According to journalist Sebastian Srur (h/t Madrid Xtra), Real Madrid could move to trigger the release clause of SL Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez in January to sign him for the summer of 2023.
The 21-year-old Argentine international has been on Los Blancos’ radars for a long while now. His performances for Benfica since moving to the Portuguese club last summer have only strengthened their interest in the midfielder.
Furthermore, Enzo Fernandez’s performances at the FIFA World Cup for Argentina, where he was named the Best Young Player of the Tournament, have seemingly made a big impression on manager Carlo Ancelotti.
It is no secret that Real Madrid are in the market for a new midfielder before next season. Luka Modric will be turning 38 in the near future while Toni Kroos’ future remains uncertain as he is yet to give any indication about whether he will renew with the Merengues.
So, it is important for Ancelotti & co. to put a succession plan in place. Jude Bellingham has been their top priority, but Liverpool seem to be leading the race to sign the England international.
Thus, Fernandez has emerged as a viable Plan B for Real Madrid. And as per the aforementioned report, the reigning La Liga champions could trigger his release clause in January in order to sign him in the summer of 2023.
Benfica have no intentions of letting their prized asset leave. So, the only way Real Madrid can sign him is by triggering his release clause. And, they seem to be prepared to do so in January, although the midfielder would arrive in the summer.
As previously reported by Fabrizio Romano, the 21-year-old’s release clause is said to be worth €120 million.
So, it will be a massive investment on Real Madrid’s part. But considering how he has performed since arriving in Europe last summer and his displays at the World Cup, he could prove to be a worthy acquisition.
Ancelotti considering playing a makeshift centre-back pairing for Real Madrid against Valencia – report
Real Madrid will take on Valencia on Saturday, looking to maintain their solid lead at the top of the league table.
The Spanish giants are leading the standing with a six-point lead over Girona. A win against Valencia could help them solidify their position at the top while potentially opening up an opportunity to extend the lead to more than six points.
Heading into this game, though, Carlo Ancelotti is facing multiple setbacks, especially in the defensive unit, with Eder Militao, David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois still missing due to injuries.
This will once again put pressure on Ancelotti, as far as the team selection is concerned.
Rudiger & Tchouameni to partner at centre-back vs Valencia
Fortunately for the Real Madrid coach, much of his experimentations this season have worked, including Aurelien Tchouameni’s supreme performances at centre-back.
With that in mind, Diario AS reports Ancelotti is considering playing a makeshift central defensive pair against Valencia, comprising Antonio Rudiger and Tchouameni.
This is not the first time the young Frenchman will have to accompany Rudiger at centre-back. He did so earlier in the year when Real Madrid took on RCD Mallorca.
Interestingly, Real Madrid were able to retain a clean sheet, with Rudiger scoring the winning goal, in a narrow 1-0 victory.
What are Ancelotti’s other options?
Ancelotti will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around. However, it must be noted that the Italian will be boosted by the return of Dani Carvajal from suspension.
The veteran Spaniard can be an option at centre-back. But given the way how Tchouameni has impressed onlookers with his performances at centre-back, there is very little reason why he shouldn’t continue in the position.
Tchouameni has even been compared to Javier Mascherano by former Spanish coach Roberto Moreno.
Other than Carvajal, though, Nacho Fernandez is another option for Ancelotti. But the veteran defender is suffering with discomfort and Ancelotti has no plans to risk it.