Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (R) celebrates after scoring the second goal during the English Premier League match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers in Liverpool, Britain, on May 22, 2022.

8 Galactico signings Real Madrid can target after missing out on Mbappe

No football club in history is more associated with making big-name glitzy signings than Real Madrid. So you can be pretty sure they’ll respond with something big after being snubbed by Kylian Mbappe.

The La Liga giants have not exactly been subtle in their pursuit of Mbappe. But their summer plans are now in tatters after the PSG star opted instead to stay at Paris Saint-Germain, signing a new three-year deal at the Parc des Princes.

Mbappe would have followed in a long line of world-famous names to join Los Blancos with Florentino Perez as president – the likes of Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard have all made high-profile moves to the Bernabeu.

So if not Mbappe – nor Haaland, who has been snapped up by Manchester City – who will be Perez’s next Galactico at Madrid?

Here are eight star names who could potentially make a shock move this summer.

Mohamed Salah

The Egyptian’s ongoing contract situation at Liverpool appeared to be headed towards him staying put at Anfield for the simple fact that there were no suitors out there.

Indeed, Liverpool’s entire sporting strategy seemed to be based on planning to freshen the squad up by receiving a big-money fee for one of their star assets and reinvesting that into the next Salah – who they might well already have in the form of Luis Diaz.

The financial impact of the pandemic appeared to close that door. Until now? Without Mbappe, Madrid will surely consider the 29-year-old, who is approaching the final year of his Liverpool contract.

Not only has he been one of the best and most prolific footballers on the planet in recent years, but he’s also one of the most marketable athletes around. A proper modern-day Galactico.

READ: Mo Salah’s Liverpool contract: Every word he & Klopp have said on deal

Sadio Mane

Mane’s contract situation at Anfield has flown under the radar a little in comparison to his team-mate, but the Senegalese forward’s deal also expires in 2023.

Madrid love a player that steps up on the big occasion, particularly in Europe, and Mane fits that billing perfectly. He scored against Los Blancos in the 2018 Champions League final and no player has notched more Champions League knockout goals for a Premier League club.

Paul Pogba

The most valuable free agent of 2022 now that his Les Bleus team-mate Mbappe has extended his contract in Paris.

It remains to be seen where Pogba will end up this summer. A return to Juventus has been touted, as has a return to his home city of Paris – where he could yet link up with Zinedine Zidane, who has been tipped to replace Mauricio Pochettino and was desperate to bring Pogba to the Bernabeu a few years back.

Perez would surely love to get one over PSG following the Mbappe saga, and this is potentially one avenue to go down. The World Cup winner will also be desperate to go to a club that challenges for big trophies after a barren few years at Old Trafford.

Harry Kane

You imagine that Kane will stay put at Tottenham now, given they’ve secured Champions League football and Antonio Conte is getting the best out of him once again.

But the England captain is a year further into his contract since declaring his desire to leave Spurs last summer. A move to Manchester City is now dead in the water, following their signing of Erling Haaland, but they’re not the only club that can fulfil Kane’s lust for long-awaited silverware.

Madrid are no stranger to signing big-name Brits from the Premier League, nor doing business with Daniel Levy at Tottenham.

Raheem Sterling

Kane isn’t the only high-profile Three Lions international linked with a move away.

Sterling is approaching the final year of his contract at Manchester City. He’s played a starring role for Pep Guardiola’s side in recent years, having registered 88 goals and 44 assists across the past five Premier League campaigns – four of which have ended with the 27-year-old lifting the league trophy.

Talk of a move to Barcelona has died down for Sterling, but he could still end up starring in La Liga.

READ: 16 huge stars going into the final year of their contracts: Sterling, Messi, Salah…


This all sounds like a particularly dubious game of playground whispers but bear with us.

Neymar only signed a new contract extension at PSG last May, which runs to 2025. So the Brazilian star is locked in. But apparently, the Parisiens already want rid.

A report from Sport journalist Romain Molina suggests the Qatar hierarchy are “tired of the Brazilian’s attitude and lack of impact in big games” following PSG’s Champions League elimination to Los Blancos back in March.

Mbappe has reportedly been given much more decision-making power at PSG and new reports suggest he wants Ousmane Dembele – a free agent, of course – to replace Neymar.

The 30-year-old has had his injury struggles and has been unable to lead the Ligue 1 giants to European glory, but he’s long been coveted at Florentino Perez’s Madrid – it’s well established they wanted his signature when Barcelona gazumped them back in 2013.

And when fit he’s still been a pretty special player at PSG: 100 goals and 60 assists in 144 appearances is testament to that.

Robert Lewandowski

Perez is said to have his eyes on Lewandowski ever since the Polish striker scored four goals against Madrid in the 2013 Champions League semi-finals.

Instead, he went to Bayern Munich, where he’s won eight successive league titles and scored a ridiculous number of goals. He’s often made noises about a new challenge elsewhere, particularly Madrid in the past, and this summer it sounds like the 33-year-old might finally be moving on…

…to Barcelona. Widespread reports suggest Lewandowski already has a verbal agreement with Xavi’s side. But what does that matter?

“Your whole life you want to go to Real Madrid, only to maybe end up in Barcelona later? Okay,” tweeted Lewandowski’s former agent Cezary Kucharski. Watch this space.

Cristiano Ronaldo

A long shot, but stranger things have happened. A move could actually suit all parties.

Re-signing the clubs’ all-time top goalscorer and one of the most popular players would be politically expedient of Perez.

Manchester United could recoup some funds and sign a younger, more mobile forward that’s more suited to the high-press style of new boss Erik ten Hag.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, would leave a struggling Europa League club and get to spend his twilight years at a club capable of delivering him one last Champions League.

The only obstacle? Ronaldo and Perez would have some making up to do.

“I felt it inside the club, especially from the president, that they no longer considered me the same way that they did in the start,” Ronaldo explained in 2018 after leaving Madrid for Juventus.

“In the first four or five years there I had the feeling of being ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’. Less afterwards. The president looked at me through eyes that didn’t want to say the same thing, as if I was no longer indispensable to them, if you know what I mean.”

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