica and impressed to such an extent that Fernando Santos included him in his Qatar World Cup squad. In the Portuguese league, he has the third-highest tackle success rate (84.2%)and has blocked the second-most amount of shots (30). With Champions League experience, having played 14 games in the competition, he has become a crucial part of Roger Schmidt’s side.

Gonçalo Inácio

Inácio is the most well-known player on this list and has been on the radar of some big clubs for some time. His name was already mentioned before Alaba picked up his injury, and there is even believed to be a valuation of €60m on the player. The distinctive quality of the 22-year-old is that, like Alaba, he is left-footed and so would be the perfect cover for the Austrian. He stands out for his ball-playing ability and has impressive attacking stats for a centre-back, with 22 combined goals and assists during his time at Sporting. However, it is unlikely that the player will leave mid-season, with his club first in the league and in contention for the Europa League.

Leny Yoro

The final name on the list is that of Leny Yoro, who has been dubbed the ‘new Varane.’ The 18-year-old is the youngest of all the candidates and made his Ligue 1 debut at just 16 years of age and is now a regular starter for the club. His manager, Orlando Silvestri, has fuelled the Varane comparisons, saying, “When I saw him for the first time, he was just like Raphael Varane. The same attitude, the same maturity, the same size (standing at 1.90m).”

Yoro is the fourth-highest in the league in terms of recoveries and has won 67% of all aerial duels. His one weak point is his reaction time, and he at times finds himself out of position, but his rapid acceleration does allow him to recover quickly.

It is still unknown whether Real Madrid will ultimately decide to sign someone, but it is clear that they are looking to the future in their search for a potential centre-back.

GSFN | Finn Entwistle

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