It seems that one of Real Madrid’s biggest goals going into the new season is acquiring a young central midfielder, with İlkay Gündoğan of Borussia Dortmund as their top target, followed by Asier Illarramendi of Real Sociedad, if things with the German international don’t work out.
According to Marca, Carlo Ancelotti has put the position as his top priority for a new signing. While getting Marco Verratti from PSG might be a little bit difficult, Real Madrid are hoping Dortmund will be a bit easier to negotiate with for Gündoğan, who has had two brilliant seasons for the club since being signed from Nuremberg in 2011, replacing Nuri Sahin. Ironically, Sahin was signed by Real Madrid but never really made it under Jose Mourinho.
A 7-time international for Germany, Gündoğan (22) has appeared 81 times for Dortmund over the last couple of seasons, scoring nine goals. He’s what many like to refer to as the modern midfielder, who can do it all on the pitch, be it be in a holding and defensive position but also change stripes quickly and push his team forward as a playmaker or a trailer option coming from behind.
However, it’s unlikely Dortmund will sell him for anything less than €25 million (his contract does run until 2015), so Real Madrid might turn their attention to Illarramendi, 23, who had a fantastic tournament for Spain in the U-21 Euro, winning the title.
Illarramendi finally broke into the Sociedad lineup last season, playing in 32 league matches, helping guide the team to a fourth-place finish which might put them eventually in the Champions League for the second time in club history.
Illarramendi is different than Gündoğan in his role and abilities, being a much more defensive minded midfielder, but that suits Real Madrid just fine, who are probably not too sure about the future of Sami Khedira, and need someone more defensive minded in order to free Xabi Alonso to do his thing. Illarramendi might not be as flashy as Gündoğan, but he will come at a cheaper price probably, valued at around €12 million.