Real Madrid could be in the market for another center back in the 2022 summer transfer window. This past summer, Los Blancos sold Raphael Varane due to his desire for a new challenge in the Premier League, as well as the possibility of banking extra cash to buy Kylian Mbappe before the 2021-2022 season. Los Blancos also replaced Sergio Ramos with David Alaba, who is also experienced but is entering his peak whereas Ramos is leaving his.
Despite Eder Militao’s strong performances and Alaba’s quality, the depth at center back is unconvincing. Real Madrid could seek to add a top player at the position, as losing both Varane and Ramos in one summer is colossal. And Real did not get a chance to replace both, given their relentless pursuit of Mbappe up until the last minute of the transfer deadline.
Chelsea star Antonio Rudiger is coming off the best season of his career, as he reached new heights under top manager Thomas Tuchel. The Champions League-winning central defender would like to stay in London, but his contract is running out. And if the Blues don’t meet his significantly increased salary demands, he could leave. Real Madrid have been linked heavily.
Rudiger is a talented, experienced player, but Real may be looking for somebody younger with a lower salary. And as good as Rudiger is, there are even better center backs who could be available next summer.
Let’s take a look at three such central defenders.
Juventus CB Matthijs de Ligt
We begin with the biggest name on the list, Matthijs de Ligt. The Juventus star can become the best center back in the world one day, and there are many Madridistas who understandably point out that de Ligt has the leadership and skill-set to become the true heir to Sergio Ramos’ crown in the Spanish capital.
De Ligt loves Juve, but there remains the possibility of him leaving if the Old Lady flounders in Serie A this season. Failure to qualify for the Champions League could be disastrous to Juve economically, given the financial risk they took with Cristiano Ronaldo, the impact of the pandemic, and the upcoming fees Juve must still pay out for all-important players Federico Chiesa and Manuel Locatelli.
Mino Raiola has already coyly hinted at future unrest, planting a seed for his client. De Ligt could actually replace Antonio Rudiger at Chelsea, but the pull of Real Madrid could be strong enough to get him to leave another one of Europe’s historic powers in Juve. We shall see. Regardless, de Ligt, if available, would obviously be the strongest center back option.