Having battled for the signing of Pablo Torre in 2022 and Arda Guler earlier this year, Real Madrid and Barcelona could be set for another transfer battle in the summer of 2024.
Indeed, the two arch-rivals appear to be headed for another El Clasico war for the signing of Celta Vigo midfield prospect Hugo Sotelo.
Real Madrid, Barça tracking Sotelo
Toni Juanmarti of SPORT reports that both Real Madrid and Barcelona are closely following the development and situation of Hugo Sotelo at Celta Vigo.
A product of the Galician club’s youth academy, the 19-year-old made his first-team debut towards the end of the 2021/22 campaign.
Sotelo has made six first-team appearances for Celta, three of which have come in the ongoing campaign after he made a big impression during the pre-season.
A talented individual with great promise, Sotelo’s contract with Celta Vigo expires in 2025 and comes with a release clause worth just €10 million, which makes him an attractive prospect for Real Madrid as well as Barcelona.
Luka Modric could very well be playing his last season at Real Madrid while Toni Kroos’ contract also expires in the summer.
As such, Los Blancos could look to rope in a young midfielder who could be an option to cover for the likes of Federico Valverde, Jude Bellingham, Dani Ceballos, and Eduardo Camavinga.
Barcelona’s interest could pose a problem
Over the years, Real Madrid and Barcelona have indulged in battles on the pitch and in the transfer market.
The war for the signing of Arda Guler this past summer was the latest such occurrence, with Los Blancos prevailing over their arch-rivals.
However, it must be remembered that Barça had beaten Real Madrid to the capture of Pablo Torre last year.
So, it will be interesting to see if the Merengues do make a move for Sotelo and in case they do, whether they beat Barça to his capture.
Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Napoli | UCL GW 5
Real Madrid are back in the Champions League following their impressive win against Cadiz on the weekend as they host Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu for gameweek five.
They have already secured qualification to the round of 16, and even a point today would secure first place in the group.
With several players still injured, Carlo Ancelotti has opted for his best available starting lineup, with Daniel Carvajal taking responsibility of the captain’s armband at right-back. He will be aided by Ferland Mendy, who starts on the other side.
Meanwhile, in between them, David Alaba returns to the fold as the starting centre-back, partnering Antonio Rudiger. This duo has the responsibility of screening Andriy Lunin, who continues in goal in Kepa and Thibaut Courtois’ absence.
With both Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni out, Toni Kroos gets the chance to play as the holding midfielder for two games in a row. Federico Valverde retains his spot, as well, while Dani Ceballos comes in for the injured Luka Modric in central midfield.
Rodrygo will spearhead the team’s frontline as one of the two twin forwards, while Brahim Diaz gets the nod over Joselu. Jude Bellingham is the final, and arguably the most important piece of the puzzle, playing behind the front-two.
Confirmed Madrid XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Ceballos; Bellingham; Diaz, Rodrygo