Inacio in, Ceballos out: What Real Madrid need in January transfer window

Suraj Radia
Suraj Radia
  • Updated: 21 Dec 2023 20:24 GMT
  • 4 min read
Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid, 2023/24
© ProShots

Real Madrid don’t tend to do much business in January but they might be forced to change their ways next month due to an injury crisis which is developing for Carlo Ancelotti.

Los Blancos are down to just two fit centre backs for the rest of the season after David Alaba ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament to join Eder Militao as a long-term absentee in defence.

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Ancelotti’s side are also hoping to avoid the shock of seeing a minnow in Girona beat them to the La Liga title, with Real already having lost it last season to rivals Barcelona.

As a result, it may end up being an uncharacteristically busy window for Real, who may also be keeping an eye out for a forward as well as seeing some players leave next month.


Goncalo Inacio has an intriguing release clause in his contract
© ProShots - Goncalo Inacio has an intriguing release clause in his contract

Ancelotti has already admitted that Real will look to sign a defender if the right opportunity presents itself, although the club have one eye on the summer when they may make a big move for a striker, meaning resources could be conserved in January.

Real would ideally want a temporary solution at centre back before assessing the long-term situation in the summer and Raphael Varane has been linked with a return to the club with his future unclear at Manchester United, although the Premier League side would not sanction a loan departure.

However, with Real’s defence ageing, they will need multiple players signed in transition over the coming years so plans could be accelerated for Lille wonderkid Leny Yoro, while Sporting’s Goncalo Inacio – who has a €60 million release clause in his contract – would represent a natural, left-footed replacement for Alaba.


Mauro Icardi could make the move to Madrid in January
© ProShots - Mauro Icardi could make the move to Madrid in January

Real have been struggling to find an out-and-out striker since Karim Benzema’s departure in the summer, despite the best efforts of loanee Joselu and the goals of Jude Bellingham.

Real’s long-term plan has always been to target a big name striker such as Kylian Mbappe when his contract at Paris Saint-Germain expires at the end of the season, while Endrick will also arrive in the summer, meaning a short-term solution is the most likely option in January.

Mauro Icardi is a player who has been touted as a stopgap option until the summer, with an approach reportedly already made for the Galatasaray star to provide depth and goals up front.


Dani Ceballos (right) has found minutes hard to come by this season
© ProShots - Dani Ceballos (right) has found minutes hard to come by this season

Real would not be keen on seeing players leave considering their squad already being small and hit with injuries but there has been speculation over the future of veteran Luka Modric, who has been linked with a lucrative move to the Saudi Pro League.

However, Real would prefer Modric to see out the remainder of his contract and would only sanction his departure if he pushed for an exit – something he had been considering due to limited first team opportunities this season.

Fringe players such as Brahim Diaz and Ferland Mendy could also depart in January for the right price, with Dani Ceballos a prime candidate to be sold having failed to start a league game this season.

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