There are several unsung heroes at Real Madrid who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the team’s success. One such figure who is barely recognised is Juni Calafat.
The Brazilian is the head of Los Blancos’ scouting department and is responsible for several of the young recruits in recent years, including the €100 million acquisition of Aurelien Tchouameni from AS Monaco this past summer.
And according to reports from Diario AS, Tchouameni has exceeded all expectations at Real Madrid so far. The management trusts him to cover the defensive midfield position completely.
The Frenchman seems set to be Calafat’s next big success after Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo Goes and Federico Valverde.
Since Casemiro’s departure, Tchouameni has been a regular starter for Real Madrid. Yet, the 22-year-old did not take any pressure on his shoulders and dished out three world-class displays in as many games.
In his most recent outing against Real Betis, he was nothing short of stellar. Tchouameni had 92 touches with a pass completion rate of 90%. He produced a whopping 30 defensive actions on the night, one key pass and one dribble.
In a very short time at the club, Tchouameni is already assured of a starting spot in Real Madrid’s midfield. Yet, the question remains as to how long he can retain his good form and whether he can do it consistently.
Los Blancos signed the French international from Monaco in June. The deal is reported to be worth €80 million and can go up to €100 million with add-ons. His current contract runs until the summer of 2028.
Real Madrid offer new €4.8 million-a-year deal to forward, player wants €6 million
With several Real Madrid players set to be out of contract in the summer, the club need to start making moves to tie down the stars they intend to keep hold of.
One such player who Real Madrid seem interested in retaining is Marco Asensio.
The 27-year-old looked certain to depart early in the season, but has managed to work his way back into Carlo Ancelotti’s plans and proved that he can be of value to the team.
It has led to the club altering their stance on his future, with Los Blancos now ready to keep him at the Santiago Bernabeu beyond the current season.
According to Tomas Gonzalez-Martin, Real Madrid have already tabled a four-year contract to Asensio with a salary of €4.8 million per year.
It represents a slight increase in his current wages, which stand at around €4.5 million per season. However, Asensio’s agent, Jorge Mendes, is unlikely to accept these terms and is seeking a deal worth €6 million-a-year net.
The Portuguese super-agent will push for at least €5.5 million per season, but Real Madrid are unlikely to exceed the €5 million mark as per the report.
This is because Los Blancos believe that Asensio will never be a guaranteed starter at the club and they do not want to splurge heavily on a squad player.
The winger, for his part, has always maintained that he wants to stay at Real Madrid. But he is also seeking a prominent role and a bigger payday. If that is the case, a move away from the club could be the way forward for the ex-Mallorca star.
PSG were said to have tried signing him in the January window, and would be willing to offer him a €15 million signing bonus in the summer. Clubs from the Premier League and Serie A would also be interested in Asensio’s situation.
So, the ball is in the winger’s court now and it is upto him to decide whether he opts to accept the proposal tabled by Real Madrid or looks for a new challenge away from the Bernabeu.