Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Real Madrid eye second Man City raid after Erling Haaland, with ‘spectacular’ star on shortlist

Erling Haaland is not the only Manchester City player Real Madrid are hoping to sign, as they are also interested in impressive young defender Yan Couto, according to a report.

Madrid have long been linked with signing Kylian Mbappe and making him their new talisman up front, but recent reports suggest they are beginning to switch their focus to Haaland. After being left disappointed by Mbappe on numerous occasions in the past, Madrid president Florentino Perez has landed on City’s star attacker as his new favoured target.

On Thursday, reports in Spain claimed that Madrid have already begun preliminary talks with Haaland’s camp as they look to strike a future deal. Although, the Spanish giants have done this via intermediaries, so they do not anger City.

But Haaland is not the only player who might swap the Etihad for the Bernabeu in an upcoming transfer window. According to the latest from Spanish newspaper Marca, Couto has also emerged as a target for Los Blancos.

He is a 21-year-old right-back who signed for City from Brazilian club Coritiba for €6million in July 2020. After impressing a number of top European scouts, Couto was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona, but it was City who managed to win the transfer chase.

The full-back, who can also operate further forward as a right winger, has yet to make his senior debut for City as he has been loaned out to Girona and Braga to pick up more game time. Couto is currently in his second spell at City’s sister club Girona, and he is thriving.

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So far, Couto has made 23 appearances in all competitions and has chipped in with two goals and six assists. The youngster’s great form has seen him force his way into contention for the Brazil national team, and he won his first two international caps in October.

Marca state that Madrid are on the lookout for a right-back who can replace Dani Carvajal, who is now 32 years of age. Couto is high up on their list of targets, with other options being Jeremie Frimpong of Bayer Leverkusen and Sporting’s Ivan Fresneda.

Real Madrid want ‘spectacular’ Man City ace

The report labels Couto a ‘spectacular’ player who has been scouted by Madrid officials on several occasions. All of these scouting missions have resulted in ‘positive’ reports, which has only increased Madrid’s interest.

Madrid particularly like Couto due to his ability to get forward and help out with attacks. Although, it must be noted that the South American talent must improve both his stamina and strength before he can emerge into an elite full-back.

City boss Pep Guardiola can already rely on Kyle Walker and Rico Lewis at right-back, with John Stones also able to play there in an inverted role if needed.

As Walker is now 33, Guardiola may decide that he wants Couto to return to City next season and challenge Lewis for the right-back spot in the long run. In this case, City would try to put Madrid off Couto by handing him a big price tag.

And Madrid will find it far harder to snare Haaland any time soon, as City have no intention of letting him go for at least another two years. The Citizens are protected by his contract, which runs until June 2027.

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