Traditionally we’ve all seen Real Madrid focus their efforts towards signing the biggest names in football, so trusting young players was never a priority.
While we’re not seeing many players come through the youth teams from a young age, they are making a concerted effort to sign and develop young talent.
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Almost every game is massive for the club so they don’t have time to bed youngsters into the first team and allow them to make mistakes, so invariably they need to go out on loan to develop.
It’s likely that they will try to sign at least one huge name in the Summer, but here’s a look at five players who could return from their loans to play a big part in the first team.
It’s been strange to follow the Norwegian’s career, he went from a wonder-kid to almost being written off, but his fine form with Real Sociedad means he’s one of the most coveted youngsters in Europe again. He probably doesn’t have the blistering pace to form part of the front three, but he could be impressive in a deeper role where he can create from midfield. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos are getting older and a long term solution is needed, while Odegaard has now proven he’s able to stand out in the league. There’s still a chance they might just look to sell him on, but he looks like the most likely player to break through next season.
The wing back has shone for Borussia Dortmund this season and even looks capable of playing higher up the pitch where he’s scored a few goals, so that versatility could be useful. He’s at his best on the right hand side, but he can play on the left, and that means he could have a chance of being the long term successor to Marcelo. It’s hard to say if he’s done enough to show he could be first choice, but Real need depth at full back and he could be ideal.
Similar to Hakimi, the lack of depth at full back could be ideal for the young Spaniard who does have some experience already in the Real first team. He is naturally left sided and has been a regular for Sevilla this season, so he could push Marcelo and Mendy for a place if the Real coaching staff trust him enough. He turned 23 last year so this looks like the stage in his career where he starts to establish himself either at Real or somewhere else, so this could be a pivotal Summer.
Real do have some issues between the sticks and it would be hard to sell this as anything other than a serious case of nepotism, but Luca has been impressive on loan at Racing Santander and Zinedine has played his son in the first team before, so it’s not impossible to see it happening. Courtois has looked poor at times so someone new is needed, but it would be a massive call to put his son in the firing line at this stage of his career.
It’s been a real mixed bag at Arsenal for Ceballos, where he’s struggled with inconsistency and injuries, but he’s also produced some great games where he’s controlled the game from the midfield. It seems to be public knowledge that Arsenal don’t have an option to sign him, so that suggests Real have plans for him going forward, and the midfield area will need to be reinforced. A lot could depend on their plans with Odegaard as they might have to battle for the same place in the team, but if he can stay fit then he could be the long term creative answer in the midfield.
A lot of this might depend on what happens with La Liga if it reaches a conclusion. if Real win the title then it’s easy to see the youngsters getting a chance as the club take advantage of the good feeling, but they often panic following failure and that could result in signing more established veterans to play next season.