Kylian Mbappe’s decision to snub Real Madrid did not go down well with the club’s administration. The instant reaction from Los Blancos was to look for an immediate replacement as the marquee signing.
According to reports from Tomas Gonzalez (h/t Madrid Xtra), Real Madrid were interested in signing Christopher Nkunku in the summer.
The Bundesliga side are said to have demanded a fee of €120 million for their French star. The 24-year-old forward had a spectacular season in 2021-22, which has got several sides interested in his services.
However, the operation was aborted because of the high asking price of RB Leipzig.
Last season, Nkunku made 31 league starts in Germany, scoring 20 goals and providing 13 assists. More recently, he has also provided two assists in four games for the French international team in the Nations League.
Recently, RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff spoke about the forward’s future and insisted that the club did not contemplate selling him.
“I have said it before, and I will say it again here: Nkunku will be our player again next season. Our goal is to keep the team together for next season.”
With the asking price set so high, it remains to be seen if any club pursues his signature in the current transfer window. As for Real Madrid, the club will not look to splash money on any player after shelling out in excess of €100 million for Aurelien Tchouameni.
The Frenchman is expected to sign a contract extension with RB Leipzig in the coming days. His new contract is reported to include a €60 million release clause, putting interested clubs like PSG, Liverpool and Manchester United on high alert.
Real Madrid considered signing 25-year-old Bundesliga defender on loan after Alaba’s injury
David Alaba’s ACL rupture towards the end of 2023 sent a wave of sudden panic within the Real Madrid coaching staff and during the January transfer market, the team from the Spanish capital explored several opportunities.
In that context, a report from AS has affirmed that Real Madrid considered signing Union Berlin’s Diogo Leite on loan until the end of the season, but the move and the entire thought eventually died out.
Real Madrid liked what they saw
Leite was identified by Real Madrid as a player with significant potential, possessing excellent ball control, and having demonstrated his capabilities at the highest level.
However, rather than exploring a permanent transfer, the possibility of a loan until the end of the season was under consideration, taking into account the specific circumstances faced by Carlo Ancelotti’s team.
Notably, the 25-year-old played the full 90 minutes in both matches against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu (1-0) and at his home (3-2) in the Champions League group stages.
Summer move not being considered
Leite, a product of FC Porto youth academy, has gained valuable experience under Pepe’s guidance while at the Portuguese club which made him Union Berlin’s fourth most expensive signing in history.
As of today, though, Real Madrid’s summer transfer target list excludes central defenders, with the exception of Rafa Marin, who is on loan to Alaves.
Interestingly enough, Leite has garnered a strong reputation in the Bundesliga, and sources indicate that Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen is expressing interest in acquiring his services.
As far as Real Madrid are concerned, the likes of Eder Miliato and Alaba would return by the beginning of the next season and with Antonio Rudiger also available, the centre-back positions would be more or less covered.