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Real Madrid and Barcelona in El Clasico battle for 23-year-old Manchester United defender

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Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Real Madrid have set their sights on Manchester United right-back Diogo Dalot after being rebuffed in their attempts to land Joao Cancelo from Manchester City. But they will likely face competition from arch-rivals Barcelona in the race.

This claim comes from the Mirror, who state that manager Carlo Ancelotti has asked the club to sign a new full-back who has experience at the highest level but also has plenty of years left ahead of him.

Cancelo, to that end, had emerged as the top target for Real Madrid. But, the reigning champions of Spain and Europe have been told to forget any hopes of landing the Portuguese international from Manchester City.

It has led to the Merengues moving on to the next name on their list, which is Cancelo’s compatriot and Manchester United star Diogo Dalot.

The 23-year-old has grown into a regular in the first-team setup at Old Trafford over the past year, following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Having featured regularly under interim boss Ralf Rangnick last season, he has continued to be the first-choice right-back under Erik ten Hag.

Dalot has been at Manchester United for four years now, out of which he spent a season out on loan at AC Milan. So, he has plenty of top-level experience, while his age means that the defender still has many years left in the tanker, thus fitting Ancelotti’s requirements.

The report claims that Real Madrid have been watching Dalot regularly in the last few months and have been left impressed by the Portuguese international, both professionally and personally.

What makes him an even more attractive prospect is the fact that Dalot’s current contract with Manchester United expires in 2023. The Red Devils have the option to extend it unilaterally by one more year, which they are expected to trigger.

However, the former FC Porto ace’s agent has confirmed that, as things stand, the right-back will not sign a new contract with the Premier League giants. Such a situation could compel United to sell Dalot in the summer of next year.

In that scenario, Manchester United could demand a sum of at least £35 million for Dalot. Although Barcelona are also keen on the defender, Real Madrid will be in a better financial position to meet the asking price.

Ancelotti currently has Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez as options at right-back. However, both are in their thirties and the latter has endured fitness problems over the last year.

So, investing in a new, proven player in the position could be a prudent move on Real Madrid’s part. Whether they go after Dalot with more intent will be interesting to see.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid midfielder set to sign a four-year contract with the club

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

In a major development, journalist Tomas Gonzalez-Martin is reporting that Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos has decided to sign a new contract with the club and will pen a four-year deal to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The 26-year-old midfielder’s current contract with Real Madrid stands to expire at the end of the season. And there had been conflicting reports over whether he would be offered a new deal by the Merengues.

But the Spaniard has managed to turn things around spectacularly in recent weeks, putting up top displays one after the other, helping Real Madrid emerge out of a poor run at the start of the new year.

It has convinced the club to hand him a new contract and it seems like things are moving swiftly on the renewal front for Ceballos.

Indeed, as per the update from Tomas Gonzalez-Martin, Real Madrid have decided to offer him a new four-year contract that will keep him at the club until the summer of 2027. It will see the midfielder receive an improved salary to the one that he is currently earning.

And Ceballos has decided to sign the deal. The former Real Betis ace has always maintained that he wants to continue at the Bernabeu beyond the current campaign. And the two parties could now be close to shaking hands on a new contract.

Ceballos joined Real Madrid from Real Betis back in 2017, arriving as one of the most talented young midfielders in La Liga. However, he found the going tough initially, thanks to the hegemony of the midfield trio of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Casemiro.

The Spaniard spent a couple of seasons on loan at Arsenal before returning to the club in 2021. If not for an injury while away at the Tokyo Olympics, Ceballos could have been sold that year.

Having returned to action in January last year, he has slowly but surely gained importance in Carlo Ancelotti’s plans. And he is now set to be rewarded with a new four-year contract by the champions of Spain and Europe.

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