Mourinho’s right-back search

As one would imagine at this time of year, there has been much written concerning Real Madrid and a host of potential transfers both coming into, and leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

The biggest story so far has involved Croatian midfielder Luka Modric of course. The Tottenham Hotspur player has been courted by the Spanish champions for a number of months and with reports this weekend suggesting a deal is edging closer, it appears Madrid may just be on the verge of getting their man.

Despite the column inches however, things have been relatively quiet so far in Charmartin.

Turkish international Hamit Altintop finally saw his unhappy stay in the Spanish capital come to an end on Friday as Galatasaray announced they had completed a four-year deal for the 29-year-old midfielder, said to have cost them €3.5m. Altintop managed just five appearances under Jose Mourinho and did little to answer those critics who questioned why the former Bayern Munich player had been brought to Spain in the first place.

Similar doubts have also been raised over winger Pedro Leon, who will now spend a second season on loan at Getafe. The 25-year-old surely has little future under Mourinho, with many supporters now struggling to understand the logic of spending €10m on the Spanish Under-21 international just two years ago.

The Modric saga aside, the biggest story at Madrid has been their search for a new right-back, a search that is fast becoming a saga in its own right. Few were surprised when Mourinho decided he wanted to address the position currently held by Alvaro Arbeloa, but after some contradictory messages from within the club, it is becoming unclear as to who they would actually like to draft in.

The first to be mentioned, although somewhat half-heartedly, was Bayern Munich’s Philip Lahm who is unlikely to ever leave the Bavarian giants, having been their since he was 11-years-old. Stories then appeared claiming Brazilian international Maicon was the number one target. Chelsea were also heavily linked with the 30-year-old Inter star, however, it was widely believed he was on his way to Spain to link up with his former boss at the Bernabeu.

Nonetheless, within days of those reports, President Florentino Perez seemingly shut the door on any move for Maicon by proclaiming the club wanted somebody younger, who would offer more future potential for their money. It was a surprising development as Mourinho is a known admirer of the Brazilian and most believed the Coach had now been granted enough power to dictate exactly who he wanted in his team.

Conversely, as the hunt for a new right back continues, the club allowed another to depart as 20-year-old Dani Carvajal joined German side Bayer Leverkusen on a five-year deal. The highly-rated defender has managed just a handful of games for Castilla, although many had tipped him to make an impact in the second tier this season.

Madrid-based sports daily Marca allege Carvajal was allowed to leave Valdebebas as it was believed he was not tall enough for Mourinho, who is ideally looking for increased aerial presence at the back. Whatever the reason, the club were keen to insert a buy-back clause in the deal meaning they can bring the youngster back into the fold should he impress in Germany.

With his side due to kick off their pre-season with friendlies in Oviedo and Lisbon before jetting off to the United States, Mourinho has decisions to make. The futures of current players Ricky Kaka, Lassana Diarra, Fernando Gago and Ricardo Carvalho are still to be resolved, and there are even new reports emanating from Italy suggesting Maicon could actually now be on his way to the Bernabeu after all.

Whatever the case, the Coach will want things addressed before they begin the defence of the Spanish crown they worked so hard to secure last season.

La Liga - Club News