As we enter the final week of the summer transfer window, Real Madrid could be ready to goodbye to one of their out-of-favour players in Mariano Diaz.
The 29-year-old striker is no longer a part of the plans at the Santiago Bernabeu and the Merengues have been looking to move him on for a while now with no luck.
It was partly because Mariano himself had no desire of leaving Real Madrid, which had to pessimism within the club about the chances of selling him before the summer window slammed shut.
However, as per the latest reports from Diario AS, Mariano has now had a change of heart and is ready to leave Real Madrid, but only on the condition that he joins another La Liga club and does not move outside of Spain.
The 29-year-old has been linked with a host of La Liga clubs over the summer, with the likes of Sevilla, Celta Vigo, Getafe, Rayo Vallecano and Espanyol all showing some degree of interest in acquiring his services.
However, none of the clubs have come forward with a concrete approach for the Real Madrid forward. But now that he is willing to accept his fate and move on, things could pick up speed in the final week of the window.
Mariano returned to Real Madrid for a second spell in 2018 after enjoying a fine 2017/18 campaign at Olympique Lyon during which he scored 18 goals.
Brought in to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, who had left for Juventus that summer, the striker has never been able to win over any of the managers he has played under. He played just 11 matches in all competitions last term and has been overlooked by Carlo Ancelotti in the new season.
Mariano was reported to be keen on seeing out his contract with Los Blancos, considering it will expire next year. However, as per the report, he is now tired of warming the benches and seeks to move to a club within Spain where he can play regularly.
Only time will tell whether any of the aforementioned clubs who had shown an interest in Mariano come forward to sign him.
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.