Saturday, July 2

The big debate: Should Real sign Haaland or strengthen defence and midfield?

As MARCA has been reporting, Real Madrid and Florentino Perez know what they want to do in the summer of 2022 as they want to sign both Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland to once again make the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu the home of must-see European football.

Having been relatively quiet in the transfer market in recent seasons, Perez is now ready for what is perhaps his most ambitious summer yet, especially when you consider how patient he has had to be in the pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain‘s crown jewel. Mbappe‘s contract with the Parisian club expires on June 30 and, unless he has a sudden and significant change of heart, he will be a free agent on July 1 and sign for Real Madrid.

Haaland has emerged as a relatively late option for the club’s technical department, yet there is optimism within the offices at Valdebebas that he too will agree to sign with Los Blancos, although they know Barcelona are as determined to make the Norwegian their own marquee signing.

Mbappe‘s Bosman status will only lessen the cost for the Spanish giants nominally, with his signing-on bonus expected to be astronomical, as well as a salary befitting of arguably the best player in the world. Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, will demand a transfer fee of 75 million euros and Haaland‘s salary would also be sizable.

With this in mind, a debate has been generated in Madrid. Would this expenditure on one area of the pitch be prudent or should the midfield and defence be prioritised at the expense of not signing Haaland?

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Journalists from across MARCA’s newsroom have given their respective opinions.

Juan Ignacio Garcia-Ochoa: “Haaland-Mbappe, nothing more to say”

If Real Madrid sign Haaland and Mbappe then they don’t need anything more. These are two players that are such difference-makers that 90 percent of matches will be won by inertia, and the decisive matches are included in that.

Would it be good for Los Blancos to reinforce themselves in other positions? Possibly, but the squad isn’t a drama either. It is time to bet on Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga and look to the academy for the wide positions.

What Real Madrid can’t afford to do is let Haaland slip through their fingers in order to sign Aurelien Tchouameni who, with all due respect to the Frenchman, is a great player but not a Haaland type who appears once every 10 or 15 years. The list of box-to-box midfielders appears almost endless.

Miguel Angel Lara: “Real Madrid must sign the future beyond Casemiro, Kroos and Modric”

Real Madrid must strengthen more positions and pack the team from the back, because there are serious shortcomings on the wings, as well as a need to re-evaluate the central positions. Preparing to replace a historic midfield trio of Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric is difficult and they must sign players to come in now, not prospects like Camavinga. Los Blancos need ready-made footballers who can replace any one of the trio.

A specialist at right-back is also required because Dani Carvajal doesn’t play regularly and Lucas Vazquez is merely an emergency solution, whilst there is also a need on the left because Marcelo is going to leave. This team can only grow through the pursuit of solidity, not flashy signings.

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Alberto Rubio: “If Real Madrid don’t sign Haaland, they will regret it forever”

It’s clear that Real Madrid, if they finally sign Mbappe, should look to other areas of concern like finding a replacement for the Casemiro, Kroos and Modric trident, but they can’t pass up a market opportunity like Erling Haaland. If they do, they will regret it… forever and ever.

Mbappe may be more ‘pretty’ to watch, however there isn’t a more voracious goalscorer than Haaland. The Norwegian manages numbers that are typical of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi at Borussia Dortmund: he has 80 goals in 79 games. It’s clear that it would be difficult with the added presence of Benzema and Vinicius, but I think that Mbappe and Haaland are perfectly compatible and that together they could ‘guarantee’ several championships for Real Madrid.

Santiago Siguero: “Haaland and play Chendo at right-back”

There is no discussion, if Real Madrid have the option of combining Mbappe and Haaland, they must go with everything for both of them.

Would there be shortcomings in other positions? Obviously. But, the firepower the team would muster would surely minimise them. They could almost play without a goalkeeper.

It’s clear that respect is owed to Benzema and that he deserves to finish his legendary career at Real Madrid with the status of a legend, but you can’t sacrifice a young player like Haaland for a player in the twilight of his career, albeit a magnificent one.

As for the rest of the team, if Vinicius, Mbappe, Haaland and Benzema are brought together then even Chendo could play at right-back. With the Norwegian, the club would be true to its history: win and destroy.

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