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Spanish champions Real Madrid already boast of a hugely impressive squad, with world-class talent for every conceivable position and equally top-quality back-up should they need it. However, the capital club's fiery Portuguese manager, Jose Mourinho, who recently signed a contract extension that will see the two-time Champions League winning coach remain at the Santiago Bernabeu until 2016 is convinced that the side needs strengthening.
Mourinho is widely believed to be referring to the wing back slots, presently occupied by Spaniards Sergio Ramos and Alvaro Arbeloa and Brazilian Marcelo, with support from Frenchman Lassana Diarra and Portuguese utility man Fabio Coentrao.
Ramos, who transferred to Madrid from Sevilla, is first choice right back for the Spanish national team and occupied the same position and status at his club, until injuries and suspensions forced Mourinho to switch him to the centre of defence, where he instantly struck up a strong partnership with Portuguese international Pepe, leading to speculation the coach will look to make that his first-team slot and bring in a new right back over the summer. A Goal.com report quoted former Italian great Franco Baresi as saying he preferred seeing Ramos in the centre.
"He has some qualities that make him different [to other defenders] and for this reason he can play multiple positions. I like him most in the center: here, he plays like a champion. He is very strong in central defense. He plays in a more natural way and makes better use of all his qualities. He is good with his head, with his feet and is intelligent. Although I have to say, he is also a good full back," the former AC Milan and Italian legend said.
Madrid's hunt for an attacking right back is a well documented one, with their long time target being Brazilian Maicon, who was once as feared down that side for Inter Milan as compatriot Dani Alves is for Barcelona. There were several reports through 2011 and the early part of this year suggesting a deal with the Italians could be done. However, they finally came to nothing. In any case, should Ramos' switch indeed be made permanent, it will leave Mourinho with a shortage of options in that department, with only former Liverpool player Arbeloa in hand.
The most recent news, though, is about Dutch right back Gregory van der Wiel, who plays for Eredivise champions Ajax. According to a report on Goal.com, the player's agent - Hakim Slimani - has confirmed his client would be very interested in a switch to Spain, with Valencia also waiting in the wings.
"Real Madrid are an absolute top club, and Greg wants to move to a top club," Slimani was quoted as saying, "There are about 10 top clubs in Europe, and a number of those clubs have shown an interest in signing him. I can't say which teams are after him, and what the status of their interest is, though."
The 24 year old has a contract with the Dutch side that expires at the end of next season and if he is indeed looking for a move abroad, the club will want to cash in on him now rather than see him leave for free in 2013.
Madrid are not the only interested club though. A report on ESPNStar.com suggests van der Wiel turned down a move to the Serie A and Roma. Unfortunately for the Romans, their poor league performance this season (they finished seventh) means they cannot offer the player Champions League football and so were reportedly refused.
"It has been suggested, particularly in Italian media, that I have reached an agreement with Roma. These rumours are not entirely unfounded, but they are still incorrect. My agent Hakim Slimani has spent a day in Rome at the request of Roma and has had a very pleasant meeting with the club," van der Wiel shared on his official Web site.
Indeed, it seems the player prefers a move to either Spain or England over Italy, with another Goal.com report quoting the player as saying he felt it was time to leave the Amsterdam Arena.
"I feel for me it's time to go, I want to make a step to a bigger club. But now I'm just going to focus on the European [Championships] and see what comes. Maybe [Euro 2012 is a showcase for me] but I think big clubs already know how I can play and what my skills are. I'm not feeling like this is a show, a final show, but of course if you play well at the European's it helps a lot. There are two competitions that I like the most, England and Spain," he said.