Centre-backs Real Madrid should sign following David Alaba's ACL injury

  • David Alaba latest Real Madrid player to sustain ACL injury
  • Los Blancos now rather light at centre-back
  • Carlo Ancelotti could turn to transfer market for reinforcements
Real Madrid are in need of a new defender
Real Madrid are in need of a new defender / Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images, Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images, Visionhaus/Getty Images

Real Madrid are currently missing three key players through ACL injuries. At this point, you have to wonder whether they made some deal with the devil in order to become 14-time champions of Europe, because that is an absurd amount of ligament damage for one squad.

Joining Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao on the treatment table is David Alaba, who sustained his ACL injury in Sunday's win at home to Villarreal.

Los Blancos now have a shortage of centre-backs. Antonio Rudiger is still one of the world's very best, but their options fall off a rather steep cliff after that.

With all due respect to club captain and five-time Champions League winner Nacho Fernandez, he's just not of the required level Madrid need right now. No offence, Nacho. You are 33, to be fair.

Who could Madrid turn to in the January transfer window then? Let's break down their options.

Expensive options

Alaba's long-term future has been called into question a fair bit in recent months. German media have linked him with a return to Bayern Munich, while there have also been suggestions he is a target for the Saudi Pro League. Even Manchester United have been tipped to lodge a bid.

If Madrid do not intend to keep Alaba, perhaps this is a chance to speed up their succession plans and help them remain in contention for major honours this season.

Goncalo Inacio

Goncalo Inacio
Inacio has broken into the Portugal national team / Octavio Passos/GettyImages
  • Club: Sporting CP
  • Age: 22
  • Estimated price: €60m
  • Strength: Left-footed
  • Weakness: Neck beard

This one goes out to all you Football Manager lovers who have known about the greatness of Goncalo Inacio for years.

Real Madrid have a pretty successful record of signing long-term centre-backs from the Portuguese top flight - Pepe and Militao perhaps the best examples - and they have been tipped to return to that market with a move for Sporting's Goncalo Inacio.

Jean-Clair Todibo

Jean Clair Todibo
Todibo is a gossip column regular / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages
  • Club: Nice
  • Age: 23
  • Estimated price: €45m
  • Strength: Would rile Barcelona up
  • Weakness: Sometimes outshone by 40-year-old Dante

It seems for all the world that Jean-Clair Todibo will be the next young centre-back to make the move from Ligue 1 to the Premier League, but if Real Madrid come calling, you'd imagine it would be a chance too good to turn down.

Edmond Tapsoba

Edmond Tapsoba
Tapsoba has shone this season / Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/GettyImages
  • Club: Bayer Leverkusen
  • Age: 24
  • Estimated price: €55m
  • Strength: Lots of it, yes
  • Weakness: Bayer Leverkusen's title charge

Bayer Leverkusen seemed pretty open to a lucrative sale of Edmond Tapsoba during the summer having held rather extensive talks with Tottenham Hotspur. They're probably less inclined to sell him now given they're top of the Bundesliga.

Bargain bin

Perhaps Madrid don't want to spend lavishly right now. Perhaps they would rather re-evaluate the centre-back position in the summer.

Here are some players they could pick up on the cheap or on loan.

Raphael Varane

Raphael Varane
Varane won the lot with Real Madrid / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages
  • Club: Manchester United
  • Age: 30
  • Estimated price: €15m
  • Strength: Knows the club! He knows the club! He knows what it means!
  • Weakness: United will probably try and chuck them back Casemiro as well

Manchester United don't seem to be building for their future with Raphael Varane in mind, with his contract up at the end of the season and questions at large over whether they will extend it.

How about one last dance, Madrid?

Trevoh Chalobah

Trevoh Chalobah
Chalobah is set to leave Chelsea / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages
  • Club: Chelsea
  • Age: 24
  • Estimated price: €15m
  • Strength: He's available
  • Weakness: The prospect of 'Big Trev' at Real Madrid Club de Futbol

If Bayern Munich have looked closely at Trevoh Chalobah as an option to fill in at centre-back, why shouldn't Madrid? He's at least Champions League and top-flight proven, while he wouldn't cost an arm and a leg.

Future prospects

If Madrid don't want to sign the Varane of today (or thereabouts), maybe they could do what they did when they first signed the Frenchman in 2011 - find a suitable young star in waiting and mould them into a top class player.

Leny Yoro

Leny Yoro
Yoro is highly rated / Jean Catuffe/GettyImages
  • Club: Lille
  • Age: 18
  • Estimated price: €25m
  • Strength: Already a starter for a good Lille team
  • Weakness: Not named after Lenny Leonard

90min reported in October that Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd have all been impressed by Yoro's emergence at Lille. If you're looking for parallels, Varane's breakthrough as a teenager came down the road at Lens.

Jorrel Hato

Jorrel Hato
Hato is turning heads / Soccrates Images/GettyImages
  • Club: Ajax
  • Age: 17
  • Estimated price: €30m
  • Strength: Ajax are in crisis and could maybe do with the money to strengthen elsewhere
  • Weakness: The loser mentality this crisis might have developed

At just 17 years of age, Jorrel Hato has played every single minute of football possible for Ajax this season and has already captained the first-team.