Real Madrid has had a very good summer so far in the transfer market. The midfield has been bolstered and made more versatile with the additions of Isco, Illaramendi and Casemiro. The team's glaring weakness, if you had to choose one, at the right back position has been addressed with the return of Madrid's own Dani Carvajal. Youngsters Álvaro Morata, Jesé and Nacho Fernández seem to be on the verge of cementing their stays with the first team. But much of that good work by the club can be undone with one departure: Fábio Coentrão.
Coentrão isn't so much Real Madrid's number 2 at the left back position as much as he is its 1-B with Marcelo being the 1-A. Both bring something a little different to the left side of the formation, but both are VERY valuable in their own respects. Both combine and work well with Cristiano Ronaldo, which is vitally important since the left-sided Ronaldo naturally draws the most attention from all opposition. It's Coentrão's defensive discipline that made him a lock to start a big match under José Mourinho, even in the brief periods of time when Marcelo was actually healthy a season ago.
Therein lies the problem. Marcelo, for all his wonderful skill and the contagious joy he brings with him, has been susceptible to the injury bug. His recovery seems to be going splendidly after a very impressive Confederations Cup, but Real Madrid cannot count on him to carry the left back position on his own for an entire season. Coentrão has provided invaluable depth and flexibility to the left back spot and really needs to be retained so the position doesn't go from one of Madrid's most solid ones to it becoming a major question mark going into the season.
Despite being one of the best left backs in the world, Coentrão hasn't always been the most appreciated fellow in Madrid. His price tag, €30 million, was the first strike against him, as this price was considered too high when he was acquired from Benfica. The time he was caught smoking was the second strike. And for good measure, Jorge Mendes is his agent. Strike three?
Coentrão himself has said that he hasn't felt wanted at Madrid since day one in an interview with O Jogo back in May.
The Portuguese left back hasn't had any shortage of suitors this offseason. AS Monaco, Tottenham, Benfica and Chelsea have all been linked with the player. Coentrão has been participating in preseason training with Real Madrid despite being away from the camp the past two days for personal reasons relating to his father.
Real Madrid would do well to convince Fábio Coentrão to stay. There are certainly no better options in the transfer market to replace a top five left back in the world. Nacho can fill in at left back, but will also be relied upon to give depth at center back. Denis Cheryshev, a 22-year-old Castilla player whose natural position is winger has also been training at the left back position this preseason.
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