Real Madrid suffered a major complication in defense after the untimely injury to key man Eder Militao.
The Brazilian international suffered an ACL injury that will keep him out for almost the entirety of the 2023/24 season.
In light of his absence, it is said that the Spanish powerhouse have been searching the market for adequate replacements, despite some reports stating otherwise.
Arsenal’s Gabriel enters the picture
According to Daily Mail, Real Madrid have shown a genuine interest in Arsenal centre-back, Gabriel Magalhaes, whose market value stands at €55 million.
With Militao missing from the ranks, Gabriel could seamlessly slot in as a ball-playing center-back and emulate his countryman’s ball distribution.
Gabriel is also known to be a solid duelist, which is another quality that has seemingly sparked interest from Los Blancos.
The 25-year-old centre-half was not in the starting XI for Arsenal’s opening Premier League fixture of the season against Nottingham Forest, amid interest from Saudi Arabian clubs.
Gabriel has regularly featured for the Gunners in the starting XI, and his absence thus was perceived as a rare occurrence.
Although Real Madrid are one of the many teams eyeing the player’s situation, the report argues that the 25-year-old international is happy at Arsenal and dedicated to helping the Gunners in their pursuit of the Premier League title.
Considering Gabriel is keen on staying put in England, Real Madrid will likely be obliged to look in other areas.
With Militao’s injury, David Alaba and Antonio Rudiger are expected to take over as Real Madrid’s two primary centre-backs, with Nacho serving as the obvious backup.
The club’s academy can also prove to be useful in such a scenario, with youngsters from La Fabrica relied upon.
Marvel is a rising talent in the academy who is already admired by Carlo Ancelotti. The 20-year-old centre-back is likely to be promoted to the first team.
At the same time, the manager is also considering Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy as options at the heart of the defence if the situation worsens.
So, as things stand, it appears unlikely that Real Madrid will move for Gabriel despite holding an interest in him.
Ancelotti takes the blame for Real Madrid’s derby debacle: “It’s my responsibility”
Real Madrid’s fairytale run of six straight wins at the start of the campaign came to a screeching halt on Sunday night against Atletico Madrid.
Not Jude Bellingham, not Joselu, not Luka Modric, nobody could rescue the men in white even with individual brilliance on the night. After all, Atletico Madrid never really allowed them any foothold to get back into the game.
In the end, the visitors stared at the wrong end of a 3-1 defeat. Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media after the Merengues’ collapse and addressed a plethora of topics including the formation and defence on the night.
The manager began his post-match press conference with an overview of the game that unfolded at Civitas Metropolitano from a Real Madrid perspective.
“We didn’t start well. We have not defended well, we have been fragile in our area and we have not been forceful. When they have advanced 2-0 they have played the game they wanted to play, defending very well and looking for quick transitions. They have done it better than us.”
Ancelotti’s formation for the derby raised many eyebrows, for he opted to use five midfielders and only one forward in his 4-4-2 diamond on the night. Clarifying the reason for the abrupt experimentation, he said,
“The formation has changed because we have started with the rhombus, with Modrić as a midfielder and two strikers, Bellingham and Rodrygo. Joselu hasn’t played because he wanted to have more ball control with the presence of one more midfielder. Bellingham’s position has not changed in the offensive aspect.”
“It was not a problem of who played, but of defensive fragility that we did not have in the first games. In six games we had only conceded three goals and in 45 minutes we have conceded three. We have been fragile. It can be said without a problem. It hasn’t been a good night,” he added on what went wrong.
Barring the games against Celta Vigo and Almeria, Los Blancos have conceded the opening goal in every league game so far. Commenting on the glaring statistic, Ancelotti said:
“It is an issue that we have already talked about and we will continue to talk about it. It’s important. Four times the rivals have come forward soon and in three times we have been able to come back.”
“Today we have been close to coming back, but [Atleti’s] third goal has finished the game. At the end of the first half we did well, but the 3-1 was too much to try to recover,” he added.
Of all three departments on the field, it is safe to say that the defence fell apart the most on the derby night. Yet, Ancelotti refused to point fingers at any of his players and insisted it was a combined failure.
“I don’t get into talking about individualities. I’m just saying that we haven’t defended well. The team has not been compact, especially in the first half and Atlético has taken advantage of it.”
“The three goals have been a photocopy. A break to open to the centres, which were not well placed in the area. We haven’t been compact in all three goals,” he added on conceding three headers.
Ancelotti then went on to reveal that he had not had the time to rewatch Camavinga’s offside goal on the night that created controversy.
“I haven’t seen it. I’ve been told that Rüdiger was offside, but I haven’t checked it.”
The Real Madrid coach praised his opponents on the night, Atletico Madrid, and went on to call them one of the world’s best defensive setups.
“Atlético is one of the teams that defends the best, not only in Spain. They are very well organized and are strong in the duels. It’s not easy to look for spaces. We have tried it from outside the area and we have lacked a bit of effectiveness. The problem has not been offensive, but defensive.”
Los Blancos’ attack has received a lot of slack in recent weeks for its relatively poor depth and finesse. Ancelotti, however, refused to buy that theory.
“Vinicius could not score in these three games. Rodrygo has tried, today it has been dangerous a few times, but when the space is reduced it is more complicated for everyone. So far we have lacked a bit of effectiveness, but we have won six games by scoring goals.”
On Aurelien Tchouameni starting on the bench in such an important clash, the gaffer said,
“I have tried to put a little more control in the core and give rest to Tchouameni, who had played many games also taking into account the national team.”
“We don’t point out anyone, I think pointing out Modrić seems a little too much to me. He hasn’t played a good game, like his teammates. I have tried to put more height in the front to play a little more with centres, seeing that we were losing,” he added when asked if Luka Modric’s play on Sunday was sub-par.
After addressing the team’s struggles on the field, the manager was asked if he would have done things differently in hindsight.
“It’s a good question. Maybe I could have done it better. It’s pretty clear. When the team doesn’t do what it has to do, it’s my responsibility,” he stated.
Yet, he went on to insist that the formation was not flawed, saying: “Today we haven’t done well, but it’s not a formation problem. The formation is not going to change. It’s a defeat that can be an opportunity to do things better.”
“We are sad and angry, as always when we lose. But until now we had done it very well and we continue to do it well.”
Finally, Carlo Ancelotti took the blame for the poor showing at Civitas Metropolitano.
“It’s my fault.”
Source: Real Madrid website