Speaking in an interview (h/t Sport Mediaset), Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has claimed that the club never considered a summer move for Napoli striker Victor Osimhen.
Los Blancos were said to be scouring the market for a new number nine this summer following the shock departure of Karim Benzema to Al Ittihad.
The likes of Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe were the most prominently linked with the club, but Osimhen’s name was also mentioned as a possible target for the Spanish capital club.
After all, the Nigerian international had enjoyed a stunning campaign last time out, helping Napoli win the Serie A title.
Osimhen finished the 2022/23 campaign with 31 goals in 39 matches across all competitions and has started the new season strongly as well, bagging two goals in the Partenopei’s first Serie A match of the season.
Real Madrid did not target Osimhen: Ancelotti
During the interview, Ancelotti, who had a stint as the manager of Napoli, was asked about Osimhen and his links with Real Madrid.
In response, the 64-year-old tactician claimed that Los Blancos never thought about a move for the 24-year-old striker, although he did praise the Napoli and Nigeria forward.
“Osimhen is one of the strongest strikers in Europe, but we never thought of him. With the arrival of Bellingham, we thought of making up for Benzema’s farewell in other ways,” Ancelotti said.
Bellingham the main source of goals?
As the Real Madrid boss mentioned, the team have found a new way to cope with the departure of Benzema, with Ancelotti switching to a 4-4-2 diamond setup.
As part of the formation, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo Goes operate more centrally, while new signing Jude Bellingham also finds himself in very advanced areas on the pitch.
The England international has already scored three goals in two games in La Liga so far and is leading the goalscoring charts.
Reports suggest that Ancelotti has been thinking about moving the 20-year-old sensation in the role of a number nine, pushing him further up the pitch.
Real Madrid full-back never considered summer exit, would retire at club if given chance
Ferland Mendy finds himself in a difficult situation at Real Madrid. The Frenchman has struggled with injury and fitness woes for a large part of the past year, leading to doubts over his future at the club.
In fact, it had been reported that Los Blancos were considering selling Mendy during the summer transfer window earlier this year itself.
But, such a move did not materialise and the 28-year-old has stayed put at the Santiago Bernabeu although reports suggest that he is likely to be on the move next year.
Mendy would retire at Real Madrid if he could
Despite there having been numerous reports about his future in the summer, The Athletic reports that Mendy did not consider the possibility of an exit at any point.
In fact, the report adds that if given a chance, the 28-year-old defender would retire at Real Madrid.
Mendy’s contract with Los Merengues expires in 2025 and he is understood to be seeking a renewal for a while now, but there has been no move made by the club.
The injuries that the 28-year-old has picked up are understood to be a major deterrent for Real Madrid, which is why they are already looking to reinforce the left-back position with Alphonso Davies next year.
Mendy enjoys Ancelotti’s trust
Despite the non-stop speculations surrounding him, Mendy continues to enjoy the full trust of manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Indeed, as per the report, the Italian tactician has informed the Frenchman that he is the left-back that best fits the defensive requirements needed in the team.
Ancelotti’s decision to bench Fran Garcia in the UEFA Champions League game even though Mendy was unavailable and start David Alaba at left-back was taken as an indicator within the dressing room that the Frenchman remains the first-choice in the position.
So, it remains to be seen how the situation unfolds over the coming months, especially with Ancelotti’s future also uncertain as his contract expires in 2024.